Welcome!

Welcome to Simple Fare, Fairly Simple. This is a place for me to post recipes of all kinds...along with other miscellaneous fodder from my so-called life here in the south. Who knows what you will find here. Could be anything from my husband...known as IT Guy...to my kids and beautiful grandbabies that are growing up way too fast right before my eyes. But...mostly this will be a place for food. I hope you'll see something you like and if you decide to try something from the list...leave me a comment and let me know!



Monday, February 28, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

This is a WONDERFUL peanut butter and jelly cupcake that a Facebook fan (Hi Jenneifer!!) created and apparently it's a prize winner! After making them, I can see why! They are wicked-good! A fun twist on cupcakes...perfect for an afterschool snack...or a birthday party. Or just because you love peanut butter. And really. Who doesn't? Below is the recipe exactly like Jennifer sent it to me. Perfect instructions...I didn't change a thing.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
Recipe by Jennifer


Cupcake Ingredients:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons milk

Filling Ingredients:
Total of 1 cup of Jelly of your choice. DO NOT USE spreadable fruit or a chunky style of jam. The smoother the consistency, the easier it will be to fill.

Cupcake Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Insert 20-24 liners into a medium cupcake pan (s). I suggest spraying the liners with a light coat of non-stick spray.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well. Mix in the vanilla. Add the baking powder and salt and mix well.

Add the flour to the bowl, one cup at a time, alternating with the milk.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks carefully.

Frosting Directions
Combine the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and milk, and beat until well combined. You can add more additional amounts of any of the ingredients to alter the taste and consistency to meet your personal preference.

Assembly Directions
After the cupcakes have cooled completely (about one hour), you will need to insert the jelly. The easiest method is with a dessert decorator tool that has a filling tip or a piping bag with a filling tip. The second method is with a plastic picnic squeezable condiment dispenser (that has the pointed tip). Fill the decorator, piping bag or condiment bottle with ½ cup of jelly at a time (this helps prevent overfilling). Insert the pointed tip into the top of the cupcake (centered) and slowly squeeze out the jelly. Each cupcake can hold about 3 teaspoons of jelly before it “explodes.” If you have not filled a cupcake before, you may have to experiment to get the feel of how much jelly to fill. Don’t worry – I had not done it myself before this cupcake and I was able to avoid exploding cupcakes! Once you have dispensed the jelly, slowly pull out the tip. It is ok if the jelly oozes out onto the top of the cupcake. The frosting will cover it.

To frost – you may either use a piping bag with a round tip, a dessert decorator tool with a round tip, or a spatula. I personally like to create a little mound of frosting so I use the piping bag with tip but get creative and add the frosting however you prefer. I also swirl in a little jelly with a butter knife after adding the peanut butter frosting.

This recipe makes 20-24 cupcakes.



Note from Valerie: This recipe only made 12 cupcakes for me. 
And the picture below will explain why.
Don't be like me and get klutzy in the kitchen and waste 12 cupcakes. 
It will make you cry. I almost did.

Here's all the stuff for the cupcakes.
 
 
Mix the sugar, butter and peanut butter until nice and fluffy.
 
 
Then add the eggs.
 
 
Then the vanilla.
 
 
Then add the salt and baking powder.
 
 
Then dump in the flour, one cup at a time, alternately with the milk.
 
 
You want this....
 
 
...not this....
 
 
 
...to get this. Let these cool for bit.
 
 
Then poke a hole using a pastry tip. I used a Wilton # 12 round tip. 
But you can use a squeeze bottle, too.
 
 
Pipe in the jelly until you feel the cupcake start to expand a little.
 
 
Fill all your cupcakes. ALL!! All 24! Not just 12...you want to eat all 24 and 
not throw away 12 like I did. {sniff...}
 
 
Here's the yummy frosting ingredients!
 
 
Mix together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla.
 
 
Add the powdered sugar and milk.
 
 
Mix it until it's nice and fluffy then....
 
 
..frost those cupcakes, baby!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tablescape

Rootin' 'round in my cupboards.....


I have lots of dishes. I love dishes. If there's one thing you need if you're going to entertain, it's dishes. And I like to have options. There are several cabinets that IT Guy set up for me in our garage that hold all of my entertaining supplies. Dishes, glasses, assorted serving pieces..all kinds of stuff. Plus I have a few sets of dishes in the house as well. A pretty set on display then of course our every day stuff. Now mind you...none of my things are fancy-schmancy. I find things on clearance, collect them over a period of time or find them at stores like HomeGoods. Or Walmart. I'm not picky that way. If I like it, I get it no matter where it comes from. I thought a fun thing to do on here would be to show you some of my dishes. I'll feature a set every once in a while until I run out of dishes. For my first offering, I've created a place setting of one of my absolute favorite sets. This magnolia set on black. I found it at Dillards years ago and then more recently found some accompanying pieces on clearance. It's called "Magnolia Charm" and it's made by Artimino. I don't think they make it anymore but I'm always on the hunt for it on the internet....just in case of a dish emergency.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FEBRUARY 23, 2011....NATIONAL BANANA BREAD DAY

Weird, I know. I think every day of the year is designated as some sort of national food day. Who sits around and thinks of those? Whoever it is...I want THEIR job! Anyway...in honor of National Banana Bread Day, I'm posting the banana bread recipe I have used for years. I got it from an old friend many, many years ago and I've been using it all this time....which is at least 35 years. It never fails to make the most moist, scrumptious and delicious banana bread. You can make it plain or add all kinds of fun stuff to it. The last time I made it I added chocolate chips...because really...who doesn't love banana and chocolate? But nuts are good...dried cranberries are tasty....a little coconut...anything that makes your heart go pitter-pat. And it freezes beautifully. It makes cute little mini loaves, too. So...go celebrate by making some banana bread for your loved ones!

Banana Bread



Delicious!


1/3 cup shortening
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 cup add-ins:
Chopped nuts
Cranberries
Coconut
Chocolate chips



Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients and add to shortening mixture alternately with mashed banana, blending well after each addition. Stir in add-ins, if using. Pour into well greased loaf pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes at 350 degrees until done. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely. 


I added chocolate chips to mine....but anything goes!










Friday, February 18, 2011

Erin’s Green Chili Chicken Soup

A fan of SFFS (Hi Erin!) sent in this recipe for her Green Chili Chicken Soup. She actually sent it to me quite some time ago and I'm just now putting it up to share. I had it in the line up of recipes to post and every time I came across it, my mouth watered....you know us and mexican food around here. This soup is SO good!! Before the warm weather hits, you've got to make this! Erin hit the jack-pot with this recipe!!

Erin’s Green Chili Chicken Soup


2-3 cloves of garlic
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (around 4-5 breast) cut into bite size chunks
1 TB. oil
1 med. onion chopped
2 cans Northern White beans (rinsed and drained)
1 (14oz) chicken broth
2 small cans green chilis
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
16 oz container sour cream
2 cups milk
cayenne pepper (optional)
Monterey Jack cheese - shredded

Saute onion, garlic, chicken in oil in soup pot until chicken is white and looks mostly cooked.Add beans, chiles, broth, spices. Let simmer for 30 minutes. On low heat, add sour cream & milk - let it warm back up.

Serve in individual bowls with the cheese and cayenne pepper.


The usual suspects...
Saute the onion and garlic for a bit. Then....
..throw in the chicken chunks. Cook until the chicken looks mostly done.
Like this.
Rinse the beans....then throw them in the pot along with the chilies, broth and spices.
Give it all a stir then add...
the sour cream and milk.
Let it heat up then serve it with some warm mexican cornbread. Yummy!!
Aren't these cute? They're called "chowder lugs" and they are made by the now 
defunct Vernon Kilns Pottery Company. I just love them. This pattern is called 
"1860". Each piece depicts a scene from the Civil War era. I have a large 
collection of this pattern....but these "chowder lugs" are my favorite.
I think I just like saying "chowder lug".

Thursday, February 17, 2011

This recipe came from my mom. She and my dad were traveling and stopped to have dinner at a friend's house...and this is what the friend served. She doesn't remember who the friend was....but she DOES remember the food. (I think that's hilarious.) I've made this casserole since my kids were little and it's always a welcome treat. It's so simple to prepare...and so delicious. I used a store bought rotisserie chicken which made it even easier. I had this thing assembled and baked in about 45 minutes. I tell ya'...those rotisserie chickens are the BOMB! I love them! I buy two or three at a time....take the meat off the bone and bag the meat in freezer bags..pop them in the freezer so I have it ready to go for a quick dinner. Like this!!



Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole


3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces sour cream
1 sleeve Ritz crackers - crushed
1 stick butter – melted
½ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Salt
Pepper

Combine soups and sour cream. Add chicken and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish. Melt butter in a small bowl. Combine crushed crackers, almonds and poppy seeds and stir well. Sprinkle over chicken mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.


All the goods..... (See my cute pineapple salt and pepper set? My DIL (Hi Jess!) 
gave them to me for christmas! I love them!)
 
 
Combine the soups and sour cream. Stir well.
 
 
Then add the chicken...
 
 
...and stir again. Add salt and pepper to taste.
 
 
Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish.
 
 
Crush the crackers. I just do it with my hands in the plastic sleeve they come in.
 
 
Combine the cracker crumbs, almonds, butter and poppy seeds.
 
 
Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle.
 
 
Bake! (Fuzzy photo! Sorry)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Creme Brulee is one of my most favorite things in the world! I love anything with a cream base to it and really...you almost can't get any more creamy than Creme Brulee. It's decadent. It's sinful. It's delicious. And worst of all...it's easy to prepare. That has to be the one thing I dislike most about it. It's just so stinkin' easy to make. Whenever IT Guy and I get dressed up for a nice dinner...and by that I mean something other Jack In The Box....I always scan the menu to see if Creme Brulee is on the menu. And if it is...I plan my meal accordingly to leave room to order this creamy yumminess. This recipe is the best I've ever had....and I don't make it often....but I do make it when I feel the need the dive into something delicious.

Crème Brulee



6 egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place 8 crème brulee dishes in a large baking pan. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well for a few seconds. Pour into 8 crème brulee dishes that are inside the baking pan. Pour hot water in the baking pan until the water reaches half-way up the sides of the brulee dishes. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully move to a wire rack and let cool. Cover individual dishes and place in the fridge. Chill for 2 – 3 hours or overnight.

To serve:

Set oven to broil.

Sprinkle each crème brulee with ¼ teaspoon of sugar. Place dishes on cookie sheet and broil for a minute or so until sugar has browned. Remove from oven and serve.



Just simple stuff....
 

Place 8 creme brulee dishes in a large pan. 
Or 7 if you're like me and can't locate the 8th dish. 
I just filled them a little more full.
 

I like to mix the eggs and cream in my 
blender to ensure all the egg is mixed well. 
 

Pour the mixture into your 8
 (or 7) dishes. Add the water to the
 baking pan and cook.
 

After cooking, remove to a cooling rack.
 

I used my long tongs with rubber bands 
around the tip to make sure I could get a
 good grip and not spill the goodness.
 

All cooled and ready to be sugared 
and placed under the broiler. Unless you 
have a handy dandy kitchen torch...which I do not have.
 

Look at it! Makes you want to sit in it, huh?