Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 Tailgating Tribute

This year I had to do a post on the food at our tailgates. The Florida Gators were less than stellar, but I think we made up for with our food which I must say was pretty epic. It was a lot of work but I think this year was the best tailgating so far. Nothing beats being on campus at 8am in the morning on game day with the grill already going, drinking beer and watching football.

vs. Miami University (W 34-12)
This was a 12 pm game, not leaving much time to make a huge lunch. I brought some of my famous Margarita Cupcakes. I went a little crazy with these and instead of making the usual lime butter cream icing, I made traditional butter cream but put a ton of tequila in the mix and the frosting. These are always a hit.

vs. USF (W 38-14)
This was a 12:21 pm game (I know, I don't get the weird time either), so again there was not much time in the morning to make a lot of food. For this game we grilled up some venison burgers courtesy of John after the game. We were definitely not holding back with the cheese on these burgers.

vs. Kentucky (W 48-14)
I was feeling a little lazy this week so I just made some cookies with store bought mix. I must say, those Betty Crocker cookie mixes make excellent cookies.

vs. LSU (L 29-33)
This week was a night game so we had all day to eat and drink. A few of the guys chipped in and bought a smoker attachment for our BBQ. To try it out for the first time, they decided to smoke some ribs for about 8 hours. The ribs were marinated in a dry rub, then once in the smoker were basted occasionally. They turned out pretty good I think for our first attempt at smoking.

I also made some pumpkin spice whoopie pies that turned out delicious as well. Our bellies were definitely bulging by the time the game started.

vs. Mississippi State (L 7-10)
Another night game. Since smoking the ribs was such a huge success, we decided to go a little more extreme and smoke a few pork shoulders...starting at 5am...The shoulders cooked for about 12 hours and in the end we pulled the pork by hand and drenched it in a homemade Carolina BBQ sauce courtesy of Rich. was so good and there was so much we all had second and thirds. Another football game with us all in slight food comas.

I made some chocolate covered peanut butter eyeballs that ended up tasting just like Reeses peanut butter cups.

vs. South Carolina (L 14-36)
Oh my goodness another night game. We definitely got lucky this year with the times of the football games. This allowed us to go crazy on food yet again. We started off the day with Brandon grilling up some hot dogs that we topped off with chili and cheese for lunch.

For dinner Matt and Laura made an absolutely awesome Low Country Boil containing corn cobs, potatoes, sausage and shrimp. So delicious and so filling. At this point we were all busting at the seams but there was still more to come.

And to finish off the day, this was also the day of our First Annual Dessert Off. Several people entered with some awesome desserts. So many so that I can not remember who made what. I made Caramel Apple Crisp Cheesecake.

vs. Appalachian State (W 48-10)
Closing out the season with an afternoon home game, we decided to keep it simple and just do breakfast. Brandon make pancakes and bacon on the grill.

This year was absolutely awesome for tailgating. We made some fabulous food. I can not wait for next year. Thanks to everyone who contributed!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken and Roasted Garlic Risotto

Tonight I was in the mood for something super creamy and filling but I was also feeling lazy. So I went to the store and decided whatever recipe was on the back of the first can of soup I picked up that's what I was making. And here you have it. Chicken and Roasted Garlic Risotto.

I have only a few recommendations for this recipe. First is it has "Roasted Garlic" in the title, but you can not really taste the garlic. If I made this again I would toss a few chopped up cloves of garlic in the butter when the chicken is cooked for the first time. Second, I would add maybe another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of rice. The finished product was delicious but wished it was a little less soupy as you can see in the picture below. Other than that, this is a very tasty recipe and it is definitely provides enough leftovers for a few lunches for the future work week.

On a side note, this is the first time I have ever made risotto. It's a lot simpler than I thought, although I didn't make my own cream. I am curious now and want to try making my own risotto from scratch. :) Who knows, that might be my next post.

3 Tbsp. butter
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic
2 c. water
2 c. uncooked instant white rice
1 c. frozen veggies (carrots and peas are yummy. I used a can of Veg-all)

1. Trim the fat (if any) and cut the chicken breasts in half.
2. Heat butter in a skillet (make sure its a big one, this recipe is a little big) over medium heat. Add chicken and cook till its browned on either side.
3. Remove chicken from the skillet
4. Stir soups and water and heat to a boil.
5. Stir in veggies and rice then return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low.
6. Cover and cook till chicken is completely cooked (5 to 8 minutes).
7. Let stand for 5 minutes. (At this point I turned the chicken over just to make sure it was cooked all the way through).
8. Stuff face!


Original Recipe at Campbell's Kitchen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Liquid Fire Habanero Hot Sauce

In a previous post, I stated how excited I was that I finally got some habaneros from my plant at home. But there is something I didn't realize about these plants and that is they produce A LOT of peppers at one time. So with 30 peppers in my fridge, the obvious question came about....What the hell do I do with 30 habanero peppers? I don't even care for spice food that much. But fortunately I have friends who do, so I decided to make some hot sauce.

12 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can sliced peaches in heavy syrup
1/2 c dark molasses
1/4 c. yellow mustard (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup but after reading the reviews of how strong the mustard taste was, I cut it down)
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice

1. Removed seeds from the habaneros and chop.
2. Mix everything in a blender or food processor.
3. Pour into containers and let it set for about 8 hours in the fridge.

This stuff kind of reminds me of the "Wake Up Juice" in Back to the Future 3 used to wake up Doc after he passed out in a bar after one shot of whiskey. Anyways...the recipe is quick and easy. A few tips...use gloves when cutting the peppers to avoid spice burn. And wash your hands thoroughly! I washed my hands after and but apparently still had some juice on my hands. I then rubbed my eye which was a mistake! My eye burned for 30 minutes!

Original Recipe
. Thanks Bob!

Garlic Rosemary Pumpkin Seeds

It's almost Halloween! Time to carve those pumpkins. But what to do with all of those seeds? Bake them and save them for later for a yummy treat. These are so good they're addicting. Plus it makes your kitchen smell wonderful in the process. Make sure to clean the pumpkin seeds and lay them out on a piece of parchment paper or foil and leave overnight to dry.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spooky Treat: Eyeballs

For this weeks tailgating, I wanted to do something Halloween inspired. I came across this cute little recipe for peanut butter balls dipped in white chocolate and decorated with chocolate chips and icing to look like eyeballs.

This recipe is straight forward with simple ingredients, however when it came to melting the white chocolate, is where I suggest doing a different method than the recipe. It asks to melt the chocolate in 30 seconds intervals in the microwave, stirring each time. Doing this for 3 minutes, the chocolate never fully melted, and it was only on the side of the bowl where the chocolate was soft enough to dip the peanut butter balls. On top of this you have to keep microwaving as you go, which honestly gets annoying the third or forth time. This recipe also calls for dying the white chocolate with food coloring to use to decorate the peanut butter balls. This would be very difficult consider how hard the chocolate was to work with. I used gel icing instead.

Considering this technical difficultly, this is a quite yummy recipe. It tastes just like a Reese peanut butter cup. My only suggestion is to instead melt the chocolate over the stove instead. Just be careful to not burn the chocolate.

1.5 c. creamy peanut butter (I bet this would be good with chunky too)
0.5 c. butter, softened
1.5 c. confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
12 ounces white chocolate
2 Tbsp. shortening
Semi sweet chocolate chips
Blue/green/red gel icing

1. Beat the peanut butter and the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and sifted sugar slowly to the peanut butter while mixing. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Roll chilled peanut butter into balls and place a baking sheet lines with wax paper or non stick foil. Chill for another 30 minutes.
3. Melt the white chocolate and shorting in the microwave in 30 second intervals , stirring after each interval, for about 2 to 3 minutes.Dip each ball into the chocolate and place on the wax baking sheet.
4. Place a semi sweet chocolate chip on the top of ball for the pupil.
5. Let chocolate set (can put back in the fridge). This takes about 5 minutes. Using the blue/green gel icing, make the iris around the chocolate chip. Use the red gel icing to make them look bloodshot.
5. Stuff face.

Original Recipe From

Thursday, October 14, 2010

UPDATE: Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

This past weekend for the LSU game, I got a chance to make the Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies. I didn't follow the recipe as usual (aka I didn't put vanilla in the frosting because I ran out), but considering I thought they turned out quite tasty. The recipe makes about 12 medium size whoopie pies, so I had to double the recipe for tailgating.

This is a very easy recipe and took me about two hours to make the 24 pies and I didn't have any left at the end of the day. :) I highly encourage giving this recipe a try.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Now that school is in full swing, I have not had too much time for experimental baking. At the moment Betty Crocker has been supplying me with baked goods. In attempts at procrastinating in my school work tonight, I came across this recipe. I have not made these myself yet but and they sound delicious. I personally have never seen anything other than chocolate whoopie pies. These are definitely going on my "make for tailgating" recipe list. Lets hope they go good with a nice pumpkin ale. :)

Whoopie Pies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 Tbs. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. Beat butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, pumpkin, vanilla and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix just until combined.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop tablespoon sized balls of dough, making sure to press down any points or jagged edges. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

To make the frosting, mix butter and sugar. Then add in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat on high speed for about 2-3 minutes. Spread frosting on the flat side of one half of the pie and place another pie on top.

Original Recipe courtesy of Home. Made Simple.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake Pretzel Bites

So kind of a funny story, the guys in my lab are slightly obsessed with any sort of candy, cake, cupcakes, treats, whatever they can get their hands on. So they started a jar, we've dubbed "The Cookie Jar", and they put their spare change in it. When it adds up to a few dollars, I take it and buy something to make them treats. This is the first time trying this but it worked pretty well. This week I made them Oreo Cheesecake Pretzel Bites. These are super easy to make and absolutely amazing.

I did my recipe to taste using the original recipe as a guide. I personally found I liked a little more cream cheese as well as more dough in general on the pretzels.

7-10 oreo cookies
2 oz. cold cream cheese
24-30 pretzels
1 c. chocolate chips
chocolate sprinkles

1. Grind up the oreos in a food processor/blender.

2. Mix the ground up oreos with the cream cheese. After a few minutes of mixing, this will turn into a nice dough.

3. Place a ball of the dough in between two pretzels.

4. Melt chocolate chips in a pan.

5. Dip pretzel bit into chocolate and then dip into chocolate sprinkles.

6. Place on a nonstick surface and let cool (I put them in the fridge for about 5 minutes to harden the chocolate).

7. Stuff face.

Original recipe courtesy of Picky Palate.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kitty Litter Cake

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday and around this time of the year I start hunting around for new Halloween baking ideas. I have come across some great decorated treats but I think this is by far one of the best Halloween cakes I have ever seen. Behold! The Kitty Litter cake!

UPDATE: The cake has finally been made!

I want to make this so bad just to see the looks on peoples faces.

Recipe courtesy of

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Easy Mac and Cheese

I always used to eat the Kraft Mac and Cheese in the blue box and if you actually followed the recipe on the back, you ended up with watered down noodles in a yellow liquid. So I decided to modify the recipe and came up with a very not good for the arteries recipe.

Two boxes of kraft mac and cheese
1 tbsp seasoned salt
8 oz. salted butter
1/2 c. milk

1. Cook the pasta until soft

2. In a large bowl mix the packets of cheese and the seasoned salt. (I usually do the seasoned salt to taste). Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and pour onto the cheese salt mixture.

3. Next add the butter and milk and let set for a few minutes so the butter melts.

4. Stir until everything is mixed. Let set for another 5 minutes or so. The sauce should become very thick.

5. Serve and be prepared for major food coma afterward.

Margarita Cupcakes

Now that football season is in full swing (GO GATORS!), it is time for alcohol infused treats. For tailgating this past Saturday, I made Margarita cupcakes with tequila. These are amazing and taste just like the real thing. Below is the original recipe, but I tried making a few modifications which actually turned out quite tasty.

For the cupcakes, it is okay to use lime juice instead of lime zest, but the lime zest is a little bit stronger than the juice.

I wanted to add a little more alcohol to this recipe, so I added a few splashs of tequila to the frosting.

1 c. liquid Margarita mix
1/3 c. tequila
¾ ounce Grand Marnier (optional)
1 box white cake mix
3 large egg whites
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs. lime zest (I used 2 Tbs.,chopped fine)

Lime Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (salted butter works okay too...think of it as the salted rim of the margarita glass)
5 to 6 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lime zest
splash of tequila (optional)

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together all of the alcohol in a small bowl. Measure out about 1 1/4 cup for the recipe and save the rest for drinking. (I tossed the whole thing in the recipe and it tastes great).

3. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, lime zest, and the 1 1/4 cup of booze. Blend for about 2 minutes...the batter will be slightly lumpy.

4. Spoon batter into cupcake liners (3/4 full), and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until when a toothpick is inserted into the center it comes out clean.

5. For the icing, place the butter into a large bowl and beat until it is fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, salt, lime juice, lime zest, and tequila (optional). Mix until its thick and creamy.

6. When the cupcakes are cooled, frost with the desired amount.

7. Stuff face with cupcake.

adapted from Bunny's Warm Oven: Margarita Cupcakes

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cupcake Obsessed

I love cupcakes. Pretty much anything that has to do with cupcakes. Perpetual Kid has done it again. The Bad Cupcake bag and the Inflatable Cupcake just crack me up. I especially like the face of the bad cupcake.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Obsessed with Smoothies

I have trying to eat healthier but I have the worse sweet tooth. So I have been making smoothies to help with my sweet tooth for breakfast. And so far it seems to be doing the trick. This has been my favorite so far.

1 apple
1 banana
1 handful of raspberries
2 handfuls of strawberries
1.5 cups of Dole orange, pineapple, banana juice
1 cup of vanilla yogurt

(I didn't really measure all of this out. I did it to taste. Note the awesome units of measurement.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Giggling Chef

My blog is titled The Giggling Chef, but I am actually not a chef. Far from it. I am a starving engineering grad student slowing working my way through school. During the occasional time I am not staring at MATLAB code or cursing at my experiments in hopes it will magically give me the results I need to graduate, I enjoy getting together with friends and cooking up something delicious. I must say I enjoy baking and decorating cakes more than cooking, but I do enjoy perfecting yummy BBQ recipes. So what is this blog about? Just like so many others, to write about my experiences in attempts to make food with the possibility of other people enjoying it. And since I am a total geek, there is a good chance of me posting information on some sort of food gadgetry or funny websites.

FYI: I am not an experienced writer if you haven't figured it out already. Bare with me. Feel free to make fun of my typos.