Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Savory and Sweet

This is a two-fer post.  For the savory, I made a delicious White Bean Soup with Andouille and Collards in the crockpot this weekend...
White Bean Soup with Andouille and Collards 
This recipe is from the same  Real Simple magazine that I got the recipe for the Roast Beef Sandwiches a few posts ago.

This recipe was a winner!  It was fast - Came together in under 15 minutes - and it did all the cooking by itself while I was off walking and shopping and otherwise having fun on my weekend!  Gotta love crockpots!
Scrumptious with a nice crusty bread!
Hubby and I loved this!  The beans were soft and creamy and the sausage was chewy and spicy. And it is healthy for you too!  See all the green?

...and then for dessert later in the weekend some Cinnamon-Spice Praline Cupcakes. 

Cinnamon Spice Praline Cupcakes
I found this recipe on the web at Sweet Pea's Kitchen and modified it for what I had on hand.  I cut out the apple and dulce de leche filling- too much for me! -  and renamed them to fit the new flavor combo.

Cinnamon-Spice Praline Cupcakes

Savory and Sweet...Perfect!

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup with Andouille and Collards
Real Simple Fall 2012/winter 2013

1 pound dried white beans 
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound Andouille Sausage links 
(I used low-fat so I put in more)
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped 
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded and leaves cut into bite-sized pieces (about 8 cups)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper
(I gilded the lily with some shavings of a good pecorino romano on top!)
  • In a 4-6 quart slow cooker, combine the beans, broth, sausage, onion, celery and thyme.  Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Twenty minutes before serving discard the thyme stems, add the collard greens, cover, and cook until the greens are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the vinegar and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.
  • Shave the cheese on top and serve with slices of crusty bread.
Serves 6 - Generously

Cinnamon-Spice Praline Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
Prepare 1 package of yellow cake mix according to directions except add:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Bake as directed

For the frosting:
16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter
(I used regular butter - it was in the fridge- and just eliminated the salt)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk 
(I used skim cuz it's what I had and it turned out fine)
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
  • Melt the butter in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in salt and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes.
  • Carefully stir in the milk (Do this little by little because it will want to pop up at you!)  bring back to a boil, stirring constantly.  
  • Remove from heat and add in vanilla - carefully - see note above.
  • Cool to luke-warm (30-40 Minutes) stirring occasionally.  I think that I needed to cool it a bit more so don't get in too big a rush here.
  • Once the caramel is barely luke-warm, transfer to a mixture and add the powdered sugar.  Beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy.  You can adjust the consistency by adding more milk or sugar as needed.
  • Add frosting to a piping bag or large baggie with the corner cut out and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
  • I added some pecans on top - What is a praline without pecans????
Some thought these were a bit too sweet, but they were a hit at work!  Try 'em out and let me know what you think...Too sweet or just right?

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