** Optional: Add in raisins, chopped walnuts and/or 1 c shredded carrots with an additional 1/2 c water or possibly 1/2 c mini chocolate chips to add to the flavor of these E-Z cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or according to your box directions.
2. Combine cake mix, pumpkin and water. Beat for 2 minutes.
3. Line 2 muffin pans with liners and fill each cup about 1/2-2/3 full.
4. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cupcakes are cooked through and spring back to touch.
5. Allow to cool and frost.
** Frost with Homemade Whipped Cream, your favorite frosting or enjoy plain.
Makes 24 cupcakes, 2 Points+ Each
1/2 pint Heavy Whipping Cream (sometimes you just have to!)
3 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until fluffy ~ about 1-2 minutes. Do NOT overbeat or you will end up with cream cheese.
1 Tbsp = 1 points+.
** Since you saved a little on the cake mix (omitting the oil, eggs, etc), you can indulge a little in REAL whipped frosting. However, if you choose, you can use Fat Free Cool Whip ~ 2 Tbsp is 0 points+
Cooking Tips :
Immediately Improve Your Cooking With These Tips
Delicious food can be many things. Apply the tips that are provided here so you can elevate your cooking to a new level.
Make sure that you defrost your vegetables before you put them in the microwave if you are planning to cook them this way. This will allow you to achieve the best texture, while not sacrificing the taste of your vegetables. After cooking, add your vegetables to a main plate as a side dish.
Check what you have at home and bring any new recipes with you when you go to the store. When you have the recipe with you, you'll have a handy list of what you need to buy. If you don't check what you already have, you may ending up buying more than you need. If you don't bring the recipe, you may forget something that you won't be able to cook without!
When you are cooking a dish that requires it to be sauteed, add oil around the edges of the pan rather than directly on the food. This gives the oil a chance to heat up before it reaches the cooking food that is in the center of the pan. Hot oil will give you improved results and makes your dish taste better.
Write out a list for all of the ingredients that you will need for a recipe before you go to the grocery store. This way, you will not forget anything. Many people forget one or two important ingredients for the recipe, which causes them to not be able to make the meal.
Wooden skewers should be soaked in plain water before each use for an absolute minimum of thirty minutes. This will prevent them from burning while you are cooking. Double up on the skewers per kebab to ensure that nothing falls off of them.
Roast nuts briefly in the oven and then sprinkle some flour on them before using in a cake to prevent them from migrating to the bottom of the pan. Applying heat and coating lightly with flour keeps them in position in the cake batter and reduces the likelihood the nuts will settle before the cake is done baking.
New spices should be purchased every six months. Spices do not last forever. They will eventually lose their flavor. If you buy a certain spice and you know that you are not going to use it all before it goes bad, give half to a friend or family member.
Use fresh carrots often in your cooking. They are versatile and easy to obtain. Carrots are very rich in vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy. One of the best ways to sneak there goodness into your recipes is to use carrots in place of sugar.
When you are making homemade soups that contain meat, they tend to have a lot of fat that needs to be skimmed from the top. One quick solution to that problem is dropping in a couple of ice cubes. As the ice melts, the fat will stiffen around it and you will be able to remove it with ease.
It sounds kind of funny, but to be a better cook, one should make sure they have a large enough kitchen. Some kitchens, simply put, are not large enough to accommodate a good cook. The more space you have, the more free you'll feel. The more free, then the less confined, cluttered, and un-inventive you will feel.
If you are making a recipe that contains pasta in a sauce, avoid it being too soggy by cooking the pasta few minutes less in water. Finish cooking it with the sauce. It will be the perfect consistency and not be the mushy starchy mess we all hate when eating pasta!
Get your children to eat their veggies by including them in unexpected foods. Pumpkin is great in pancakes and muffins, and pureed carrots or butternut squash pair well with tomato-based pasta sauces. Grated zucchini takes on the flavor of nearly anything in which it is used, even chocolate or spice cake.
Use nonstick cookware when you want to cook healthier. Nonstick pans have a coating on them that makes food easily slide out, even with no oil. This is great for when you are trying to control the fat in your diet. If you do use oil, you will have to use far less. What's more, nonstick pans are so easy to clean!
The secret to a great mole sauce is the cocoa powder. Take a cue from Mexican mole and try using a bit of cocoa powder in your typical Italian pasta sauces, as well. A touch of cocoa powder imparts a "been simmering for days" Flavor and complexity, while not being too overpowering.
Consider mixing flavored butter for a simple method of adding some additional flavor to your corn or rolls. First, bring some butter to room temperature, or soften it using a microwave. Then you want to add some sauce, herbs or spices to give the butter that extra kick. Try this trick with barbeque sauce or honey, as well.
It is important to keep your waffles and pancakes warm until they are ready to serve. Warm the oven so that it reaches 300 degrees. While you are cooking, put what is already finished on an oven-safe plate, and stick them in oven to stay warm.
If you do not want to be eating greasy gravy for dinner the best thing to do is make sure you skim as much fat as you can off the top while you are cooking the gravy. Or you can wait until it is cooked and do it then if you forget.
There are different kinds of potatoes, and recipes are usually designed for one particular type. There are three different classifications of potatoes, all-purpose, mealy, or waxy. If mashed potatoes are on the menu for you, try using ones with a mealy texture. Russet potatoes are considered mealy. When looking for a good potato that works in almost any dish, the Yukon Gold variety is a good choice. If you are looking for potatoes to boil or steam, then you should choose a potato that is considered waxy. The most popular waxy potatoes are red potatoes or white potatoes.
Food is amazingly powerful; it provides the roots for all life. Now that you have learned several techniques from this article, put them into practice to woo your family with home cooked meals. Useful Cooking Tips For The Ambitious Cook Cooking is a skill that is very difficult to master. The tips in the article will help learn to cook delicious meals in no time. Make sure that you never give up when you are cooking, as it is going to take a lot of practice and failures before you get it right. If you burn something, keep trying. You will only become a great cook if you maintain your persistence. Cook your pasta for one minute less than the box recommends. Look at the cook time on your box of pasta and subtract a minute. If you are including the pasta in a dish, it will cook the rest of the way when you are cooking it with the sauce. Always add oil to the side of the pan when sautéing. If you find that you need more oil in your pan while you are cooking, never put it right in the middle. Add it to the side of your pan. That way, it will be sufficiently heated by the time it reaches the food. The best thing that you can do when you are making hamburgers is to engage in trial and error. Instead of guessing that the meat is cooked well, make a small patty and taste it yourself. This will allow you to adjust your level of seasoning and cook your burger more if it needs it. Do not be afraid to experiment. There is no rule that says you need to follow a recipe exactly. If you do not care for an ingredient, leave it out. If you think a different ingredient would taste better, substitute it. If you think the dish is missing a little something, add it. Cooking a roast? Leave the bone in! By leaving the bone in, heat moves to the inside of the meat faster, speeding up the cooking process. This will, also, allow the entire roast to cook more evenly throughout the cut of meat - by leaving it in rather than removing it. When you broil a steak, heat your broiler to the appropriate temperature before putting the steak in. The result will be a seared steak on the outside, with a very juicy inside. The broiling process should also be quick, but will vary depending on how well done you want your steak to be. Over cooking can lead to a dried out end result. If you would like to bake a berry desert in the winter (when most berries are out of season), use frozen berries as a delicious and more eco-friendly alternative to fresh ones! Thaw your frozen berries for 45 minutes, drain the excess, then use as you normally would when making a berry pie or cobbler. Do you have a difficult time figuring out how long you should grill your meats? You can purchase a meat thermometer to ensure that the inside of your grilled meat is cooked to satisfaction. For meat that is more than 1.5 inches thick, close the lid of the grill to decrease the amount of time that the meat takes to cook. Write out a list for all of the ingredients that you will need for a recipe before you go to the grocery store. This way, you will not forget anything. Many people forget one or two important ingredients for the recipe, which causes them to not be able to make the meal. When frying eggs a healthy option you should use is nonstick cooking spray. The spray will keep the eggs from sticking to the pan without the use of margarine or butter. The eggs will not stick to the pan, and they can easily be cooked to any liking. After cooking the eggs, the pan should be easy to clean, and the eggs should be delicious. If you and your significant other love cooking, then consider taking a cooking class for couples! Couples cooking classes can help you explore new cuisines, enjoy each other's company and also learn more about working together in the kitchen. A well-kept secret is that the guys enjoy these classes as much as the ladies " and it often leads to the fellows taking a greater role in cooking at home. Prepare as much of the food as you can the night before. The cooking process will go much smoother when you can concentrate on the more difficult parts of cooking instead of worrying about the mundane tasks. Many dressings and vegetables, for example, will stay in the refrigerator quite well. Avoid overcooking pasta when you boil it. Overcooked pasta loses some of its important health benefits, as well as its flavor. When you overcook pasta, the noodles absorb too much water and become swollen and limp. It is better to slightly under-cook it to retain the best texture and flavor. Invest in a good roll of parchment paper. When you are baking, line your pans with it and you will save yourself much time and mess. The baked goods slide right off of the paper and all your pan needs is a simple rinse in some hot soapy water! When sauteing food, don't put too much oil in the pan. The moisture from the large pool of oil will douse the food you planned to saute and make a greasy, limp mess. This should be done at a lower temperature, too. It is a good idea to cook your green vegetables in boiling hot water. If you place the veggies in cold water and wait for it to come to a boil you will lose a lot of the green color because the chlorophyll in them will leech into the water. Store your cooking spices in a cool dry place. This will ensure the longevity and potency of the flavors in your herbs and spices. A dark cabinet away from the stove is the ideal storage place. Spices kept in bright, hot environments usually fail to maintain their flavor long before any expiration date comes. By applying what you've learned from this article, you can quickly improve your cooking skills. When you have this knowledge, the next thing you have to do is get into your kitchen and start creating meals. The people in your life will be amazed at the quality of the dishes you can now serve.