Nutella Stuffed Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes

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Nutella Stuffed Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes

a close up of a nutella stuffed chocolate cupcake with strawberry buttercream frosting

If an 8 year old can make Nutella Stuffed Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes, you certainly can do it! Moist chocolate cupcakes are a must for Valentine’s Day!

Are you familiar with how cooking happens in our house? It’s not just a mom thing, and it’s certainly not just an adult thing, the whole family is involved. I’ll tell you all about how our family created the tradition of kids cooking, plus a few tips for making it work in your home, but first, let’s chat about these Nutella Stuffed Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes, very similar to our Milk Chocolate Cupcakes.

Nutella Stuffed Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes

I love the look of chocolate and fluffy, pink anything, yes, even pink pancakes. I’m not really a pink girl, I think I have one or two pink shirts in my closet and that’s probably it. Now don’t panic, I have nothing against pink, I’m just not drawn to it like I am blue or white for example. I should move to Santorini, Greece. That seems like a good choice.

Ahhh but chocolate and pink, there’s something about that just makes me want to take a big ol’ bite. And these Nutella Stuffed Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes are the perfect example.

A moist chocolate cupcake, stuffed with totally lickable Nutella and topped off with strawberry buttercream that is silky like those old school 90’s silk pajamas. Nothing short of a dream.

Why Coffee in Chocolate Cake

You all know us well enough by now to know that we don’t drink alcohol, coffee or tea and while yes, alcohol usually cooks out of things, we don’t keep it in the house so it just doesn’t happen.

When it comes to chocolate cake I’ve had to embrace that it does in fact make a difference. I bought this, Espresso Powder  used for baking and I merely add a little to any liquid in chocolate baking and it enhances the chocolate flavor without adding any coffee flavor. I honestly still skip it all the time, but really, it does make a difference and you’re probably eating it most of the time you buy a chocolate anything out and about.

Boiling Water in Chocolate Cake

Have you noticed how many chocolate recipes include boiling water? Especially a chocolate cake or cupcake. So what’s the deal with boiling water in chocolate cake?

It seems like it would be something with the hot water making the cake more moist or tender, but it’s actually about the cocoa. When making anything chocolate you should mix cocoa with hot water then let it sit for a few minutes. What you’re actually doing is blooming the chocolate, or in other words, the cocoa dissolves and the flavor particles are released leading to a more powerful chocolate flavor.

Chocolate brownies are a little different, you’ll want to bloom the chocolate in hot oil. Not like, fry you up some fried chicken oil, just warmed up so

Italian Grinder Sandwich

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Savory deli meats are piled high on a toasted hoagie roll, then topped with an unforgettable tangy slaw and gooey provolone cheese to make this Italian Grinder Sandwich your new favorite lunch.

Close-up on sandwich

Italian Grinder Sandwich

The slight crunch and crackle of toasted bread, soft and warm meats topped with gooey, melted cheese, crisp onions and peppers in an incredible slaw. What’s not to love? Put them all together and it’s pure lunch heaven.

Toasted hoagies are bursting with incredible flavor and all of my favorite grinder sandwich ingredients. This Italian grinder sandwich may be the best sub sandwich I’ve had in the past year.

Sliced cold cuts sandwich

This recipe is extremely versatile, making it great for large gatherings. Everyone can pick out their favorite lunch meats, just swap out the turkey for roast beef or pepperoni, etc. Or, you can just pile them on. I won’t judge.

Kids adore this quick lunch. But, especially for little mouths, cured sliced meats can be difficult to chew. If you chop up the meats, it makes it easier to manage. And, what child wouldn’t want their own, special “chopped” grinder sandwich?

Bread with salami, prosciutto, and cheeseRead more

Sizzling Italian Dipping Oil for Bread

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Sizzling Italian Dipping Oil for Bread

a photo of a shallow white bowl full of bread dipping oil fill of finely chopped fresh herbs and minced garlic.

Sizzling hot, full of fresh herbs and garlic with a little drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar…the most irresistible dipping oil for bread. It soaks into the bread just a little and is the perfect appetizer or side dish for any meal.

Years ago when I was in college I was dating a boy that enjoyed cooking and baking. We had a lot of fun trying new recipes and because we were dating, my parents gave me a fancy set of oil and different seasonings for bread for one of my Christmas gifts. The relationship didn’t last but my love for bread and dipping oil totally did! Haha!

Take 10 minutes to make this dipping oil recipe, pull a fresh loaf of focaccia bread or a crusty artisan bread loaf out of the oven, and you have an elegant start to your authentic Italian bolognese dinner! You’ll feel like you’re sitting at a fancy Italian restaurant!

What Goes into Italian Dipping Oil?

Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:

  • Olive Oil – extra virgin, make sure it is good quality (from Italy or California is the best), extra virgin olive oil has a deeper and richer flavor
  • Garlic – fresh, not from a jar
  • Fresh herbs – parsley, oregano (or marjoram), rosemary and basil all minced really fine
    • PRO TIP: We love this combinations of fresh herbs, but you could use any combination you love! It’s so versatile! Add some thyme, omit the parsley…seriously whatever your family enjoys!
    • If you need to use dried herbs, double all the measurements for each herb.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – feel free to add more if you like more heat
  • Kosher Salt – adds flavor
  • Balsamic Vinegar – adds the most lovely hint of sweetness and acid to cut through the oil
  • Bread – I have been known to dip just about any bread into this oil. Heck, I’d dip a slice of white Wonderbread! See section below for specific suggestions.

The measurements for each ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

What Type of Olive Oil is Best for Dipping Oil?

You want a top quality, extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. Extra virgin olive oil will hold up the best to all the flavors of the fresh herbs. Look for EVOO that is from Italy or California. EVOO can be expensive, but you only need 1/3 cup for this recipe, so buying the best is recommended and will last for a long time.

Can Other Types of Oil Be Used?

No, I would definitely not recommend using any other type of oil for making a dipping oil for bread. Other types of oil just don’t have the same rich flavor that you get from olive oil. Olive oil is also one of the healthiest types

My Favorite Lasagna Recipe

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My Favorite Lasagna Recipe

a photo of a serving of layered hearty meat lasagna on a white plate topped with melted cheese and chopped parsley

We have been long overdue for an update to this hearty meat lasagna recipe! I have been working on making it the BEST classic lasagna recipe ever, and this is finally it!

We layer this lasagna with our authentic bolognese meat sauce, a creamy bechamel sauce and 2 types of cheese all tucked between layers of lasagna noodles. You’re absolutely going to love this easy lasagna recipe!

It was 2009 when I first posted this recipe…2009…15 years! SO much has changed since then…we’ve expanded our family. We’ve moved (three times). We’ve progressed from toddlers and tantrums to teenagers and still tantrums 🤪. It seems natural that this lasagna recipe should change a little too. It’s now better and bolder and everything a homemade lasagna should be.

Ingredients for Hearty Meat Lasagna

I’m going to divide up the ingredients list between the three different parts of this recipe – the meat sauce, the bechamel sauce and the items needed to assemble the lasagna. Here is what you will need:

Meat Bolognese Sauce

  • Butter and Olive Oil
  • Vegetables: Carrots, Celery, Red Onion, Garlic
  • Proteins: Ground Beef and Italian Sausage
  • Tomatoes: Roasted Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Fire Roasted Tomatoes (canned)
  • Milk and Heavy Cream
  • Cooking Wine
  • Lemon Zest and Juice
  • Seasonings: Nutmeg, Bay Leaves, Salt and Pepper

Bechamel Sauce

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Whole Milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Lasagna Ingredients

  • Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • Fresh Parmesan
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Don’t be alarmed! You did not read ricotta cheese in that ingredients list. We actually found that we preferred the lasagna without it! Keep scrolling to the end of the post for the measurements for each ingredient.

How to Make Homemade Meat Lasagna

To Make the Meat Sauce

  1. Prepare the bolognese sauce as instructed in that post and set aside.

For the Bechamel Sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour continuously whisking it in until a paste forms and it bubbles a little.
  3. Add in the milk slowing still whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer until it thickens.
  4. Whisk in the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

For the Lasagna

  1. Prehea

The Little Things Newsletter #402 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Switzerland 402

Welcome to the weekend, my friends! It’s been a whirlwind of a week in Switzerland, exploring the area around Lausanne, enjoying the ballet, and eating copious amounts of cheese, chocolate, and pastries.

I’ll be sharing more in a full post on the blog after I’m home again, but in the meantime, let me just say that the Alps are gorgeous, the architecture is fascinating, and the weather has been lovely.

ON THE BLOGS THIS WEEK: This dairy-free Pineapple Banana Smoothie is light and refreshing, perfect with breakfast or as a snack any time throughout the day.

Fluffy pancakes are infused with the juicy flavors of ripe pineapple, sweet coconut, and a sprinkle of crunchy macadamia nuts, kicking these Hawaiian Pancakes into high gear.

Tender, savory beef simmers with a medley of herbs and earthy veggies under a golden, flaky pie crust in this simple Beef Pot Pie.

A handful of simple seasonings transform frozen green beans into a wonderful side dish with these Italian Green Beans.

The rich and hearty flavors of cabbage and root vegetables combine with savory beef in a simmering pot of Cabbage Beef Stew. This is the kind of comfort food that warms you right down to your toes.

Bursting with the sweetness of fresh apples and spiced up with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, these old fashioned Apple Cinnamon Cookies take you right back to grandma’s kitchen.

This creamy, rich Blueberry Ice Cream is filled with chunks of dark chocolate that will melt in your mouth. This ice cream has been my weakness for several years now. Make this as soon as possible – you will not regret it.

What I’m CRAVING: Salads! Just about every time I travel, I start craving fresh vegetables and salads like mad by the time I’m ready to head home. This Spinach Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese needs to happen asap, as does this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with an Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

My FAVORITE THING this week is my pocket size pill organizer. I’ve been using this tiny pill case for a few years now. This might be the mo