Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lion House Zucchini Bread

 For as many different zucchini bread recipes I try each year, I always have that one go-to recipe to fall back on.  I have a go-to muffin recipe and this one is my go-to bread recipe!

It comes from none other than the trusted Lion House.  Which is a well known place here in Utah.  

One batch makes two loaves, which in any other case, I would cut the recipe in half, because we wouldn't finish off two loaves before it would go bad.  When I make this recipe, I make the entire batch and we have no problem finishing off both loaves!  It is perfectly spiced, has the best texture and as long as I don't cover it too tight overnight, the top doesn't get sticky.  Most people love that sticky top, but not me, I hate it.
Lion House Zucchini Bread
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
2 c. shredded raw zucchini (you don't need to peel it)
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. chopped nuts, opt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl; mix well.  Blend in the vanilla and zucchini.  Combine the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and baking powder and add to the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  Stir in the nuts.  Divide batter evenly between two well-greased loaf pans.  Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

Jenn's Notes: Sometimes I combine some cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the loaves before I bake them and it will create a crispy top! So good.    

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

24 Hour Chicken Marinade

 This marinade is yummy!  My chicken always turns out so flavorful and it is so moist and juicy.  The chicken is almost tender enough to just melt in your mouth.  I cook mine on the George Foreman, but I can imagine how amazing it would be cooked on an outdoor grill.  With that added smoky barbeque flavor, this would be over the top.  If you are planning to barbeque this weekend for Labor Day, this would be a great recipe to try!  If you are not able to grill outdoors, no worries, it is still so good grilled indoors.  

It takes me about 2 minutes to mix up the marinade, I throw in the chicken and I don't have to think about it until the next night.  It is perfect to have after a long day at work.  Serve with a side of Cheesy Zucchini Rice and you are set!
24 Hour Chicken Marinade
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. + 2 Tbl. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 Tbl. + 2 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbl. dry mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh parsley

Whisk together all ingredients.  Pour over chicken and allow to marinate.  The longer you let it marinate, the better the flavor will be (24 hours is ideal).  Makes enough for 4 large chicken breasts.  Cook on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing to keep all the juices inside.      

Jenn's Notes:  I have made this without allowing the chicken to marinate for a full 24 hours and it wasn't as flavorful.  So, I highly recommend allowing it to marinate a full 24 hours.  
slightly adapted from: All Recipes

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ina's Blueberry Crumb Cake

I was going through some old recipes that I had saved and I came across this one, twice, from two different blogs, and both said that this was the best crumb cake they have ever had.  I, myself, have not made many of Ina Garten's recipes.  As a matter of fact, the only one I can think of are these Coconut Cupcakes, which I absolutely loved.  I am always hearing people rave about Ina's recipes and so far, two out of two for me have been delicious.

As I was adding the crumb topping, I was thinking it seemed like a ton and I should have only made 1/2, but once it was baked and I tasted it, I thought the crumb topping was perfect.  It is a little messy to eat, but it sure tastes good.  As you can see, all of my blueberries sunk to the bottom, which I ended up liking better, because I felt like it was more of a blueberry sauce layer and that I wasn't biting into blueberries (which I hate). I think it tastes even better the second day.  It stays fresh for a long time and it just keeps getting more moist, but the top stays crunchy.

I topped my first few pieces with a vanilla glaze, but it really didn't need it.  This was the first crumb cake I have ever had and I thought it was delicious.

I am convinced that I need to try out more of Ina's recipes.  Do you guys have any favorites of hers?    
Ina's Blueberry Crumb Cake
adapted from: Ina Garten

Streusel Topping
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick (8 Tbl.) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour

6 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2/3 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. fresh blueberries
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8x8 baking dish.  For the streusel: Combine the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.  Stir in the melted butter and then the flour.  Mix well and set aside.  For the cake: Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4-5 minutes, until light (I only whipped mine for a few minutes until it was fluffy).  Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined.  Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.  With your fingers, crumble the streusel topping evenly over the batter.  Bake for 40-50 minutes (Mine took 55 minutes) or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool completely and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Yield: 9 servings  

Jenn's Notes: I used light sour cream and I used frozen blueberries (which is maybe why they sunk).  If you are going to use frozen berries, make sure to stir them into the batter while they are still frozen or else you will end up with a purple batter.  I baked mine for 55 minutes and it was perfect.    

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Copycat Winger's Amazing Sauce

We used to go to Winger's all of the time, but ever since I started cooking, we haven't gone there as much.  Every time we went, I would get the same salad, which wasn't just any salad.  It was loaded with some of my favorite things.  Last time we went, which was clear back on Valentine's Day, I was sad to learn that they had changed their menu and my favorite salad was not the same anymore.  So, I have been trying to re-create it at home and this is my version of that salad I used to love.

Since I have the copycat Winger's Amazing Sauce recipe (which tastes exactly like the real thing to me), this salad tastes just like the one I remember, if not BETTER!  I did change up one thing.  The one I used to get was served with Feta Cheese and Ranch Dressing, but I have recently started to love blue cheese with buffalo sauce.  So, I made a blue cheese ranch dressing instead.  If you don't care for blue cheese, just omit that and add Feta instead.  

Buffalo Chicken Salad
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 very large chicken breast (or two medium-size)
chopped lettuce
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tomato, diced
1/2 c. Cheddar cheese, shredded
blue cheese ranch (combine crumbled blue cheese with ranch dressing)
Winger's Copycat Amazing Sauce

Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook on the grill (indoors or outdoors).  Then, slice or shred and toss in a little Amazing Sauce until coated.  Layer lettuce, chicken, crumbled bacon, diced tomato and shredded Cheddar.  Drizzle more Amazing Sauce and blue cheese ranch dressing over the top.  Serve immediately.  Serves: 2  

Winger's Copycat Amazing Sauce
3 Tbl. Frank's Hot Sauce (has to be Frank's)
3/4 c. light brown sugar
2 Tbl. water

Combine all ingredients and cook until sugar is dissolved.  Heat on low until ready to serve.  Once it is removed from the heat it gets super thick and sticky.  I like to drizzle it over my salad, so I keep it heated right up until I am ready to serve.  

Jenn's Notes: Feta cheese can be used in place of the blue cheese.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bite-Size Potato Skins with Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce

These were a last minute side dish.  I was going to make my Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries, but when I realized I had way too much bacon than I needed, I browsed the web for a quick recipe (which really means I got on Pinterest).  The first few recipes I found required baking the potatoes for 40 minutes or so, but I didn't have that much time.  So, I was drawn to this recipe, because you boil the potato slices for 5 minutes and then bake for 15 minutes and you are done.  It totally worked.



I'm pretty sure I LOVE these

Got it?

With football season just around the corner, you guys need to keep this recipe on hand.  It is a perfect party food, because you can pick them up and eat them, no utensils needed. The chipotle ranch was incredible!  I love chipotle chili powder and I use it in so many dishes.  It adds an amazing smoky flavor to your dishes.  I purchased mine at the regular grocery store, so hopefully you won't have a hard time finding it.      
Bite-Size Potato Skins
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

2 med-large russet potatoes, unpeeled
seasoned salt
1 - 1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar Cheese
6-8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
chopped green onions, for garnish, opt.

Wash the potatoes and slice into 1/4'' rounds.  Place in a pot of cold and salted water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and boil for 5 minutes.  Potatoes should be tender if you stick a fork in them, but not too soft.  Drain.  Pat dry with a paper-towel (I let mine sit in the colander for about 10 minutes while I did a few other things, so they were already dry).  Transfer slices to a foil-lined baking sheet.  Place them in a single layer.  Sprinkle a little pepper and seasoned salt over each slice.  Then, top each one with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.  Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven, allow to cool a few minutes, and serve with Chipotle Ranch Sauce or regular Ranch.  Serves: 4-6

Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce
1/4 c. ranch dressing
1/4. sour cream
1 tsp. chipotle chili powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste
1/8 tsp. cayenne, opt. (I did not add)
a little salt and pepper

Stir together all ingredients and mix until well combined.  Refrigerate any leftovers.    

Idea from: Vittles and Bits

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shortcut Calzones

Are you ready for a super simple "semi homemade" calzone recipe?
I needed some ideas to use up my bag of frozen roll dough.  I swear, even if they aren't expired, after a while the rolls won't rise right or taste right.  Does that happen to anyone else??? So, I try to use them up fairly quickly.  Since I prefer making homemade rolls, I don't use the frozen kind very often unless I am making my favorite Orange Rolls or my Mom's Parmesan Rolls . . . and now these calzones.  We have already made them several times and they are the perfect size and they taste SO GOOD!
All you do is get out some frozen roll dough, allow them to thaw and roll them out a bit
Fill with toppings
Fold over and pinch edges shut with a fork
Brush with egg wash and bake

Now, everyone in your family can be happy, because they can create their own little calzone with whatever fillings they want.  No giving in to adding pepperoni or salami, because Dad likes it.  Or mushrooms, because Mom likes them.  Nope, not anymore.  You can have WHATEVER you want.  I experimented with several different versions.  My favorite is still ham, cheese and chopped bell pepper!!  

Shortcut Calzones
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

10 frozen Rhodes rolls
pizza sauce
whatever toppings you desire (meat and/or veggies)
shredded cheese (We like Cheddar and Parmesan)
beaten egg
Italian seasoning
garlic powder

Place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and let thaw and rise 2-3 hours.  When rolls are thawed and risen, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Top each dough circle with pizza sauce, desired toppings and shredded cheese, trying to leave a small border around the outside.  Pull empty half up and over and crimp edges shut, using a fork.  Brush the top of each with a beaten egg and sprinkle with some Italian seasoning and garlic powder (or Johnny's Garlic Spread if you have it).  Cut a few slits on top of each pocket and  place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until nice and golden and crispy.  Serves: 5   

Jenn's Notes: I recommend filling the pockets a little fuller than you think with toppings, because it won't seem like as much after they are baked.  You can use the traditional toppings for pizza or you could create a gourmet style like cheeseburger, taco, BBQ chicken or chicken alfredo.  

idea from: The Pioneer Woman 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Memories Suite WINNER

The winner of My Memories Suite Scrapbooking Software goes to . . . Terri (Comment #18)!


Please email me within the next few days to claim your prize!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Soft Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Friday!!  We did it, we made it through the long week.  It's time to sit back, relax and eat some cookies!
I found these cookies over at Posed Perfection and she has been making this recipe for 13 YEARS.  Dang, they must be good, right?

As long as you don't overbake them, they will be yummy.  They are soft yet slightly chewy on the bottom.  I think the chocolate chips are a must.  Without them, the cookies aren't super flavorful.  I usually don't peel my zucchini when I make zucchini bread or zucchini cookies, but I recommend peeling the zucchini first with this recipe.  For some reason, the peel kept getting stuck in my teeth.  Also, I think these taste best THE DAY THEY ARE MADE.  The next day, they just aren't as good.  I wonder how I could make these stay fresh longer, because they are really good the day they are made.  Maybe another egg?  I'll have to experiment and see what I can come up with.  
Soft Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. zucchini, finely grated (I recommend peeling it)
1 c. chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add the flour, soda, cinnamon and salt and add to creamed mixture and mix well (mixture will be dry until you add the zucchini).  Add the zucchini and mix until evenly distributed (dough will be sticky).  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop dough by Tablespoons onto a well-greased baking sheet.  Bake about 14-17 minutes or until lightly golden around the bottom.  Do Not Overbake.  Yield: around 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Jenn's Notes: I baked my first batch for 17 minutes and they overdone.  My 2nd batch I baked for 15 minutes and they were WAY better, I probably could have even went with 14 minutes. So, listen to the recipe and DO NOT OVERBAKE.  These cookies are best the day they are made.            

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Marinated Chicken Fajitas

These aren't your average fajitas.  They are better!  Both the vegetables and the chicken are covered with a delicious marinade which results in some awesome flavor.  I never would have thought to marinade the vegetables too, but it is a great idea.  All you have to do is chop up some peppers, onion and chicken.  Add it to a zip-lock and add the marinade.  Wait a little bit, throw it all in a skillet and cook until its done.  I have made these fajitas several times and we love them.  So easy and so yummy.    
Marinated Chicken Fajitas
1 Lb. chicken breasts, sliced into 1 inch strips
1 small - medium onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 tsp. olive oil
6-8 flour or corn tortillas (depending on the size you use)
shredded cheese, for serving
salsa (store-bought or homemade), for serving
sour cream, for serving, opt.
chopped cilantro, for serving, opt.

Place sliced chicken, onion and green pepper in a gallon-size zip-lock bag or large tupperware.  Pour in marinade. Seal bag shut or cover tupperware with a lid.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Dump the entire bag of ingredients into the skillet.  Cook and stir for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is done.  Serve on toasted flour or corn tortillas with desired toppings.  Serves: 3-4  

Jenn's Notes:  No notes today.  Make the recipe "as is" and they will be great!   

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software Giveaway Plus 10 Dollar Store Credit

I recently had a chance to test out My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software.  I was really impressed with all the things you can do with it.  If you have used similar programs, then I am sure this will be a piece of cake for you, but if not, it might take a few minutes to learn how to use it.  I was a little slow at first and didn't know where to begin, but eventually, I figured it out and the ideas started flowing.  The best thing to do is just play around with it and eventually you will get the hang of it.  

It comes with a lot of items to get you going, but if you are looking for something specific, their website is loaded with packages you can purchase and tonz of ideas, so you can create exactly what you are imagining.  Plus, if you sign up for their e-mails, they are always sending out free package downloads!  
I wanted to show you that there is so much more you can do with this software than just make scrapbook pages.

Since this is a food blog, I figured I should make some food related items.  I think this is an awesome program to have on hand for a "foodie".

I can assure you my Christmas goodie plates for my neighbors and co-workers are going to have the cutest labels ever this year!  

Here are some of the things I have found that you can make using this program: scrapbook pages, calendars, cards for any occasion, wedding or shower invitations, birthday party invitations, gift tags, labels, recipe cards and you can print out things on sticker paper and make custom labels to organize your house or pantry.  You can print your projects at home or you can send them to a photo place to get printed.
Since I have a ton of zucchini right now, I figured I would make a loaf of bread for my neighbor, but I wanted to dress it up a bit.  I decided to create a super cute recipe card.  I had been wanting to try Alton's Pudding Mix, so I made some of that too!   
For someone like me, that isn't the most creative person, this program is perfect, because it gives you all the pieces you need and all you have to do is put them together!

******This Giveaway is now CLOSED******

Winner will receive one copy of My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software ($39.97 value) PLUS a $10 credit to the store!
If you can't wait to win, use my code (STMMMS44144) to receive $10 off the software plus another $10 credit to use in the store!

MANDATORY ENTRY: You must follow Eat Cake For Dinner via Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Pinterest OR E-mail.  Leave me a comment and let me know which way you follow.  If your name does not link me to your email address, be sure to leave me it, so I can contact you if you win.  If you are not comfortable leaving your email address in a comment, you can send it to me @

FOR A 2ND ENTRY: Visit and then come back and leave me a comment with your favorite paper pack or layout.

Giveaway will end on Friday August 17th and the winner will be announced on Saturday, August 18th
**The Winner must contact me within 72 hours or a new winner will be selected! Good Luck!**

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Zucchini Casserole with Stuffing

This casserole was really tasty!  If the zucchini part lost your interest, I want to tell you this would also be great with other vegetables like broccoli, celery, peas or anything else you might like.  Which means, this doesn't have to be something you only make while zucchini is in season, you can make it all year long.  If you would rather serve this as a side dish, just leave out the chicken and add a little extra zucchini.

Zucchini Casserole with Stuffing
adapted from: Ashlee P.
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)
1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 c. onion, diced
4 c. zucchini, diced (you don't have to peel it)
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream 
1/2 c. milk
1 c. cheese, shredded 
1 (8 oz.) pkg. stuffing mix 
1 stick butter, melted

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and zucchini and saute until tender, about 5-8 minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and milk.  Add the shredded chicken, shredded cheese and cooked zucchini mixture.  Combine the stuffing mix with melted butter.  Spread half of the stuffing mix into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.  Cover with soup mixture and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining stuffing mix over the top.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serves: 6-8.  

Jenn's Notes: I seasoned my chicken breasts before I baked them with some Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  I used light sour cream, Cheddar cheese and chicken flavored stuffing mix. The stuffing mix on the bottom softens up while baking and the stuffing on the top gets slightly crunchy (like bread crumbs).  The sauce is thick and creamy.  Yummy.         

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meatball Gyros

This recipe was picked out by another member of the family.  I never would have chosen this if I saw it in a magazine and it probably wouldn't have even caught my attention, which is why I was so glad it did catch someone else's attention.  They turned out really really good!  

It was perfect timing, since Jake had just gone to IKEA with his mom and picked up some of their frozen meatballs.  Which, by-the-way, I did not even care to look at the calorie count on the package.  Sometimes things are better left unknown.

 I was honestly shocked that I liked these as much as I did.  I liked them enough that I could see myself eating these frequently.  If you make your own meatballs using lean meat, then this is a pretty healthy meal.  

Meatball Gyros
For the sauce
3/4 c. (6 oz.) plain, non-fat, Greek yogurt
   (I used a 5.5 oz. carton of Chobani)
1/2 c. finely chopped and peeled cucumber
1/4 c. diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. onion powder, to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

For serving
* cooked meatballs 
8 pita halves, regular or wheat
2 c. shredded lettuce
1/2 c. diced tomatoes
grated Parmesan cheese, opt.

(I did not use this recipe, but this is the one included in the magazine)
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. lean ground turkey or beef

In a small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients; set aside.  If you are making the included meatball recipe, in a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, egg and seasonings.  Crumble turkey or beef over mixture and mix well.  Shape into 16 balls.  Place meatballs on a rack coated with cooking spray in a shallow baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink.  To serve: Line pitas with lettuce and tomatoes; add meatballs and drizzle with yogurt sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.  Yield: 4 servings.   

Jenn's Notes: I used the little frozen meatballs from IKEA, but since you might not have access to those and you might not have a favorite meatball recipe, I have included the recipe that was in my magazine.  I have not tried this recipe, but it sounds like it would be good.  The seasonings in the sauce were not in the original recipe, but I wanted a little extra flavor.      

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Salsa Sloppy Joes

I ended up liking these way more than I ever thought I would.  They were probably the easiest sloppy joe I have ever made.  I loved that besides salt and pepper, I didn't have to add any spices or chop up any onions or peppers, because, thanks to the salsa, it is already in there.  

I used my favorite, go-to, Homemade Salsa that I had already made to use in another dish and I added that to the hamburger along with a little brown sugar and canned tomato soup.  Don't let the canned tomato soup scare you away.  It doesn't end up tasting like you added tomato soup, it just adds a little tomato flavor that all sloppy joes have and it helps it be thick and saucy.  I served these with a side of Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries and I loved it all.  If your family enjoys sloppy joes - I bet they will love this version! Try it. 

Salsa Sloppy Joes
1 Lb. ground turkey or ground beef
salt and pepper
1 c. salsa (store-bought or homemade)
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 Tbl. brown sugar
hamburger buns

Brown meat in a skillet over medium heat; season with salt and pepper.  Add the salsa, condensed soup and brown sugar.  Stir well to combine.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve on hamburger buns.

Jenn's Notes: These were so good.  I used ground beef and homemade salsa and they were done in no time!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

The other day, my friend told me about a new zucchini recipe she had just tried.  It was zucchini bread with caramel on top and she said that it was soooooooo good.  At first I was thinking -  Huh? That sounds interesting?  Then, I found this cupcake recipe the next night!  What the heck - I'm going to try it.  Not exactly the same thing as pouring caramel over zucchini bread, but similar flavors.  

These are not your average zucchini cupcakes.

 This recipe has some very unique ingredient combinations.  Almond, cinnamon, orange and caramel frosting all mixed with zucchini?  Sounded strange, but I figured it must work since they had a lot of really good reviews and were marked Contest Winning.

They turned out great and tasted DELICIOUS!
They are moist, but not super moist.  I loved the addition of almond extract.  I think it enhanced the flavors of the other ingredients.  I couldn't taste much orange flavor, but the flavors I could taste complimented each other nicely and it all totally worked!  The caramel icing is very rich and very sweet.  A little cream cheese and some chopped pecans help cut the sweetness.

Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting
3 eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. orange juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. grated zucchini

Caramel Frosting
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
4 oz. cream cheese, softened opt.

For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and almond extract; set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together until a few streaks of flour remain.  Add the grated zucchini and mix just until combined.  Pour into greased cupcake liners, filling no more than 2/3 full.  Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.  Yield: 18-24 cupcakes.  

For the Frosting: Combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened (I cooked mine for 3 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Allow to cool completely.  If adding cream cheese, add now, and beat until smooth and creamy.  Add powdered sugar and salt and beat until fluffy.  If it is too thick for your liking, add a little milk, but be careful not to add to much.  Frost cooled cupcakes.  Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.  

Jenn's Notes: If you add enough powdered sugar, the frosting should pipe nicely.  I decided to add a little extra milk to mine at the end and accidentally put too much in, but before that, my icing was very stiff.  I tried the frosting with and without the cream cheese and it was delicious both ways.   

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