Easy Chocolate Cupcakes

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Ingredients:

2 cups cake flour

3 small packages of Birthday cake M&M’s ( small 1 serving packages)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 stick of unsalted butter (softened)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

chocolate icing (of your choice)

chocolate sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In one bowl, add cake flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

2. In another bowl, cream butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla.

3. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Stir well.

4. Gradually add buttermilk. Use a mixer to blend together until creamy. Add in 2 packages of Birthday Cake M&M’s. Stir gently.

5. Use a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Fill half way.

6. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes. Test with toothpick to see if done.

7. Let cool and decorate with icing, sprinkles, and Birthday Cake M&M’s. (A dab of whipped cream in the center is optional)

Makes about a dozen average size cupcakes.

*If you can’t find “Birthday Cake” M & M’s, regular M & M’s are fine.

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John Contratti and Bryce Pinkham

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If you’re looking for two hours of pure entertainment, then Broadway’s  “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”, may be for you. This years Tony award winning best musical stars Bryce Pinkham. I stopped by backstage to congratulate the talented and very kind actor. Check it out at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Filet Of Sole Hero Topped With Shrimp Tomato Salad

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Ingredients:

4 large slices of filet of sole

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 egg (beaten)

olive oil (for frying)

4 hero breads

1/2 cup sliced red onion

2 tomatoes (cut into small pieces)

16 small shrimp (boiled/cooled)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1. Dip sole into egg and then bread crumbs. Coat well.

2. In a large skillet put about 3 tbsp. of olive oil. Cook sole on both sides for about 3 minutes each. Let drain on paper towel.

3. In a large bowl, put tomatoes, red onions, shrimp, 1 tbsp. olive oil and white balsamic vinegar and sea salt. Mix well.

4. Place filet of sole on hero bread. Top with shrimp tomato salad.  *See photo.

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp.  baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi sweet)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (very small chopped pieces)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, cream  the butter and sugar.
2. Beat egg into the butter and sugar mixture.
3. Next, add almond flour, salt, vanilla and baking soda in with the other ingredients.  Mix well.
4. Add chocolate chips and nuts.  Stir  them into the batter.
5. Roll  dough into 1-inch balls and press them down gently onto a non-stick baking pan
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies rise and the edges have browned. Make sure they don’t burn.

Seared Scallops Over Cheddar Potatoes With Roasted Cauliflower

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. large sea scallops

1 lemon (juiced)

1 lb. potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)

1/4 cup  heavy cream

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated)

1 tsp. sea salt

1 head of cauliflower

olive oil

paprika (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Chop up cauliflower and place on a cooking sheet. Drizzle olive on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and a little paprika.

2. Cook in oven for about 30 minutes, until tender. Leave to the side and keep warm.

3. While cauliflower is cooking, boil potatoes for about 15 minutes (until tender) and drain well.

4. In a bowl mix potatoes with heavy cream, butter, 1 tsp.sea salt and cheddar cheese. Mix until creamy. (Keep warm.)

5. In a large skillet, put 1 tbsp. olive oil. Sear scallops on each side (about 5 minutes in total.) Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt while cooking. During the last minute of cooking, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top.

6. To plate the meal, place a dollop of mashed potatoes. Put scallops on top and roasted cauliflower around it. (See photo.)

Marinated Beef Kabobs

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Ingredients:

3 lb. London broil (cut into small bite size cubes)

4 green bell peppers (cut into small squares)

2 large sweet onions (cut into small square)

Marinade:

1  cup olive oil

1/2 cup soy sauce ( low-sodium)

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 tbsp. fresh garlic (minced)

1/2 cup honey

Directions:

1. In a blender, mix all marinade ingredients.

2. In a large Ziploc bag, put beef and a cup of marinade. Shake bag.  Refrigerate over night.

2. Arrange bamboo sticks with beef, green pepper and onion and repeat once again.

3. Cook on a grill until beef is cooked to your desired taste. Green peppers and onions should be tender.

4. Brush with marinade while cooking.

*Keep left over marinade in the refrigerator for about a week.