From the Kitchen of barb0812

Re-thinking the Cupcake

Mac and Cheese Cupcakes
I am officially obsessed with cupcakes! And, I am not alone.  Cupcake wars, cupcake bloggers, cupcake stores–everyone has the sweet fever–or do they?  I got into cupcakes because I really wanted to improve my cake decorating skills. They are pretty marginal, really, but I love trying out new techniques, particularly if a theme is involved.  I am all about the theme!  So, when my eyes happened upon a picture of macaroni and cheese cupcakes, I almost fell out of my chair.  What happened to the cake?!   Then I heard the answer: where have you been hiding? Behind the mixer?? I am so yesterday, I guess.

I began looking at what foods people are using to create the suggestion of a “cupcake.”  The idea is really fantastic–a perfect little portion.  I am not sure if the cupcake possibilities are endless, but they are certainly becoming more captivating, and the recipes out there now are pretty clever.  Cupcake lasagna, anyone?  How about chicken pot pie cupcakes? As it so happens, I have a mac and cheese recipe that I dearly love. I just needed to figure out a way to take my recipe and transform it into 12 little bites of delight.

Although I only used cheddar in this recipe, I think a cheddar/gouda combo would be better.  Kids will definitely love these cupcakes, but then so will all the guys at the Super Bowl party. These are versatile and fun and easy to make.  If you want to go all carb-crazy on this recipe, consider adding a “frosting” of mashed potatoes to the top of each. Crazy, yes, but crazy good!

Bring about 2 quarts of salted water to a boil.  Add your elbow noodles and cook al dente–about 7 minutes.
Boiling elbow noodles
Meantime, add your butter to a small pot over medium heat and once melted, add your flour and whisk until combined to create your roux.
Whisk in your milk, mustard and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to simmer and continue to whisk for another minute.  Your sauce will look slightly thickened.
Creating a roux for mac and cheese cupcakes
Remove pot from heat and add your cheese.  Stir until all the cheese has melted.  Add any salt and  pepper you would like now to your taste. Allow to cool a couple of minute.

Rinse and drain your cooked noodles.
rinsing elbow noodles
Go back to your sauce pan, take your one egg and beat it in a dish.  While whisking continuously, pour your egg a small amount at a time into your sauce until all the egg has been mixed in.  This is called “tempering”.  If you pour the egg in all at once into the hot cheese sauce, you will end up with a cooked egg in your sauce, and that is no good
tempering egg
Add your noodles to the cheese sauce; gently stir together and set aside. noodles added to cheese sauce
noodles added to cheese sauce
To make your bread crumb mixture, combine bread crumbs, oil and Parmesan cheese in a bowl using your fingers
Making bread crumb mixture for cupcakes
Press about a tsp of bread crumb mixture into each of the silicone cups. Bread crumbs for silicone cups
Bread crumbs for silicone cups
Fill each cup with Mac and Cheese. Filling silicone cups with Mac and Cheese.  Take remainder of bread crumb mixture and sprinkle over top of each cupcake
Filling silicone cups with Mac and Cheese
Bake at 400 degrees for approx 20 min–until bread crumbs are slightly browned.  Allow to cool for 10 min before serving
Bread crumb mixture sprinkled on cupcakes before baking

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of barb0812

Key Lime Dream Pie



Key Lime Pie from fresh key limes

Key Lime Dream Pie

I am lucky to live where key limes are just 200 feet from my door. They are just one of those treasures that you can’t imagine living without once you have them in your life.  I do a lot with key limes but this is one of my favorite uses.

This recipe reminds me of being in Hawaii. I can’t say that about many dishes I have prepared, but this one just has that oh-so-right combo of sweet and fruity tart that you can’t help but imagine the tropics.

Key Limes

Key Limes


Recipe for Key Lime Dream Pie

Photo of ingredients for key lime pie

Preheat Oven: 325 degrees.


• 1- 9” ready-made graham cracker crust pie shell

• 1 cup of fresh-squeezed key lime juice or regular lime juice if key limes are not available

• 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk

• 2 large eggs

• 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt, if you are feeling zesty

• 2-3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

• Zest of one lime


Step 1:

In your mixer or bowl with a hand mixer, add your lime juice, condensed milk and 2 eggs. Mix on medium speed  until well blended.

Mixing ingredients for pie

Step 2:

Pour into your 9” graham crust pie shell and bake for 20 min.

Pouring mixed ingredients into a graham cracker pie shell

Step 3:

Allow to completely cool at room temperature before chilling 2-3 hours.

key lime pie shown out of the oven

Step 4:

Once chilled, combine your sour cream or plain Greek yogurt with the powdered sugar. Spread this mixture over the top of your pie.


Key lime pie finished

finish it with grated zest from 1 lime.

Slice of Key Lime Dream Pie

Chill for about 30 min; cut and enjoy!


Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of heygoodcookin

6 Ways to Create a Fun and Memorable


 Display of snacks for a memorable Superbowl


Super Bowl Sunday is ranked only below Thanksgiving as the eat-all-you-can-with-no-guilt day. In fact, when New Year’s resolutions are created that include curbing the carbs, this day is the one exclusion.

It has always been an eventful game with popcorn or chips and dip and beer, and now has become an excuse to light up the BBQ’s and load up on the potluck dishes. The game is great, the commercials fun, the company delightful, but it’s the food that is always memorable to many.

That’s probably because there are websites dedicated to planning the perfect Super Bowl party, and the menus are amazing. So, what shifted? Super Bowl Sunday became marketing magic as food vendors figured out ways to take a favorite pastime and make it an annual event. The usual snacks turned into fun and clever dishes… the Super Bowl party would never be the same.

So, how can you create the perfect Super Bowl Party? Here are five simple ways to ensure that your event is a blast:

1.     Create a food theme. Consider dishes or snacks that are among favorites in the great city of New Orleans or in the cities connected to the teams playing: Baltimore and San Francisco. Send a recipe to each guest coming to make as their “potluck” dish. Next, rock your party with these awesome margaritas, but take the keys away and hand them to the designated drivers. Police will be out in full force on Feb 3rd!

2.    Create drinking games around a popular word or frequent mention during the Super Bowl. Even if your choice of beverage is a diet pop, it’s still fun to take a swallow every time someone says “personal foul” or “flag on the play.”  With two opposing coaches who happen to be brothers, we may also hear “Harbaugh” A LOT!

3.    Play “pass the buck.” Start with a dollar in a cup and each time there is a play, pass the cup to another guest who then adds another dollar. Continue to do this until a touchdown is made. The last person holding the cup for the touchdown gets all the bucks!

4.     Ask your guests to dress up in the colors that correspond with the team they are rooting for—encourage “creative enthusiasm” such as face paint and temp hair color. Have everyone vote for their favorite “fan.”

5.     Check out your local party store for pom poms and other team souvenirs to be part of the cheering fun for all your guests.

6.     Turn on the popular Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet before the big game and consider making some of these crowd pleasing recipes.

Planning or attending a Super Bowl Party? Share your plans and recipe ideas with us.

Posted By: heygoodcookin

The Hey Good Cookin' Kitchen has become a place of food inspiration and savory discovery to share with our cookin' singles community. We search out new recipes or sometimes just adapt familiar ones to test, taste, photograph and share in the triumphs and mishaps of creating new dishes.

See heygoodcookin's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of oregonwingnut

Sloppy Joe Sliders

Sloppy Joe Sliders with fries

A New Twist on an Old Dish

My mother was an amazing cook. We didn’t have a lot of gourmet meals or fancy finger foods, or feast on anything too unusual or exotic, but everything she made was delicious and satisfying. Today I stopped by for a visit, and there she was, at 79 years old, thumbing through old Better Homes and Garden and Family Circle magazines. My brother joked that she was organizing them by decade, but she quickly corrected him and informed me she was looking for recipes to type up on the computer.

As she ages, I’m noticing a feeling of urgency in me to jot down her recipes before it is too late. Some of them she has written out and shared, and others, some lovingly prepared so many times, are tucked away in her memory.

Growing up with four siblings, we couldn’t afford to go out often, so on our birthdays we got to choose what my mom would make for dinner. I always chose lasagna and strawberry shortcake served with homemade sweet biscuits. To this day, I still have strawberry shortcake on my birthday, not on angel food cake or pound cake; it must be on a big, sweet drop biscuit.

There are times when I’m feeling nostalgic, disconnected or lonely, and I’ll whip up some lasagna or one of her other specialty dishes like bar-b-que chicken, chicken and dumplings or sloppy joes. Whichever one I choose, it’s always the perfect cure and comfort needed to soothe my soul.

In honor of my mother, who taught me to love cooking, I’m sharing a recipe that’s an old dish with a new twist. Her sloppy joe recipe has an unusual ingredient that I’ve never seen in any other recipe; a can of vegetable soup. I’m not sure of the recipe’s origin, but I can imagine her thumbing through a Better Homes and Garden magazine in the 1960s looking for something new to prepare for her young family. I’ve modified it by adding garlic and Worcestershire sauce and giving them a new twist by turning them into sloppy joe sliders.

I hope you enjoy one of my favorite childhood dishes, and that it will inspire you to dust off some old recipes and breathe new life into them. I invite you to share your old dish with a new twist.






From the Kitchen of heygoodcookin

Creating 4 Small Dishes Made Easy

Creating small dishes blog post

Creating Small Dishes

I have discovered the world of cookbooks that are specifically designed with the single person in mind—cooking for one. Many offer cooking tips, ideas for shopping, storing food, etc., but what really has stood out for me as I pondered helpful hints for cooking single, is that everyone, in fact, at one time or another, eats alone. It is something we all have in common. How we all do this is what creates the variance.

If eating a microwaved meal over the kitchen sink or grabbing bites from take out while catching up on the news sounds familiar, you are in good company. The sheer freedom of eating what I wanted and how I wanted was somehow comforting. I am an adventurous eater, so picking any cuisine for dinner, even if it meant ordered out, felt eventful, and I didn’t have to worry about pleasing anyone’s palate but my own. Eventually though, the take out loses its luster and the economy forces us to reconsider how and where we eat.

Of course there are several challenges with cooking for yourself. While not insurmountable, they do require a bit of thought and planning. I hate wasting food; it is probably one of my biggest peeves. It happens, mainly, when I don’t plan out a menu for using what I purchase or properly store what I don’t need for use another time. I am an impulse shopper and can easily get swept into trying this or that just because something looks new and different—thank you Trader Joe’s.

There is total truth to this statement: food shop after a good meal. You tend to stick to your menu that way and only buy what you need. Your debit card will thank you for that one!

Store and freeze anything you can—it really does help! One of my best kitchen gadgets is a food sealer. I love it for freezing—especially homemade guacamole, which I like to bring out for guests as a quick appetizer.

Let’s face it. Cooking from scratch generally means more than 1 pot to wash. There is just no avoiding it. Perhaps this is no big deal if you make a big batch of spaghetti and plan to eat it all week. I am terrible about eating leftovers for any more than lunch the next day, so I try to make my meals for 1 or 2. For that reason, I tend to keep my cooking only kinda-sorta homemade. It helps keep the dishes down, and I tend to wash as I go, so it doesn’t feel like a mountain of work.

Ok, I fudge a bit on that—thank you cupcakes (yes, I did jump into that cupcake craze.)

But, I am able to keep my food costs down, my time reasonable, and my food waste to a minimum. I still eat healthier than a lot of to-go meals; although, I suppose this might be challenged from time to time. So, in the spirit of saving, time, money and dish washing soap, here are some small dishes to try that will provide a meal for 1 or 2. Or, as we like to say in the Hey Good Cookin’ kitchen, for dinner and lunch the next day!

  • Chicken and Rice Bake for One
  • Elegent Pasta Salad
  • Light and Easy Country Frittata
  • Simple Chicken Pot Pie
  • Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Do you have a favorite small dish recipe that will feed yourself and then some? How about some tips for going solo in the kitchen? Please share your feedback and recipes with all of us!


Posted By: heygoodcookin

The Hey Good Cookin' Kitchen has become a place of food inspiration and savory discovery to share with our cookin' singles community. We search out new recipes or sometimes just adapt familiar ones to test, taste, photograph and share in the triumphs and mishaps of creating new dishes.

See heygoodcookin's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of barb0812

The Singles’ Guide to 12 Money-Saving



If you have gotten the bug to try out couponing but find it “too extreme” as a single person, don’t! Not every good couponer needs to spend 30-40 hours a week on couponing, and not all feel the need to buy and store 50 tubes of toothpaste or 100 cans of soup. But, let’s face it, if you can save 30-50% on your grocery bill, wouldn’t you want to do it?

Grocery stores have tightened up their former free-and-loose coupon policies, but there are still great ways to use them and save. After all, grocery stores want your business!  They will always offer incentives to get you in—whether that is through weekly sales, in-store coupons, or special offers.

1.       BUY ON SALE!

The only way coupons work well is to purchase only those items on sale.  An item generally goes on sale about every 4-6 weeks, so when you see an item that you use frequently, stock up! The amount of discount in the weekly ads on your favorite products will vary—learn the regular cost of some of your pricier foods and personal products to note the variances. Of course, the better the sale, the better the savings with your coupon(s).


Sunday newspaper inserts: Red Plum, Smart Source and P&G are going to offer the best value in coupons. Once a month, generally either the last Sunday newspaper or the first Sunday newspaper of every month offers the best bang on coupons—all three inserts and in a greater quantity than other weeks. You want this paper!  Check out the schedule for these coupon distributers.

Note: there are no coupons on a national holiday weekend.

I recommend clipping any of the buy-1 get-1-free coupons and anything that is valued $1 or higher on a single product that you use. The only time I might clip a coupon for a single product under a $1 is if my grocery store doubles coupons.

Check out your grocery store’s coupon policy. If you are considering stocking up on your favorite goods, you can usually use up to 4 of the same coupons per transaction.


I know it sounds like a bit of overkill, but an organizer will be like your best friend and save you time when you are creating a grocery list. I have seen the best price for these sleeves on ebay and even had some coupons included with my sleeves. They come in three sizes—I use them all!  I have mine divided up into sections such as dairy, meat, snacks, deodorants, etc.

I personally clip coupons at night, after dinner, while I am relaxing with a bit of TV. I probably spend a few hours on coupons a week.

If you have your coupons organized, you can quickly pull them for your shopping list. I study my grocery store ads over a weekend morning cup of hot Chai and begin making my list, so that it becomes a routine for me. My grocery stores allow me to create a list right on their website by selecting the sale item. I can also add other items that I need like staples, such as milk.

Managers will mark some “unadvertised” prices or manager specials. This is where your organizer can be handy to have in the market.  A quick look will let you know if you have a coupon.

My grocery store once marked a bunch of my favorite organic granola bars 50% off to move out inventory. I happened to have $1 off 1 box, and  I bought 3 boxes for .50 each!


This was a trial and error of sorts for me. There are strategies for collecting all coupons, but I often either didn’t find the time or didn’t see enough value in it.

The coupons that can make the biggest dent in your grocery bill are those with the greatest value.

  •  Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons:  This is a great coupon because it often has a standard retail value attached. So, for example, say you have a coupon for buy 1 Speed Stick Deodorant and get 1 free.  When this product goes on sale, you have a good chance of getting both these items free if the full retail value is taken at the register, which it often is.
  •   Manufacturer coupons:  These are the coupons you see in the newspaper and online.  I personally clip the $1 or greater off 1 product coupons, then wait for these products to be in the sale ads.

Special notice:  Look to see if your coupon has any restrictions on size or quantity.  If it only states, “good on any ….” You have a great opportunity to grab a travel or trial size and perhaps get the item free or very close to it.

  •  ·In-store coupons:  These coupons are created by the store and can only be used by that store.  Many will allow you to use these in combination with manufacturer coupons, which makes for a great savings to you.
  •    Catalinas:  These are those coupons that are issued with your receipt and usually a discount toward an item that you have purchased at some point in the store. Check them over before you decide to toss.  Sometimes they offer instant cash toward your next in-store purchase; other times they might be a discount toward 1 product item. Look along the top to see how it is identified.  Some of them I toss but others are considerably helpful.


If you have an opportunity to purchase an item using coupons that you don’t need or use but it = free, buy it. Someone can always use these items, whether that be a charity or friend strapped for cash. In some cases, you may even get paid to shop.

Once I managed to purchase two Revlon tools fulfilling my coupon requirement and had cash left over that I got to apply toward another product.

That brings me to the next tip…


It really does pay off…buying the smallest quantity means paying a smaller price that

a.)    is on sale


b.) discounted further with coupons.

Coupons will vary on their value and purchase requirements. For example, one week I might clip a $1 coupon for my Crest Pro Health Rinse requiring a 16 oz. or greater purchase requirement.  While a month or so later, I might see a $2 coupon with the same purchase requirements. The longer you collect coupons, the more familiar you become with these coupon patterns.


I am a vegetarian and like to buy organic foods. Fortunately, my grocery store carries more of the organic brands I like, but I don’t often see coupons for in the paper. So, I made a list of all my favorite foods and began emailing the companies with a complement and a request for coupons. I don’t think I encountered one company that didn’t not only thank me for the complement, but also mail me some great coupons. is a great place to check for organic coupons and another good online site is You can only print a current coupon online twice, so if you see a coupon you really want, find another computer or ask someone to print for you.


This is probably the toughest for me personally. I always want to pick up something that looks good—probably because I am hungry when I go shopping. However, I have gotten better at sticking to my list UNLESS I see a great deal and just can’t pass it up.


This is one of the greatest ways to save money! What it means is combining an in-store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon for 1 item. Some grocery stores offer coupons on their website as well in their paper sale ads. Target is a great place to find these. Just Google “Target Coupons” and start browsing. They change their coupons about every 4 weeks, so I check regularly. I have gotten some great deals—especially with items that are on clearance or manager’s special.


I did this all the time–waited to buy what I needed when I needed it and paid full price.

Without going crazy nuts like the folks on Extreme Couponing, just consider the extra time and minimal storage for some of your pricier hair and face products when the deals present themselves that could save you big $$.

Razor blades are VERY pricey and I occasionally see GREAT coupons for these items. I clip, then wait until I see my brand on sale and take my two or three coupons and buy. Yes, it’s a bit of extra storage, but those $5 razor blade coupons only come around every few months, so I take advantage of using them when I see them.


Watch the register screen as your items are being scanned.

Watch very closely…

Stop the clerk if you don’t believe an item rang up correctly and check it out. I cannot tell you how many times I have grabbed an item I thought was the one on sale only to learn what I had was incorrectly stocked. Or worse, if the store register does not pick up the sale price for an item and you get charged the regular price.  Better to catch these errors while still in the checkout line rather than discovering the error when you check over your receipt later at home.

I also have found that many store clerks have missed scanning a coupon if I hand them over all at once.  So, I have found it to work in my favor to hand over the coupons one at a time so I can see that each is properly scanned.


 My favorite is A FULL CUP because I learned some great tips from these couponers. I took their suggestions and advice and found a middle ground. There are lots of great coupon websites out there if you want to learn more than beyond these tips. Happy Couponing!!




Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of heygoodcookin

5 Easy and Tasty Appetizers



If you haven’t considered making an appetizer or are just looking for something new to try, why not consider one of these recipes?

With the holidays coming, it’s always great to have some ideas for those parties that you don’t want to show up for empty-handed. It’s even better when those recipes are easy to prepare, easy to transport and easy to set up on the food table for all to enjoy.

Here are 5 tried-and-true crowd pleasers that can be prepared ahead of time and require little prepping to serve. As explained in So, you’re not Betty Crocker, it is relatively easy to modify any of these recipes for a large or small gathering.


1. Mini Quiche

2. Goat cheese and pistachio grapes

3. Brie Bites with Cranberry relish

4. Sweet and Sour Meatballs

5. Single Serving Spinach Dip bread bowls


Posted By: heygoodcookin

The Hey Good Cookin' Kitchen has become a place of food inspiration and savory discovery to share with our cookin' singles community. We search out new recipes or sometimes just adapt familiar ones to test, taste, photograph and share in the triumphs and mishaps of creating new dishes.

See heygoodcookin's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of barb0812

Friday Night Margaritas


margaritas on friday nights with recipe

So, Friday nights in my house are also known as “Margarita Fridays.” And I am not talking about Cuervo and some Margaritaville mix in a blender with ice: this is the real deal! The Margarita does not get better than this recipe, and I say this with all of my 50% Latina expertise!

How did this all come about, you ask? Well, I got this great book on Margarita recipes years ago and had to try one on a Friday after a long week of work. Then we discovered we had a key lime (Mexican lime) tree in the orchard, which made for one heck of a good recipe. Yup, I was hooked! I was also a novice, so initially my Margaritas were, let’s just say, a bit on the strong side. My Margaritas got a reputation among co-workers and beyond, and the motto became “What doesn’t knock you on your butt makes you stronger for round 2.”

This recipe has since been toned down, but can be easily modified to suit your taste. We have made these with regular limes, and although they don’t quite have that key lime sweet/tart taste, they are excellent nonetheless. BTW, go shaken, folks; there is just no other way to do it!

Items  you will need:
  • 1 glass
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 metal shaker
  • 1-2 ounces of a good tequila (we like Cazadores)
  • 1 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice (key limes or whatever is available to you)
  • 1 ounce of Tuaca
  • 1 ½ ounces of Triple Sec
  • 1 splash of Grand Marnier
  • Garnish and small plate with a bit of salt

In your shaker, add the ingredients as listed above in order minus the Grand Marnier.  Add ½ your ice cubes and shake for 10 sec.  Dip the rim of your glass in some lime juice and then in your plate of salt.  Add remainder of ice and shaker contents to your glass.  Add a splash of Grand Marnier, garnish and enjoy!

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts