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Pasta salad and sweet potato cupcake recipes

Since this is the Tuesday before the holidays, Kev decided to do something naughty, something nice (meaning good for you) and a lil’ something to wash it down.


Sweet Potato Cupcake


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree 
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz. cream cheese 
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • In a bowl fitted for a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together until fluffy, for about 3-4 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add sweet potato puree and beat until fluffy again, about 1-2 minutes.
  • In another medium bowl, add flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk together. Add half of flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in milk. Mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour and mix just until combined. 
  • Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin liner. They should be about 3/4 full. Place cupcakes in preheat oven and immediately reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  • Remove cupcakes pan from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let them finish cooling. Do not frost cupcakes until they cool completely. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Add butter and cream cheese to a bowl fitted for a stand mixer. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and continue to beat for another 2 minutes, until fluffy and smooth.
  • Use an ice cream scoop and dollop frosting on cooled cupcakes. I’m dipping cupcake with frosting in sprinkles for holiday decoration. Serve immediately or store in covered storage container for a couple days.

Christmas-Layered Pasta Salad


  • 3 cups elbow pasta
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 
  • 6 bacon strips, chopped and cooked 
  • 1/2 red cabbage, chopped 
  • 3 cups corn kernels
  • 1-2 heads of lettuce, shredded (I’m using butter lettuce) 
  • 2 tomatoes, diced 
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 3/4 cup white cheddar, Parmesan, or cheese of choice, shredded 
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced 

Creamy Mustard Dressing

  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped 
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
  • 1 Tbsp. wholegrain mustard


  • Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water following packet directions. Drain. Refresh under cold water. Drain well. 
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel. 
  • Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Place cabbage over the base of a large glass serving bowl. Top with corn, then half of the pasta. Spoon over 3/4 of the dressing. Arrange lettuce over dressing layer. Toss tomato, cucumber and remaining pasta together. Spoon over lettuce. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with bacon, cheese and green onion. Season with pepper. Serve.

The Grinch


  • 1 ½ ounces midori liqueur
  • 1 ounce clear rum 
  • 5 ounces lemon lime soda
  • 1 maraschino cherry


  • Fill a lowball glass with ice. Add midori liqueur and rum. Top with lemon lime soda and stir gently to combine.
  • Top with a maraschino cherry and enjoy.

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