Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monthly Menu-January 2010

Wow, I can't believe it's already 2010! I'm so excited to start sharing some new things on my blog; like my monthly menu. I just started planning my meals by month a little while back and it has totally saved me time and energy. I only have to set aside time once a month to get my menu and main grocery list together so I don't have to wonder on a daily or even weekly basis, "what's for dinner?" I always know what I'm cooking or what's on my grocery list. I do my major shopping at the beginning of the month, then I make (ideally) once weekly trips for the fresh stuff.

For January's menu, I've decided to revisit some recipes I've made that our family has really enjoyed, as well as incorporate some new recipes. I tried to find things that are very flavorful as well as healthful. Although I've made many of these recipes, I haven't posted about any of them! So, I'll be posting as I make them.

Dinner Menu
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Cashew Chicken w/ rice & broccoli
Italian Meatloaf w/ oven fries & green beans
Cider Roasted Chicken w/ Hamilton's Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Lentil Soup (Sunday Soup)
Orange Beef w/ rice & broccoli
Shrimp Scampi w/ linguini & peas
BBQ Smoked Cheddar Mac n' Cheese & Coleslaw

Chicken, Barley & Mushroom Soup w/ garlic knots (Sunday Soup)
Sliced Steak w/ Poblano Gravy, Chipotle Sweet Potatoes & Green Beans
Jerk Chicken w/ Island Rice & Broccoli
Ham Fried Rice

Baked Potato Soup (Sunday Soup)
Lemon Chicken w/ Roasted Red Pepper Hummus & pitas, & peas
Polenta Parmesan w/ Orange Edamame Salad

Other Goodies
Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Peanut Butter Icing
Apple Dippin' Peanut Butter Cookies
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
Strawberry Yogurt Scones

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cranberry Chicken

This is one of the first recipes I ever collected and have made it on and off over the years. After making it again the other night I had forgotten how good it tasted! It had great flavor and couldn't be easier to make.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 bottle fat-free catalina salad dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chicken in a 9x13 baking dish. Mix cranberry sauce, onion soup mix and catalina dressing and pour over chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes. Serve with hot cooked rice.

NOTES:This makes a lot of sauce, so I usually make it into 2 meals. I use half of the sauce and 3 chicken breasts. I cut the chicken breasts in half so they are more like chicken tenders; 6 pieces total. The rest of the sauce I popped in a ziptop bag and put it in the freezer.

When you're ready to make it again, take your chicken out of the freezer and only partially thaw it then cut it in half, if you wish. Then you can just pretty much squeeze the rest of the sauce, that you froze, over it right from the freezer since it never fully hardens when frozen. Cover and bake in 350 oven but cook a little longer.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Makes 12-15 muffins

NOTES:You can feel good about sinking your teeth into these for breakfast. They're healthful, not too sweet and have great flavor. I used a #20/large scoop to fill each cup, which yielded 17 muffins. I found they were a little small though, so I'll probably either use a #12 scoop next time or fill them closer to 3/4 full to yield about 12-13 muffins.

Total calories=1838, per muffin(1/17)=102

SOURCE:Adapted from Joy the Baker

Homemade White Bread

10 1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp salt
2 1/2 rounded Tbsp saf-instant yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp liquid lecithin*
4 cups hot tap water

In mixer add flour, salt, yeast and powdered milk. Pulse until just combined. Add sugar, lecithin, and water. Mix for about 20-30 seconds and check consistency. If dough is too dry, add more water. It should look a little sticky, this will yield a lighter loaf. Mix for 3 minutes in mixer. DO NOT ADD WATER OR FLOUR TO THE DOUGH AFTER IT HAS FINISHED MIXING, it will not be able to form the gluten like the rest of the dough.

Spray counter, pans and your hands with cooking spray. Pour out dough onto sprayed counter. Separate the dough into 4 equal balls of dough. Roll each dough ball into a log the length of your bread pan. "Spank" it to get the air bubbles out and roll it again just enough to make it look smooth on the outside. Place in loaf pan and let raise. It's ok if it doesn't touch all sides of the pan when you first put it in the pan, as it raises it will fill the pan. Cover with a dish towel. Let raise 25 minutes or until dough has raised to the top of the loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Makes 4 loaves
(4x8" loaf pans).

*Do not try to measure lecithin, it is too sticky and messy. Instead, squeeze or pour approximately 3 Tbsp. (size of a quarter) of lecithin directly into the bowl. Our local Macey's grocery store carries lecithin but you can also find it at Kitchen Kneads, The Bosch Store and places like that.

NOTES: I went to a bread making class with my mom and it was the best thing I ever did to learn how to make bread.

I only make white bread when I'm making pizza, so I only make half a batch at a time. I use half the dough for the pizza and the other half I make into a loaf.

If you want to make whole wheat bread, click here

Calories per slice (1/16)=78

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hershey's Candy Cane Kiss Brownie Bites

For the brownie:
1 brownie mix 9×13 inch size
Candy Cane Hershey Kisses, unwrapped, about 36

For the ganache:
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 original candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare mini muffin tin(s) by generously spraying with cooking spray, both inside the cups and over the top. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions.

Spoon batter into tins, filling about half way. Press kisses into center of brownie batter, pushing them in only about a quarter to a third of the way down; do not push all the way to bottom, some of the tip should stick out the top. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until brownies are cooked through.

As they bake the kisses will sink down a little...

and the brownie will start to envelop them...

until they are completely covered. Notice how the brownie bites didn't spill over even though they came over the top. If you do not spray the tops as well as the insides, the brownie will spill over, stick to to the top and make it virtually impossible to remove the bites intact.

Let brownie bites cool COMPLETELY in the tins, they are difficult to get out otherwise. Once cool, gently run a thin knife around them and ease them out onto a cooling rack.

Put candy canes in plastic baggie and gently crush, making sure not to make them into a powder.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth and melted. Stir in cream until silky smooth. If needed, microwave 10 seconds more. Dip tops of brownies into melted chocolate, then sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

NOTES:These can be kind of tricky, but if you are careful to completely spray the tins and cool the brownies before taking them out they should be ok. The flavor is wonderful. The Hershey's Kisses are amazing!

SOURCE:Adapted from Picky Palate

VARIATION: Raspberry Kiss Brownie Hearts

Use the following substitutions with the recipe above:
*use Hershey's Raspberry Hugs in place of the Candy Cane kisses
*use a pan with heart-shaped cavities (the pan I used had 6 cavities and could hold about as much or a little more than a standard muffin tin cavity)
*only fill cavities about 2/3 to 3/4 full; you won't need to spray the top of the tin, it shouldn't spill over.
*Bake about 18-20 minutes
*Makes 9 heart-shaped brownies

Linked to...
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Romano-Black Pepper Biscotti

1 1/2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns or peppercorn blend
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into half inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Pulse peppercorns in grinder until coarsely ground. In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper. Pulse in the butter with a food processor or, if you’re using a bowl with a pastry blender or your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into thirds. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log, about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high (or to the size you want). Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.

Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper. Bake until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Transfer a log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

Makes about 16 slices of biscotti

SOURCE:elly says opa!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese it pretty much the best comfort food there ever was.  I don't know what it is about it that just makes you feel like you're back home sitting on your momma's lap.

While this version certainly isn't the most indulgent it's still plenty rich and creamy, nice and cheesy.  It's a great basic recipe that is simple and quick to make.  Macaroni and cheese is very versatile in that you can use different cheese, different milk, throw in some veggies or even bake it topped with breadcrumbs after it's cooked.  However, if you're new to homemade macaroni, stick with the original for a while.  I highly recommend you use good quality, full-fat milk and cheese and make sure it's sharp!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
3-5 servings

1 1/2 cups macaroni or other small pasta
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp (heaping) dry mustard, more if desired (or a squirt of dijon mustard will do in a pinch)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, Grated
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt, more to taste
dash salt and ground black pepper

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

In the mean time, in a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for about a minute, whisking occasionally. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for 2-3 minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Don't under-salt.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Serve immediately.

Pioneer Woman

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Egg Nog Cupcakes

Are you an egg nog lover? Do you need a yummy holiday treat? Then look no further, I've got the perfect thing for you right here! These egg nog cupcakes are so dreamy and stuffed full of delcious egg nog from the batter to the frosting. I shared these at family gatherings of both my family and my husband's family and everyone loved them. Take these to your next party and you'll definitely get asked to bring dessert again!

Egg Nog Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 tsp. rum extract
1 1/4 cup low-fat eggnog
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

For the frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp. low-fat eggnog
1-2 tsp. rum extract
generous pinch of nutmeg
2 (or more) cups powdered sugar

ground cinnamon
cinnamon sticks, cut in halves or thirds

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 17 paper liners. In a small bowl, mix together the rum extract, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, mix together the nutmeg, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

Fill muffin cups half full; a #20/large scoop was the perfect amount. DO NOT OVER-FILL. If you have extra batter, line additional muffin tin with cups and fill.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter, eggnog, rum extract, nutmeg and powdered sugar. Add in more sugar if needed to make the frosting stiff, but spreadable. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Garnish by sprinkling cinnamon on top poking in a cut piece of a cinnamon stick.

Makes 14-17 cupcakes

SOURCE:Adapted from Annie's Eats

Linked to ...
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking
Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms

Chocoholic Mint Truffle Kissed Biscotti

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
10-oz. bag Hershey's Mint Truffle Kisses, unwrapped and halved

1 cup white chocolate chips
Sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined, scraping sided to incorporate all ingredients. Place flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add to wet ingredients following with the chocolate chips and kisses. Mix on low until just combined.

Divide the dough into two equal halves and form into two 10-inch logs on the prepared baking sheets, at least 4 inches apart. The logs should be about 10 inches long by 4 inches wide (they will spread during baking), and about 1 1/2 – 2 inches deep. Bake for about 30 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a long serrated knife slice each log into 3/4-inch to 1-inch pieces on the diagonal. Separate on the baking sheet so that the sides are not touching. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Melt chocolate over a double broiler or carefully melt in microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth and melted. Dip tips or drizzle chocolate over entire surface of biscotti and then add sprinkles, if desired. Let chocolate harden on wax paper then enjoy with your favorite cup of hot chocolate!!

Approximately 16 slices of biscotti

SOURCE:Picky Palate

Gingerbread Biscotti

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 bag Hershey’s cinnamon chips
1/4 cup molasses
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate, for dipping

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and cinnamon chips in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed just to combine. In a small bowl, combine eggs with molasses and stir well. With the mixer on low speed, pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Dough will be slightly crumbly.

Divide the dough into two equal halves and form into two 10-inch logs on the prepared baking sheets. The logs should be about 10 inches long by 4 inches wide (they will spread during baking), and about 1 1/2 – 2 inches deep. Bake for about 30 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a long serrated knife slice each log into 3/4-inch to 1-inch pieces on the diagonal. Separate on the baking sheet so that the sides are not touching. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a double boiler and melt until smooth. Dip half of each biscotti into the chocolate, shake gently to remove excess, and place on wax paper to set.

SOURCE:Annie's Eats

Monday, December 14, 2009

Every Day Chicken Cordon Bleu

I love chicken cordon bleu and before I had kids I used to make it often. Now that I have 2 little ones to chase around I try to simplify things as much as possible and make easier meals. We don't eat a lot of casseroles, but I really love this one. It has all the flavor of traditional chicken cordon bleu but a lot more ease.

for the chicken:
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 onion, quartered
8 peppercorns
1/2 tsp. salt
2 small chicken breast halves

for the sauce:
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 - 2 cups skim milk
1 cup low-fat Swiss cheese, shredded

1 pkg. Chicken flavored Stove Top stuffing
1 cup cooked ham, cubed
1/3 - 1/2 cup low-fat Swiss cheese, shredded

Place the water and the rest of the ingredients for the chicken in a large pot on the stove. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes. Drain chicken and let cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

Near the end of cooking time for the chicken, preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare stuffing according to package directions and set aside.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a medium sauce pot. Add the flour and whisk together. Let bubble for about a minute. Add the milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken. Take off heat and add 1 cup cheese.

Add chicken and ham to cheese sauce and toss to coat. Pour into an 8 1/2 x 11 inch rectangular baking pan. Spread stuffing on top and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup of shredded. Bake in oven, uncovered for about 15 minutes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I got this recipe from my sister. This is great for crowds and very easy to make. My sister also simmers hers in a crock pot, which makes it portable for any potluck or family party. It's also a kid-pleaser. The meatballs are very soft, so I just mash them up with the rice and they eat it great. Since you only use 1/3 cup of tomato sauce in the meatballs, I just use the rest of the can as part of the ketchup and then add enough ketchup to make 1 1/2 cups.

for the meatballs:
½ lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
½ t pepper
½ t garlic powder
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
½ cup chopped onion
2 eggs
1 T flour
1/3 cup tomato sauce
3/4 t salt
3/4 t soy sauce

Place meat and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix together and form 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a baking dish and bake at 350°F for 40 minutes.

for the sauce:

2 cups pineapple juice
1/3 cup water
1 ½ cups ketchup
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 t soy sauce

Bring to a boil. Thicken sauce with about 1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with just enough water. Then add 9 oz pineapple tidbits.

Simmer meatballs in sauce for 20-30 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Orange Cranberry Biscotti with White Chocolate Chips and Orange Glaze

These are my new go-to holiday treat, they are wonderful! I seriously could not stop eating these biscotti. I absolutely loved them and was so exited when I finally got to make them. They are perfect for treat bags or goodie trays because they keep well.

Orange Cranberry Biscotti w/ White Chocolate Chips and Orange Glaze
for the biscotti:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. orange zest
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

for the glaze:
3-4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl; stir together with a fork and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries with a rubber spatula.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one portion of dough, shape into a 12" x 3" log on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough so that the logs are laying parallel and spaced apart on the baking sheet. Bake until the logs are golden brown, 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 25 minutes, maintaining the oven temperature in the meantime.

Carefully transfer the logs to a work surface and remove the parchment paper from the pan (if you are using it). Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into ½-inch slices on the diagonal. Lie the slices on one of their cut sides back on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake for 12 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool almost completely. Drizzle glaze over each biscotto, spreading it if desired, then finish cooling completely. Store in an airtight container.

SOURCE:Adapted from Annie's Eats.

Linked to...
Recipe Swap Thursady @ Prairie Story
Potluck Sunday @ Mommy's Kitchen
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking
Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie

This pot pie was FABULOUS! There was hardly any left after dinner. This is my new favorite comfort food. Recipe update 3/2/10:The first time I made this, it was right after Thanksgiving and I used leftover turkey. Today I made it again with leftover chicken I previously roasted. Instead of doing one pie, I used ramekins and made individual pies. I made 4 ramekins, which used about 1/2 - 2/3 of the filling and about 1 pie crust. We enjoyed it as much this time as we did the first!

1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 cups leftover chicken or turkey, light and dark, diced or shredded
1/4 cup flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
splash of white wine (optional)
1 cup milk
Frozen peas (eyeball it-to your liking)
Frozen corn (eyeball it-to your liking)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet or dutch oven. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until translucent; 4-5 minutes. Add chicken/turkey and stir. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour in broth, stirring constantly. Splash in wine, if desired. Pour in milk. Add frozen peas and carrots.

Bring to a slow boil and allow mixture to cook and thicken for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not under season), and poultry seasoning, to taste. Do one final taste at the end and season as necessary.

Pour mixture into a casserole dish or deep pie pan. Roll out crust so that it’s about 1 inch larger than the pan you’re using. Place the crust on top of the pot pie mixture, and press crust into the sides of the dish. Cut vents in the top of the crust.

Bake for 30 minutes or until very golden and bubbly. Allow to cool for a little bit before serving.

SOURCE:Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Linked to...
Mom's Crazy Cooking

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Scones

Breakfasts are so fun for me. You can eat anything from eggs and toast to hot cereal, pancakes, muffins, granola and scones. Really the possibilities are endless and I'm always trying new things. Breakfast is never the same for us. These pumpkin scones are perfect for this time of year. They are great for a holiday gift basket or on Thanksgiving morning for a light breakfast. Even if you want to make them the day after, you can use up some of your leftover pumpkin. The white chips make these scones extra special.

Pumpkin Scones
2 cups flour, white or whole wheat
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk or cream

Preheat the oven to 375° and place a rack in the middle of the oven.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped white chocolate. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla, and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round. Cut the circle into 8 equal triangles. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 8 scones.

SOURCE:Adapted from Annie's Eats

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chewey Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies

Growing up Sundays were always family days. We went to church, came home, rested, and had Sunday dinner together. Usually in the evening either my mom and I or my sister and I would make cookies or brownies. The tradition kind of stuck and I still love to make a sweet treat on Sunday evenings. These blondies remind me of both brownies, but blonde, and chocolate chip cookies; a two for one! Since we have a small family, this was the perfect size batch for us.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

For drizzle and garnish: (optional)
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 tsp. butter or shortening
Sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-X-8-inch square baking dish. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt; set aside. In another mixing bowl combine the melted butter and brown sugar and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and mix until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and coconut extracts until well blended. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until they have been incorporated.

Add the shredded coconut and chocolate chips to the bowl, and fold in with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until set in the center but still soft. Do not over bake. Let the bars cool slightly before drizzling.

(optional) To make the drizzle, combine the chocolate chunks and butter or shortening in a small, heatproof bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted and smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a plastic bag with a very tiny piece of the corner cut off and drizzle over the bars. Sprinkle with additional shredded coconut before the chocolate sets, if desired. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

SOURCE:Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread with Crystalized Ginger

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. yogurt (plain or vanilla)
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries (fresh or frozen are fine too)
1/4 cup crystalized ginger, chopped finely

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars together. Add yogurt, eggs and pumpkin and mix until just combined. Mix dry ingredients together and add alternately with the milk. Mix until just combined. Toss the cranberries in a little flour so they don't sink to the bottom of the pan while baking. Fold the cranberries and ginger into the batter. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake for 1 hr. 15 minutes, rotating in oven about halfway through. Once the timer reaches 1 hour, watch your bread closely as each oven is different and bread may be done sooner or later. Bread is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

NOTES:This bread is so good warm, perfect for a fall breakfast with some cider or hot cocoa. If you don't have crystalized ginger on hand or can't find it (I found mine at my local Good Earth & not too expensive), you can substitute 3 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger. However, I think the crystalized ginger in this recipe is what makes it that much better!

*For a variation, replace the milk with orange juice in the batterand and glaze with orange spice glaze once out of the oven: 1/2 cup powdered sugar, dash cinnamon & nutmeg & 2-3 Tbsp. orange juice

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 cup cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground allspice

Mix together and store in airtight container.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plain or vanilla fat free yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
pinch allspice
1/8-1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups oats
1 bag (1 3/4 cups) butterscotch chips

Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, scraping the sides down as needed. Add yogurt, eggs and vanilla and pumpkin and mix to incorporate. Add dry ingredients through salt and mix to combine. Add the oats and mix then fold in the butterscotch chips.

Bake 375 for 8-10 minutes.

NOTES:I kind of combined a few recipes together to get this one and made it mine. These are delish! They might be one of my new favorites. They are great for fall baking and the best warm right out of the oven. You can also substitute craisins for the butterscotch chips.

Chicken and Garlic-Herb Potato Shepherd’s Pie

2 large (or 3 medium) Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
1 pound chicken breast, cut into half-inch dice
Black pepper
1 cup shredded carrots, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock (or 1 can)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2-3 tbsp. of soft garlic and herb cheese, or garlic and herb cream cheese
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (a handful) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup milk or chicken stock, enough to loosen up the potatoes

Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with about 1 tablespoon of EVOO. Add the chicken, season it with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 6-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan to a casserole dish, add a drizzle of EVOO to the pan, then add the carrots, peas, and scallions. Season the veggies with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.

Scoot the vegetables over to one side and melt in the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Whisk 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, cook 1 minute, then whisk in the remaining chicken stock and cook for 1 minute to thicken. Season the sauce with mustard then salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the chicken in the casserole and combine.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot, then mash with the herb cheese, egg yolks, parsley, milk or chicken stock, salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes over the chicken in the casserole dish.

Put in 500 F oven for about 3-5 minutes then turn on the broiler for another 3-5 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

NOTES:You just can't go wrong with Rachael Ray. This recipe is modified from her original recipe aired on her show. A really great take on the same old beef, beans and potato pie.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound chicken sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup white cooking wine (or chicken stock)
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
3/4 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

NOTES:Another keeper from Rachael Ray with a couple of minor changes. This was delish, even my 2 1/2 year old kept telling me how yummy it was. If you don't want to make the chicken sausage, the original recipe called for 1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage. I also like enough sauce to cover my pasta so I reduced it to 3/4 lb. This made a lot of pasta for our little family. I will probably halve the recipe the next time I make it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Buttermilk Syrup

Bring to a boil:
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter

Remove from heat and add:
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir until incorporated.

NOTES:This recipe is a favorite from Ben's Aunt Connie who was an amazing cook. This is the best syrup I've ever tasted!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Caramel Apple Butter Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
20 caramels, unwrapped
3/4 cup apple butter*
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
3 eggs

Caramel Sauce:
3o caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup half-and-half

*(If you don't have apple butter, don't go out and buy it, it's about as easy as applesauce to make. Try this apple butter.

Heat oven 10 300 F. Wrap outside of 9 or 10-inch springform pan in heavy-duty foil. In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of ungreased pan.
In microwaveable bowl, microwave 20 caramels and 1/2 cup of the apple butter uncovered on high 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup apple butter; set aside to cool.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and flour with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. On low speed, beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reserve 1/2 cup batter. Fold caramel mixture into remaining batter without mixing it in completely, leaving a few streaks. Pour over crust. Drop spoonfuls of reserved batter over the top. Cut though batter several times with knife for marbled design.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until center looks almost set when pan is jiggled. Without releasing side of pan, run metal spatula carefully around cheesecake to loosen. Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes, then remove from oven; cool completely at room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Run metal spatula around cheesecake to loosen again. Remove side of pan; leave cheesecake on bottom of pan to serve.

In 1-quart saucepan, heat 30 caramels and the half-and-half over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are completely melted. Serve warm or cool over slices of cheesecake.

NOTES: I'm not much of a baked cheesecake kind of gal but I made this for a family party and everyone asked me to post the recipe. I did like the caramel sacue together with the applebutter flavor of the cheesecake. Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker.

Apple Butter

4 lbs of good *cooking apples
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water or apple cider
brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Peel, quarter and core apples (if you have an apple-peeler-corer, about $25, this is very quick and easy; if not, it's not too bad). In a large stock pot cook apples with cider (or water) and vinegar until soft. Puree by either using a hand immersion blender or a blender/food processor; you may have to do it in batches in a blender. Return puree to pot and add about 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, nutmeg, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust sugar and seasonings if necessary.

Cook uncovered on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth; about 1 to 2 hours. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)

*Apples good for cooking are golden delicious, jonathan, rome beauty, jonagold and gala.

This makes a little over 3 pints. If you plan to can the apple butter, ladle hot butter into hot jars and process in hot water canner 10 minutes.

You can also freeze or store in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Classic Barbecue Sauce

2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
4 cups yellow onion, chopped
9 cloves garlic, minced
6 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2-3 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 quart jar (4 cups) tomatoes, roughly chopped or pulsed slightly in food processor
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2-3 tsp. black pepper

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Mix in 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt, the chili powder, coriander and cumin. Stir in the honey, molasses and brown sugar. Mix well and boil for about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer on medium-low heat for 2-3 hours until the sauce has thickened and darkened. It should be the consistency of ketchup.

Stir in the white vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste (up to about 1 tablespoon of each). Use a hand blender and puree mixture until smooth. If you don't have a hand blender, add the mixture to a blender or food processor in batches and puree.

Prepare jars and 2 piece lids for canning and heat water to boiling in a canner. Ladle hot liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Place lids on and process for 20 minutes for either half pints or pints. YIELD: 6 pints.

You may also store sauce in airtight containers in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

NOTES: Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats.

Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

For the dough:
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 cloves garlic
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces*(see notes)
4-5 tbsp. ice cold water

For the filling:
8 oz. mozzarella, sliced (fresh or regular)
Ripe roma tomatoes, sliced from top to bottom (to make circles)
2-3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp. minced fresh basil

To make the dough, combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely minced. Add the flour and salt; pulse briefly to combine. Add in the chunks of butter and pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of the water and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add 1 more tablespoon and process for several seconds to see if the dough forms a ball. If not, add the remaining tablespoon of water and process until a ball of dough forms. Remove the dough, flatten into a 5-inch disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 425° F. Lay out 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Transfer the chilled dough to onto the plastic wrap and lay another 2 sheets on top of it. Roll it out into a 12-inch circle. Remove top sheets and lay the dough over a 9-inch round tart pan (plastic wrap side up) and press it into the sides. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Trim the excess dough as needed. (I use this to reinforce the edges.) Lay a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper loosely over the tart dough and fill the center with baking beads. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil or parchment and baking beads. Return the empty tart shell to the oven to bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 375° F.

Layer the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell with the sliced mozzarella. Arrange the roma tomato circles on top of the cheese in a single even layer. Sprinkle with toasted pine nute. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and minced fresh basil.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in places. About halfway through baking, rotate the tart 180° and wick off any excess moisture that has collected on top with a towel if necessary. Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

NOTES:Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had everything and immediately made it for lunch that day. She never fails, it was delish! However, I did feel that the crust had WAY too much butter in it. So, I went to my trusty old Cooking Light books and found several other tart shell recipes that only had a tablespoon or 2 of butter/oil. The next time I make it I will only use 2 tbsp butter.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dried Cinnamon Apples

2 cups pineapple juice
8 oz. red hot candy

Heat to dissolve candy. Peel, slice and core apples and let them sit in the juice for a few minutes. Spray dehydrator racks with cooking spray. Drain apple slices and put them on the racks. Dry 10-12 hours. Store in airtight containers in a cool place.

NOTES:This recipe is from my aunt Sheila. YUM!

Butternut Squash Cake

6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups buttermilk
2 cups shredded peeled butternut squash (1 small)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 package, 3 ounces, cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. maple flavor
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom of 13x9 with cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat 3/4 cup butter and the granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in yogurt and eggs until fluffy. Beat in baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour alternately with buttermilk, scraping side of bowl. Beat 1 minute. Stir in squash and 1/2 cup walnuts. Spread in pan.
Bake 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
In medium bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. milk and the maple flavor. Beat until smooth and creamy, adding additional milk if needed. Frost cake. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup walnuts. Cover and refrigerate.

NOTES:Hello fall! This is a great fall recipe. We had over 2 dozen butternut squash from one plant this year so I needed something creative to do with some of it. We loved it. I lightened it a bit from a Betty Crocker fall baking booklet I bought.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Before I started blogging, or even knew about blogging, I loved to collect those little Pillsbury and Betty Crocker cookbooks that you get at the checkout stand. I have a ton of them. This recipe comes from a Betty Crocker one with lots of fall baking recipes. I love anything dark chocolate and it usually pairs well with almost any fruit.

We had lots of cherries this year from our tree and I ended up dehydrating a bunch of them so they wouldn't go to waste, but I didn't really know what I was going to do with them. This ended up being the perfect to use some of them up.

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries

Heat oven to 350. In stand mixer, fitted with a beater attachment beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add milk, almond extract and egg, mixing to incorporate. Add in flour, cocoa, soda and salt and mix well. Switch to a paddle attachment and add in oats, chocolate chips and cherries, mixing well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Linked to...
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Barbecue Chicken Bacon Pizza with Caramalized Onions

Mmm, this is one of our favorite pizzas. If you're looking to change up pizza night at your house, try this! Here's a hint: get the bread going first, then while it's rising, caramelize the onion, crisp the bacon and cook the chicken. This is a quick weeknight meal or something fun for the weekend.

Makes 1 Pizza

1 recipe Perfect Pizza Crust
your favorite barbecue sauce (I used hickory flavored Bullseye)
1/2 chicken breast
1/2 lb. bacon
1/2 medium onion
mozzarella cheese

Peel onion and cut into thin slices. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, add onion, separating rings, then reduce heat to medium and cook until golden. Place bacon on cooking sheet and bake at 400 for about 12-15 minutes. While bacon is cooking, preheat barbecue grill; cut chicken breast into 3 tenders and coat with barbecue sauce. Grill 3-4 mintues on each side. Let rest and cut into tiny pieces. Remove bacon from oven and blot on paper towels. Crumble or cut into small pieces.

Make bread dough according to recipe. After is rises, roll out dough on a pizza stone; spread barbecue sauce first then layer the chicken, bacon, onions then cheese. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.

Linked to...
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking

Raspberry Lime Sheet Cake

For the cake:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups sugar
Zest of two limes
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 cups fresh raspberries

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1-3 tbsp. lime juice

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and lime zest. Mix together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the canola oil and beat until combined. Mix in the yogurt and vanilla extract. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and lime juice. Stir in half of the dry ingredients on low speed, mixing just until incorporated. Mix in the milk mixture until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients on low speed just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Drop the raspberries evenly over the surface of the batter. Bake for 32-36 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the glaze, place the confectioners' sugar in a bowl. Whisk in a tablespoon of lime juice, and adding more as needed until the glaze has reached a good consistency for drizzling. *Drizzle over the surface of the cooled cake. Let set before serving.

*Another option here would be to poke holes in the cake while it is warm and spoon the glaze over the whole cake (there was pleanty of glaze to do this.)

NOTES:Great and easy recipe, especially if you have access to fresh raspberries or just love them like I do. I think this would work fine with frozen raspberries as well; no need to thaw before dropping them on the cake. Recipe from Annie's Eats.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tomatillo Salsa

Last year we planted 2 tomatillo plants in our garden because we thought it would be fun and something new. Unfortunately, they didn't do very well. This year, we made quite a bit larger garden plot and got a few more tips on gardening and decided to plant 6 plants! Wow, that was a lot. Tomatillos produce a lot of fruit. The good thing is they keep really well. When harvested, tomatillos keep, whole with husks on, for about a month in a zip-top bag in your fridge. You can also freeze them whole after washing and removing the husks.

Tomatillos are actually part of the gooseberry family, contrary to the misconception that they are tomatoes. This sweet fruit makes for a wonderful salsa verde and pairs perfectly with flavors like cumin and fresh cilantro.

This is a versatile salsa in that you can eat it with chips, cook it up with some chicken, add it to rice, on a burrito or even use it as a soup base for a white bean chicken chili.

5 1/2 cups chopped, cored, husked tomatillos (about 2 lbs.)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green chili peppers (if you want to use fresh, use poblanos or anaheims)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced cilantro
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice

Combine all ingredients in large sauce pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaning 1/4-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

SOURCE:Ball Blue Book of Canning

Monday, August 3, 2009

Orange Cashew Chicken with Broccoli

5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
7 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 16-oz bag broccoli florets
1 rounded tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 Tbsp. ground coriander
zest and juice of 2 oranges
1/2 cup tamari
3 Tbsp. honey
3 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1-3 cups roasted, unsalted cashews
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat a large, deep skillet with 3 tbsp. oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown. Remove chicken to a plate. Return skillet to heat and add 2 Tbsp. oil, onions, garlic, red bell pepper, broccoli, red pepper flakes, and coriander and cook, stirring frequently; 3-4 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Add orange zest and juice, tamari, and honey. Stir, scraping up brown bits. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Return browned chicken to pan and cook another 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Mix cornstarch with a splash of water in a bowl and add to pan to thicken. Add cashews and serve over ginger noodles. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve with Ginger Noodles

NOTES:This is from Rachel Ray's 2, 4, 6, 8, Meals for Couples and Crowds and serves 8. We halved it for our family. It's delicious and goes really great with the noodles.

Ginger Noodles

1 1/2 lbs perciatelli or bucatini pasta
2 T. vegetable oil
4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 lg. garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup tamari
6 scallions

Heat pasta water. Add salt and cook to al dente. Drop pasta. Preheat large skillet over medium heat with oil. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and tamari and bring to a simmer. Let it continue to simmer until pasta finishes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss to coat and continue to cook until pasta has cooked up most of the liquid. Remove from heat and add scallions.

Serve with Orange Cashew Chicken with Broccoli

NOTES:This recipe is from Rachel Ray's 2, 4, 6, 8 Meals for Couples and Crowds cook book and serves 8. I halved it for our family. I also substituted ziti for the pasta and low sodium soy sauce for the temari. It turned out wonderful, it has great flavor!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Favorite Fruit Smoothie

1 cup fresh/frozen strawberries
1 sm/med banana
1/2 cup (more or less) chocolate soy milk

Puree in blender and enjoy!

NOTES:I like to use frozen strawberries so it's slushy and I don't have to add ice. This is from Bob Green's Best Life Diet; it's apparantly Oprah's favorite! I also do this with any combination of strawberries and raspberries and/or blueberries; cherries instead of strawberries or sometimes throw in apricot. The proportions are about a good size single serving.

Mustard Pickles

I had never heard of, let alone tasted, mustard pickles until I was in college. I had a roommate from Canada who brought these with her, along with dilly beans and ketchup chips after she would visit home. I begged her to get the recipe from her mother and thankfully she obliged but it stayed tucked in my recipe file for years until I had a garden of my own and grew my own cucumbers. I love this relish. It's great on tuna sandwiches or hamburgers.

4 quarts small (pickling) cucumbers (about 5 lbs.)
2 quarts onions (1-2 bags of regular size)
2 quarts cabbage (about 1 head)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper

Shred vegetables or chop very small and put in large kettle.

12 cups sugar
4 tsp. celery seed
4 Tbsp. salt
6 tsp. turmeric
8 Tbsp. dry mustard

Add 2 quarts vinegar to the ingredients above.

Add the sauce to the vegetables and cook approximately 1 hour until vegetables are cooked.

Make a paste using 2 cups flour and 1-2 Tbsp. sugar. Add a cup of hot vegetables to flour mixture and mix well then pour into the whole batch and cook 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Ladle into hot canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space; place lids and rings and process in hot water canner for 10 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Greek Tostadas

Tostadas: (recipes for each to follow)
Pita crisps
Grilled Greek Chicken, chopped
Chopped Greek Salad
Kalamata Olives

To assemble tostadas, lay out each pita crisp. Top with chopped chicken, Chopped Greek Salad and Kalamata oilves. Serve with Rice Pilaf, if desired.

Pita Crisps:
6 whole, prepared pitas (or make your own pitas)
4-5 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. greek seasoning

Turn on broiler in oven. Lay out pitas on a cookie sheet. Combine olive oil, lemon juice and greek seasoning in a small bowl. With pastry brush, brush oil mixture liberally on top of each pita. Place under broiler for about 3 minutes, watching carefully! Take out when golden (they go from golden to burnt really quickly so don't walk away).

Greek Chicken:
1-1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinnless chicken breasts (or chicken tenders)
olive oil
Greek seasoning (your favorite)

Preheat outdoor grill. Trim fat from chicken breasts and cut into strips (or just use chicken tenders which are already cut). Slide each piece onto a skewer and line up on a large plate or in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Greek seasoning. Flip and do the same on the other side. Place skewers on grill and cook on medium-low 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and let rest 5 minutes.

Chopped Greek Salad:
2 cups roma tomatoes, cubed
1 cup cucumber, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves
basic vinagrette or greed salad dressing

In medium salad bowl, put chopped tomatoes and cucumbers and crumble feta cheese on top. Chiffonade the mint leaves and gently mix in with a basic vinagrette or Greek salad dressing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups chocolate chips (or 2 Hershey's chocolate bars, chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. In a mixer cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and cocoa; mix until incorporated. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined. Stir chocolate chips and stir to distribute evenly.

For cookies: Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake about 9minutes. Cool on a baking rack.

For bars: Pat dough into a greased 9 inch square baking pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into squares when cooled.

NOTES:Recipe adapted from Food Network's Cathy Lowe. These cookies are sooo delicious. I'm a totaly chocoholic and these hit the spot.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Basil Chicken Burgers

We made this last week and loved it so much. I made my own pesto because I have basil plants and happened to have the Parmesan and pine nuts. I also used Parmesan instead of Cheddar in the burgers. I think the Parmesan goes better with the flavors of pesto anyway. I also served the burgers on whole wheat buns and it was great! I found this recipe in the June/July 2009 issue of Family Fun magazine.

1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken
3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar or 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. pesto (store-bought or try my recipe)
Oil for brushing the burgers
6 burger rolls
sliced tomatoes

For the pesto mayonnaise:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. pesto

In large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, cheese, salt and pepper, gently tossing the mixture with your hands or a large fork, until evenly blended.
In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and pesto, then add it to the ground chicken mixture and combine until evenly blended. Shape the meat into six 1/2-inch thick patties. Refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes to firm them.(The patties will be softer than traditional hamburgers.)
While the meat is chilling, prepare the grill and make the pesto mayonnaise. Then brush one side of each of the burgers with a little oil and place them on the grill, oiled side down. Lightly brush oil on the other side of the burgers and cook them for 5 minutes on each side, turning once, or until the meat is no longer pink inside. Serve the burgers on the rolls, dressed with lettuce, tomatoes and pesto mayonnaise.

Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad

*I thought it was high time this post got an update since I first posted it 4 years ago! Enjoy. 
I got this recipe from a friend of mine who made it up after eating it at a local restaurant. It's been served at large gatherings and loved by all. It's light and refreshing and really easy to put together; perfect for your next barbecue or pot luck. I love it because it's quick to throw together and doesn't heat up your house during those hot summer months.

Copped Barbecue Chicken Salad
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
2-3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 slicing tomatoes, diced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
3 green onions, chopped
1 small jicama-julienned in thin strips*
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
favorite ranch dressing
favorite barbecue sauce
tortilla chips or strips

Coat chicken in barbecue sauce.  Preheat outdoor grill and cook until no longer pink inside; about 4-5 minutes per side.

While chicken is cooking, chop lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, jicama and cilantro. Place in large salad bowl.  Cut the kernels off two large ears of fresh corn.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high and drizzle a little olive oil.  Add corn and cook about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside to cool.

Remove chicken from grill and set aside to cool for at least 5 minutes.  Chop into bite-sized pieces.  Once cooled, add chicken and corn to the rest of the salad.

Mix about 2 tablespoons each of barbecue sauce and ranch together.  Add 2 tablespoons to salad and toss.  Check for flavor and add more as desired.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve room temperature or chilled with tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips, it desired.

*Jicama is like a Mexican potato. It's shape is like a turnip only larger  and light tan in color. It's texture is like a chestnut and has a real mild almost radish-like flavor. The easiest way to prepare a jicama is to cut it into fourths then slice the peel off with a pairing knife. Cut into thin matchsticks.

**I have also used my Tomatillo Dressing, in place of the ranch, that I use with my Cafe Rio pork and it's really delicious also.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake and variations

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Variations: For a Pineapple Gooey Cake: Instead of the pumpkin, add a drained 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple to the cream cheese filling. Proceed as directed above.

For a Banana Gooey Cake: Prepare cream cheese filling as directed, beating in 2 ripe bananas instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

For a Peanut Butter Gooey Cake: Use a chocolate cake mix. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter to the cream cheese filling instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

Raspberry Limeade Cake

¾ cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 TBLS. Lime zest
¾ cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
5 large eggs
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 ¾ tsp. Baking powder
1 ½ cups whole buttermilk
Raspberry Filling (Recipe follows)
Cream Cheese Limeade Frosting (Recipe follows)

Preheat oven 350. Spray 3 9inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lime zest until fluffy. Add limeade concentrate, beating until combined. WARNING!! Mixture will look curdled….that’s ok!! Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour batter evenly (like you would pour it cattywompus…but I digress…)into prepared pans. Bake for 17 – 20 minutes or until done. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Spread Raspberry Filling evenly between layers (there’s that cattywompus idea again). Spread Cream Cheese Limeade frosting over top and sides of cake. Can garnish with lime slices and raspberries if you want to.

Raspberry Filling

1 10oz. Package frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
½ cup sugar
2 TBLS. Cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 TBLS. Fresh lemon juice..wonder if lime juice from the lime zest you use in the cake would do…I would think so….
¼ cup butter, cut into pieces

In a food processor or a blender, pulse raspberries until smooth. Strain mixture, discarding solids.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add raspberry puree, egg yolks and lemon (lime) juice, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 7 – 8 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat, gradually whisk in butter until melted. Cool slightly, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Cream Cheese Limeade Frosting
1 8oz. Package cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
3 TBLS. Frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 TBLS lime zest
5 cups confectioner’s sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add limeade concentrate and lime zest. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar, beating until smooth.

NOTES: This recipe is from Paula Deen. The frosting on this cake is AMAZING! Although very yummy, the cake seemed a little heavy for the light, fresh flavors of lime and raspberry so I may try a lighter cake recipe next time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Orzo with Spinach and Pine nuts

I love, love, love this pasta dish!! It is so easy, and with a few simple ingredients your taste buds will be exploding. This is a perfect side dish for just about anything.

4 Tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cans chicken broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo
2 cups tightly packed chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spread pine nuts in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often. Set aside.
Saute garlic in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute. Add water, orzo and salt, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in spinach, cheese and pine nuts. Serve hot.

SOURCE:The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Grilled Basil Chicken

3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
4 skinned, bone-in chicken breast halves or 8 skinned chicken thighs

*Process first 3 ingredients in container of an electric blender 30 seconds. With blender running, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, processing until blended. Reserve 1/4 cup basil mixture.

*Brush chicken with remaining basil mixture; cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. Grill chicken, covered with grill id 30 minutes or until done, basting twice with reserved basil mixture.

NOTES:This is so easy and soooo tasty. The recipe is from my Ultimate Southern Living cookbook. Make sure if you're cooking with the bone in that you really let it cook for 30 minutes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dulce de leche

1 quart whole milk
12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.

NOTES:Recipe courtesy Alton Brown from Food Network. You can also cheat and make this the easy way by putting an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in the crock pot(covered in water) for 6-8 hours on low. Let it cool a little bit before you try opening it. This stuff is so good! I used to eat it so much on my mission.

Pastel Frio

1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 pkg. Marias cookies
1 small can pineapple rings

In small mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Pour just enough into small baking dish (8x8 or similar size)to cover the bottom. Place a layer of Marias cookies on top of the mixture then top with milk mixture. Continue layering milk and cookies until milk mixture is just about gone. Pour an extra layer of milk on top so you can no longer see the cookies. Put pineapple rings on top, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

NOTES:I got this recipe from a Mexican roommate I had in college. When I made it, I used pineapple but I think I will try it with strawberries next time. I think it would compliment the flavors a little better.


1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 quart warm water
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
Whole cinnamon sticks, optional, for serving

In a blender, combine the rice and warm water. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes until the rice breaks up but does not form a powder. Let the rice mixture stand in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine-mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Pour the rice water into a blender and add the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon, and sugar. Blend for 1 minute until well combined and smooth. Serve the horchata over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

NOTES:Recipe curtesy of Ingrid Hoffman from Food Network.

Tomatillo Dressing

This is the dressing that I use whenever I make my big Cafe Rio knock off meal. If you're not from Utah, you'll probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but believe me when I say, it's delicious! The sweet pork burrito and salad are Cafe Rio's most popular entrees. If you haven't checked out my recipes for the Sweet and Spicy Pork and Cilantro Lime Rice, head there too so you can partake of the goodness as well!

This dressing would also be good in almost any salad as well; chicken salad, green salad, you name it. I've even used it in this Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad and it goes wonderfully.

Tomatillo Dressing
1 packet buttermilk ranch dressing packet
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayo
2 tomatillos (rinsed and husks removed)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
jalapeno, seeded (you can use half or whole, depending on how much heat you like)

Place in blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork (Cafe Rio copy cat)

Mmm, this is so delicious! I've had other copy cat recipes of Cafe Rio pork and this totally takes the cake if you ask me. I think it's even better than the pork at the restaurant. The secret here is really the El Pato sauce. It adds the perfect amount of spice, while the brown sugar keeps it a little sweet. Make it as a salad or as a burrito, or use it as a base for another recipe. Do not forget the tomatillo dressing though, it rounds out the flavor and is the icing on the cake!

Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork
3-4 lb. pork roast
1 large can El Pato Sauce (It's the yellow can that says original on the side and Salsa de Chile Fresco across the bottom. Also, if you want it less spicy, use one or two of the smaller cans.)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cola (or rootbeer)

Place cold roast in a cold crockpot. If your roast is boneless, you can cut it into chunks so that it will cook faster. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour about half over the pork, reserving the rest. Cover pork and cook on high for about 4-5 hours; may be a little less if you use the chunks. Roast is done when it easily breaks apart between your fingers. Remove pork and shred. Discard sauce and wipe out crock pot. Put shredded pork back into crock pot and pour remaining sauce over it. Cook on low for another hour or so.

To serve Cafe Rio burrito style: Melt monterey jack cheese on tortilla, top with either Cilantro-lime rice or Spanish Rice, beans, pork and Tomatillo Dressing. Top with guacamole, lettuce, and pico de gallo, if desired.

To serve salad style: Layer rice, beans, pork and other desired toppings on a bed of lettuce and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Linked to...
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lemon Garlic Chicken

2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley

This recipe is for a 6-quart slow cooker. Combine oregano, salt and pepper. Cover chicken with mixture. Brown chicken in butter in skillet on medium heat. Place in slow cooker. Place water, lemon juice, garlic and bouillon in skillet. Bring to boil, loosen browned bits from skillet. Pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on high for 2-2 1/2 hours or on low for 4-5 hours. Add parsley and baste chicken. Cover. Cook on high for 15-30 minutes, until chicken is tender.

NOTES:This is a great Sunday dinner dish. I actually found this recipe with not much time left to make dinner so I just made it on the stove top instead of the slow cooker. I put the salt, pepper and oregano on the chicken and browned it, then added everything else and brought it to a boil. I turned it down to very low and covered it and let it simmer for about a half hour while I baked some oven fries to go with it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ginger Sweet Potato Muffins

*Updated 12/5/13 I've made a few modifications to these muffins to make them lighter and fluffier and with half the sugar! They are better than ever!
When I think of fall, I think of these muffins. I absolutely love them! I got this recipe a few years ago from a friend of my mom's and have made them so many times since. They are a perfect little breakfast treat on a fall morning, or a quick and easy afternoon snack. I have experimented with using less sugar and they still turn out ok. You can get crystallized ginger at your local good earth store or fresh market.

Ginger Sweet Potato Muffins
makes about 9 muffins

1/2 cup sucanat (or other sugar)
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp. coconut oil (or light olive oil)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place liners in muffin pan or spray with cooking spray. Combine sugar, sweet potatoes, oil, egg and milk.  Whisk until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in ginger. Divide batter evenly among 9 muffin cups. Bake 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from pans.

Linked to...
Colleen's Recipe Swap @ And Baby Makes Five
Potluck Sunday @ Mommy's Kitchen.
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Poblano Chicken Chowder

1/4 cup olive oil
3 large carrots, diced
2 large onions, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1/8 cup minced garlic
2 to 3 small poblano peppers, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
3 quarts chicken broth
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, minced
3 cups diced (large pieces) grilled chicken
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, poblano peppers, salt, white pepper, cumin, and thyme. Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the chicken bouillon. Add the chicken broth and cilantro, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the chowder is thick and the chicken is heated through. Shortly before the chowder is done, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes to cook the flour. Do not allow the mixture to brown! Ladle 1 cup of the hot liquid from the stockpot into the skillet, whisking constantly.

When the first cup of liquid is incorporated, add another 2 cups of liquid, 1 at a time. Pour the mixture in the skillet into the stockpot, whisking to blend. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the hot sauce, then the cream, and serve.

NOTES: Recipe from Paula Deen

Monday, February 23, 2009

Szechuan Beef

1 lb. flank steak, sliced very thinly
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp cooking wine
2 tsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sliced fresh garlic
1 tsp. sliced jalapeno pepper
6 1-inch sections green onion

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Mix the sliced beef with soy sauce, cooking wine and cornstarch and set aside. Heat the wok and 4 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Stir-fry the garlic and jalapeno pepper until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beef and the sauce ingredients and stir-fry over high heat just until the beef is no longer pink on the outside, about 2-3 minutes. Add the green onions during the last 1 minute of cooking.

NOTES: I got this recipe off the food network website a few years ago so I don't know if it's still there but we really love this stir-fry.
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