Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mongolian Beef

I love my crock pot. I love it even more when using it yields such fantastic results! Next time I make this, I'll throw in some cooked broccoli at the very end. The sweet and spicy combination of the sauce was perfect.

1 lb
beef flank steak, sliced thinly across the grain
1 medium white onion or
yellow onion, sliced thinly (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos
1/2 cup dry sherry (I used 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water, and 1 Tbsp sugar)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup
brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2-1 teaspoon
red pepper flakes, to taste (I used 1/2 and it was plenty spicy)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup
scallions, cut in 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup fruity
white wine

Slice the flank steak thinly across the grain - the strips should be 2 to 3 inches long each; set aside.
Combine the onion, soy sauce, sherry, broth, garlic, hoisin, brown sugar, ginger, and pepper flakes, then put the mixture into the crock pot.
Put the cornstarch in a large Ziploc bag; add the sliced beef and toss well to coat.Add the coated beef into the crock pot, gently pushing it into the liquid to cover; pour the white wine over - do NOT stir.
Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours; an hour before you're going to serve, turn the crock pot to high, add the cut scallions, stir, and cook for an additional hour. Stir, and serve over rice or noodles.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spiced Nuts

I gave bags of these as gifts this Christmas. I wasn't so sure about making nuts in a crock pot, but they turned out great - and talk about easy!

1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds

1 cup raw, unsalted pistachios (no shells, just the meat)

1/2 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 T maple syrup

1 tsp curry
1 tsp rosemary (I used Thyme)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
cooking spray

This makes enough nuts to feed 12 people as a snack; about 3-4 gift containers.
Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray. Put in your nuts/seeds, then add all of the spices and the maple syrup. Toss well to coat. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes, and then 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The nuts will burn if you don't stir (a few of mine burnt anyway!). Spread the nuts out on a layer of foil or wax paper to completely cool, and store in an air-tight container.

Chicken, Lemon, and Dill with Orzo

I would rate this five stars for a good combination of ease, taste, and price. My husband thought it was a little boring, but he's not as much of a pasta guy. I thought of this as a sophisticated version of the traditional chicken and rice.

4 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. water
1 tbsp. butter
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. orzo
1 lb. chicken tenderloins, cut into one-inch cubes
1/4 c. chopped fresh dill (I used about 2 Tbsp. dried dill)
2 c. crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.
In a saucepan, bring broth, 3/4 cup water, butter, salt and pepper to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine chicken, orzo, feta, dill, lemon zest and juice in a 3-quart baking dish. Once broth mixture has boiled, pour over orzo/chicken and stir once to incorporate. Bake until orzo is tender and cooking liquid is creamy, about 40 minutes.
Sprinkle Parmesan on top and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Wreaths

We got together with some neighbors to make this festive, fun, holiday treat (remember these, Mom?!). The kids had a great time - get ready for a mess!

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1 package (10 oz. about 40) regular marshmallows, OR 4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon green food coloring
6 cups Corn Flakes
Red cinnamon candies
vanilla frosting

On the stove: Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in food coloring.
In the microwave: Microwave margarine and marshmallows at HIGH 2 minutes in microwave-safe bowl. Stir to combine. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute longer. Stir until smooth, then add food coloring.

Add corn flakes cereal. Stir until well coated.

Portion warm cereal mixture evenly by using a 1/4 cup dry measure coated with cooking spray. Using sprayed fingers, quickly shape into individual wreaths. Dot with cinnamon candies, using prepared frosting to hold candies in place. Store in single layer in airtight container.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


In preparation for our daughter's arrival, I made another batch of burritos to stick in the freezer. This is one of the easiest and pleasingest (for my husband) foods I can have on hand. I've tried several different variations. The possibilities are endless (corn, cooked and shredded chicken, black beans, cilantro, ground beef . . .), but this is the way my family likes them best:

2 cans refried beans
1 jar store-bought chunky salsa (my homemade salsa isn't chunky and makes the filling too runny)
3-4 cups fresh spinach leaves, torn
1-2 cups shredded cheese
10 burrito-size flour tortillas

Mix the first four ingredients together in a large bowl. Heap two large spoonfuls of filling on one tortilla. Fold in sides of tortillas and then carefully keep sides tucked to roll up, starting from the bottom end. Place rolled up burritos on a large cooking sheet. Freeze until solid. Individually wrap in shrink-wrap, or put them all in ziploc baggies.

You can have a warm burrito after just 5-7 minutes in the microwave, but we like ours a little toasted, so this is our formula:
Heat oven to 350. Defrost one burrito for three minutes in the microwave. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Turn burrito over. Bake another 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Stuffed Sausage Shells

Ooooh - this was delicious! (not my picture - the camera battery was dead) It wasn't as much work as I thought it would be just from reading the recipe, and was so yummy! I'd say lasagna and manicotti got together and this is what they made.

1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large egg
16-ounces ricotta cheese
10-ounces chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, chopped further (or 10 ounces chopped fresh spinach)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes with herbs, including the liquid, tomatoes broken up (or your favorite tomato or pasta sauce)

2 9x13 shallow baking dishes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt per quart of water). Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking up the sausage into smaller bits. Cook sausage until cooked through, and no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute more. Remove pan from heat.

Beat the egg lightly in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, chopped spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and sausage mixture. Fill each cooked pasta shell with some of the ricotta, spinach, sausage mixture. FYI - I filled my shells too full and ran out of mixture at the end.

Spread 1/2 cup chopped canned tomatoes over the bottom of each of the baking dishes. Arrange the stuffed pasta shells in the dishes. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top of the pasta shells.

At this point you can make ahead, to freeze (up to four months) or refrigerate before cooking. (If freezing, cover with foil, then wrap with plastic wrap.)

Heat oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.

Serves 8.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oldies, but Goodies

For the past week, I haven't used one single recipe that is new. What?! While this realization is strange and very unlike me, we have enjoyed feasting on some of our favorites:

Thai Beef with Coconut Rice

Chicken Enchiladas

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Italian Cous Cous

Pumpkin Chocolate-chip Muffins

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

This was a simple-to-make sauce that didn't take long (minus the time spent baking the squash, but how hard is that?!) and was tasty on the pasta and chicken.

1 butternut squash weighing about 2 1/2 pounds
8 ounces of bow-tie pasta
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/3 cup of chopped shallots
1/2 cup of packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of heavy cream (I used whole milk)
1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Water as needed to thin the sauce

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise in half and scoop out the guts and seeds and discard them. Pour 1/4 cup of water into a pyrex or ceramic baking dish and place the butternut squash halves cut side down. Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the squash. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scoop out the squash flesh from the skins and purée with a blender. Discard the skins.

Fill a pot with water and salt (1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Set over high heat to bring to a hard boil. Add the pasta and cook at a hard boil, uncovered until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil into a wide skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash purée and cook for about a minute, mixing it in with the shallots. Add the cream, a tablespoon at a time, slowly stirring it in to incorporate and to avoid lumps. Stir in the Parmesan. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add water (or chicken stock) to thin to the consistency you want. Take off heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Cover the pan to keep warm.

Check pasta. When ready (al dente) drain and plate. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Garnish with a little extra parsley and Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I saw this post on my friend's blog, which made me want to make the cookies. Rooke helped me and they were delicious!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the sugar mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. (I normally skip this because I think the cookies are sweet enough.) Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I doubled this recipe, made a few adjustments, and served it for our community group dinner last night. It was so easy and got rave reviews from everyone! (I was hoping for leftovers to take my own picture, but it was completely gone by the end of the night)

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, wine, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Sausage, Lentil, and Kale Soup

All three of us loved this soup. My mother-in-law will be so proud that we had kale for dinner!

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
8oz sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup dried lentils
6 cups chicken broth
1 bunch kale, torn into bite size pieces (stems removed)
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tsp red-wine vinegar

In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high, Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about five minutes. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, broth, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer, partially cover, and cook until lentils and vegetables are tender, 25 minutes.

Add kale and season with salt. Return soup to a rapid simmer, cover, and cook until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Black Bean Chili

This is one of my husband's favorites. The toppings add flavor and interest (although we've never tried the hard-cooked eggs . . .)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies, drained
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
pepper and salt
chopped cilantro or parsley

grated cheese
sour cream
chopped hard-cooked eggs

In a soup pot over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion, celery, and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except garnish and toppings. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, about 40 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro sprigs, and pass the toppings separately.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Seed Sauce

I know this picture doesn't look very appetizing, but trust me - this was delicious! I only grilled two chicken breasts and the recipe says the sauce is enough to serve four, so we have enjoyed the left-over sauce on meatballs, baked potatoes, and roasted vegetables. Yummy stuff!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno chile, chopped (seeds and ribs removed for less heat if desired)
1/4 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cups packed chopped romaine lettuce
1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar (I used red)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add pumpkin seeds; cook, stirring often, until puffed, about 5 minutes. Add lettuce, vinegar, and 1 cup water; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (it was a tad on the salty side, so I would start with just 1/2 or 1 teaspoon and add to taste). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until lettuce is tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender; add cilantro. Blend on high speed until sauce is very smooth, about 3 minutes. Thin sauce with 2 to 4 Tablespoons more water if needed (it should be pourable).

Serve with your choice of meat or veggies or - whatever! This can be made up to 2 days in advance; let cool completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat over low heat.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

(Somewhat) Spicy Chicken Pumpkin Soup

Just in case you thought I was over my pumpkin craze . . . This is good stuff.

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves, cut into 1 inch cubes (only used four)
1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 TBS minced fresh ginger (worth it)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use at least 3/4 if you are really wanting to taste the spice)
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 can 15oz pumpkin
1 can mango nectar (Hispanic food isle)
1/2 fresh lime juice
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/2 heavy cream (I just used milk)
1 TBS cornstarch
2-4 cups of hot cooked rice (jasmine or basmati)
3 green onions, minced
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts chopped (optional)

Heat 1 TBS of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook , stirring occasionally, about 3 mins. Add onion, garlic , ginger and red pepper flakes; Cook 1 or 2 minutes longer or until mixture is fragrant. Remove from heat.

Place the chicken mixture in a Crock Pot. Add celery, carrot, pumpkin, mango nectar, lime juice, peanut butter, broth and 2 cups water (I probably won't use any water next time); stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours.

Mix cream and cornstarch together in small mixing bowl. Stir mixture into soup. If soup was cooked on the LOW setting, turn setting to HIGH . Simmer, uncovered 10 minutes or until soup thickens. To serve, mound rice in soup bowls and ladle soup around the rice.

Sprinkle cilantro, green onions, and peanuts on top.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Ryan and I vacationed in Thailand while living in China and during one of our stays, a friend and I took a Thai cooking class (it was supposed to flame up like that - I promise!). It was one of the most fun things I've ever done! I've hung on to the recipe book they gave us and this is one of my favorites to make that almost tastes like what we had in Chiang Mai. Mmmm . . . I love Thai food!

2 cups thick coconut cream
1 Tbsp green curry paste
2 Tbsp oil
1-2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
5-6 Thai eggplants, cut into large chunks
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Kaffir lime leaves, remove stems
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 Tbsp sugar
15-20 sweet basil leaves (also called Thai basil in Asian markets)
3 red chilies, chopped coarsely (if you can stand the heat!)

Heat the oil in a wok on medium high. Add green curry paste, turn heat down to medium, and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the chicken and cook through. Add the coconut cream and bring to a boil. Add eggplants, green beans, fish sauce and sugar and boil until vegetables are tender - about 5 minutes.

Turn off heat. Add basil and kaffir lime leaves. Mix well. Serve over rice (we like Jasmine the best) and top with chilies.

Chicken Enchiladas

Easy. Delicious. Great dish to take a new mom.

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cooked small chicken breasts, shredded (or the equivalent amount from a whole roasted chicken)
1 4oz. can diced green chilies
1 cup chunky salsa, divided
4 oz. cream cheese
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup total Cheddar & Monteray Jack cheeses, divided
8-10 tortillas

Preheat oven to 350. Heat large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add chicken, green chilies, 1/4 cup of the salsa, cream cheese, cilantro and cumin; mix well. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese; mix well.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture on each tortillas; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in 13x 9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining 3/4 cup sala and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Toad in the Hole

Last year, my family spent Christmas together in London (where my parents live). Ryan and I fell in love with the pubs (more specifically, the pub food!). Since the trip, we've wanted to try and make some of the dishes we enjoyed. One of our favorites was Toad in the Hole and I have to say, our first attempt didn't turn out all that bad! I even found "authentic English bangers" at the grocery store!

1 1/2 cup of plain flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb of good-quality sausage (pork, turkey)
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Sift flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Make a well in the center of the flour. Whisk the eggs and the milk into the center of the well in the flour, gradually to smooth out lumps. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

Brown the sausages in a little olive oil and cook through, about 10 minutes

Put sausages in a square baking dish, pour the batter over the sausages and place in oven. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the batter is risen and golden. Serve at once.

Serves 4-6

Monday, November 2, 2009

Apple Walnut Rustic Tart

We loved this and it was so simple to make!

1 Pâte Brisée (tart dough) for a 10-inch tart or 1 packaged, flat pie crust (I used the store-bought crust)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or blue cheese)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 large granny smith apples (or other good cooking apples such as jonagold or fuji), peeled, cored, chopped
1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

Toss the walnuts, gorgonzola, thyme, chopped apples, and maple syrup together in a medium size bowl. As you are working with the apples (chopping them, mixing them in with the other ingredients), if you want, you can squeeze a little lemon juice on them to help keep them from discoloring. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap while you prepare the crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry dough to 13-inches, at an 1/8 of an inch thickness. Place pastry dough on a rimmed baking sheet. (Rimmed because the pastry will leak during the cooking process.) Mound the filling in the middle of the rolled out dough, and spread out evenly to 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from the edge of the dough. Pleat the edges of the dough over the filling.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until crust is nicely browned. If at any time it looks like the walnuts are getting a little burnt, you can lightly tent a piece of aluminum foil over the center.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. A pizza wheel works great for slicing up the tart.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

This cake came out super moist and de-li-cious! Just a little vanilla ice cream and we were good to go!

15 oz. can pumpkin
4 eggs
1 c. canola oil
1/2 c. water
3-1/2 c. flour
3 c. sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
2 t. baking soda
1-1/2 t. salt

Combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, and water. Mix well. Add in the dry ingredients, and mix well. Pour into a bundt pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake 1 hour and 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Butternut Squash Curry

My husband actually liked this better than I did! I was able to buy the amount of seeds called for from the bulk section for pennies (since I don't frequently use those ingredients).

1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded (about 2 pounds)
1 large onion, cut into large chunks
4 garlic cloves
3 cups plus 1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

Cut solid sections of sqaushes into large chunks and seed pod sections into 3/4in. thick wedges. Puree onion, garlic, and 1Tsp. water in blender until smooth.

Heat oil in 4qt. pot over med. heat. Add mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and coriander, cook until fragrant (1 to 2 min.) Stir in onion paste and ginger, cook, stirring often until caramelized ( 6 to 8 min. )

Add tomato paste, scraping bottom of pot if needed. Stir in remaining 3 cups water, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add squash and cover partially. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until squash is tender ( 12 to 15 min. ). For a thicker sauce, mash some of the squash with the back of a spoon. Serve over brown rice with cilantro and lime wedges.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Make these today! Easy. Yummy. Somewhat addicting. They are delicious on salads, pumpkin enchiladas, or just good to pop a handful in your mouth!

1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice

Preheat oven to 350. Toss the pumpkin seeds with the rest of the ingredients. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until puffed and browned, about 10 minutes.

Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli with Shells

This was a nice one-dish meal that we all enjoyed. You could easily take a few shortcuts, making cheaper substitutions to lower the cost of the meal.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 links spicy Italian sausage (3/4 pound total), casings removed
1 Tbsp flour
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
8 ounces medium shell pasta
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and coarsely chopped (I used regular broccoli and increased the boiling time to 1 minute)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).

Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with spoon. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add broccoli rabe to pot and cook 15 seconds. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot. Stir in sausage mixture. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish or divide among four 16-ounce gratin dishes. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until cheese has melted and liquid is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Baked Sweet Potato Chili Fries

These were the perfect snack for the football game today!

3 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes (5 to 6 large)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
3 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp honey
1 8-oz carton sour cream
1/3 cup snipped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 450. Cut each unpeeled potato into 1-inch-thick wedges. Place in a large self-sealing plastic bag; toss with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on a large, rimmed baking sheet.

Meanwhile, in small bowl combine orange juice, 3 teaspoons of the chilir powder, and honey; set aside.

Bake potatoes, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until tender, brushing three times with orange juice mixture, and shaking pan occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine sour cream, remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/3 cup cilantro. Transfer potatoes to a serving dish; serve with sour cream micture. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

My husband didn't think these were as good as my son and I did. More for us to gobble up!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Can you tell I'm stuck on pumpkin?! My brother is in town, so we enjoyed these together (since Ryan doesnt' like "cute coffee", as he calls it!). This will make enough for 2 people to have a big mug with a bit leftover. I didn't have the whipped cream (this isn't my picture!), which would have been a nice addition, but they were still delicious!

2 cups milk
2 Tbsp canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
OR: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a teeny tiny pinch of ground ginger
1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
garnish with whipped cream (optional)

Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins

I talked with my friend the other day. She had just made pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins, but was not satisfied with how they turned out. Here's another one for you to try, Tricia. Hopefully this recipe won't disappoint!

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup of whole wheat)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Add pumpkin and water and mix well. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add in the pumpkin mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins (we had already eaten three by the time I took the picture!).

Roasted Corn pudding in Acorn Squash

Bring on the Fall food! This makes twice as much pudding than is needed for just one squash, so I baked the extra in a very small pyrex bowl. You could also just use two of the squash.

1 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon clarified butter or olive oil
1 cup milk
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped (If your grocery store has spices in bulk, you can get the amount you need for pennies)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the butter/oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You will want it to sit flat (and not tip), if you are having trouble just level out the bottom using a knife. If the squash is tilting on the pan, the filling will run out - bad news. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender. I only baked it for 30 minutes.

In a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, anise seed, half of the scallions, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls 3/4 full. Carefully transfer the squash back to the oven without spilling (tricky!). Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set. The amount of time it takes can vary wildly depending on the squash and oven. At the last minute sprinkle with cheese and finish with a flash under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep and eye on things, you can go from melted cheese to burnt and inedible in a flash. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

Along with barbequed meatballs in the crockpot, Ryan requested homemade mac-n-cheese for his birthday dinner. This recipe got rave reviews from everyone who enjoyed it! I made a few changes from the original recipe.

12 ounces packaged elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
salt and pepper to taste (I added a little at a time as the sauce was thickening until it tasted right)
3 shakes of cayenne pepper
1-2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1-2 teaspoon mustard
5 ounces Cheddar cheese, cubed
5 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
5 ounces Monteray Jack cheese, cubed
paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In medium saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then whisk in warm milk a little at a time to make a white sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Mix in salt, pepper, and cayenne, and stir frequently until sauce thickens.

Remove pan from heat and stir in cheddar, mozzarella, jack and ham. Combine pasta with sauce and stir well. Pour into baking dish. Use paprika to make a decorative pattern on top. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until top is the desired crispiness. Let rest 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin-swirl Cheesecake

Ryan picked this recipe for his 30th birthday dessert and it's so yummy! The perfect "cake" for a fall birthday.

25 ginger snaps, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash ground cloves

Heat oven to 325.

Mix crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan.

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove 1 1/2 cups batter. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter. I also added food coloring to make the batter look more orange!

Spoon half the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Repeat layers; swirl with knife.

Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

90-minute Cinnamon Rolls

I was able to make these without Ryan knowing so we could have them for his birthday breakfast! I made them the night before, refrigerated them overnight, and baked them the following morning. They were delicious! The frosting (which we did use, but didn't take a picture of!) came from this recipe.

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast (FYI - I didn't realize until after the fact that I actually used Active Dry Yeast instead of Instant. They didn't rise well, but puffed up fine when I baked them. I'll use instant next time, but the other kind worked just fine)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in margarine; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, softened margarine.

Roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Spread dough with margarine/sugar mixture. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in 12 lightly greased muffin cups. (I placed them in a greased 9x13 pyrex dish) Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned.

For Frosting:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Oh, YUM. This was the perfect fall combination. The soup was delicious and, paired with the flautas, a filling meal. I doubled the recipe and froze one batch for later.

2 3/4 pounds sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, halved and seeded (I used one large acorn squash)
1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
2 shitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps wiped clean
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
5 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken)

Preheat oven to 450. Cut pumpkin into 2-inch pieces. Combine pumpkin, onion, mushrooms, and garlic on a rimed baking sheet. Add oil and 2 teaspoons salt; toss to coat, then spread in a single layer.

Roast until pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes, rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins (I didn't remove the skins. They are packed with nutrition and pureed just fine after baking).

Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium. Pour in 2 cups stock' puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth (I poured everything into my Vita-mix and then returned it to the pot, just stirring in the rest of the broth). Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.

Cheese Flautas with Cilantro Pesto

I was looking forward to these all week, and they did not disappoint! I'm not a big fan of fried food, but I could have eaten all of these myself! Don't be deterred by my picture. I struggled to keep the tortillas rolled up (hence the toothpicks!).

1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup pepitas (green hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp)
salt and pepper
8 corn tortillas (6-inch), softened (I put them in the microwave for 15 seconds covered with a damp paper towel)
2 cups Monteray Jack cheese
1/4 cup peanut oil

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low. Cook garlic until golden, 1 minute. Add pepitas; cook, tossing, until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Pulse to a paste in a food processor. Add cilantro, lime juice, and remaining olive oil; pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spread some pesto on a softened tortillas; top with cheese. Roll up; place seam side down. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat.

Heat peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium until shimmering. Fry flautas in 2 batches, seam sides down, 1 minute. Using tongs, roll to brown evenly, cooking 1 minute more. Drain on paper towels, dabbing tops to remove excess oil.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

I always seem to make this when the weather starts getting colder. It's a family favorite.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
2 slices sandwich bread
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup tomato-based chili sauce, divided
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dried sage
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add onion, carrot, and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Crumble in bread; add milk and 1/4 cup chili sauce. Stir to combine. Coo completely.

Add turkey, egg and sage; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, mix to combine. Divide into four equal parts. Gently shape each into a 3-by-4-by-2-inch loaf; place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Brush remaining 1/4 cup chili sauce over tops, dividing equally. Bake until meatloaves are cooked through, 35-40 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Soup is one of the many reasons I love the Fall! This one didn't knock us off our feet, but still tasted good!

3 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock or broth
2 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and chopped
2 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (15 ounce) creamed corn

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a place, leaving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Add onion, leeks, and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes.

Add chicken, reserved bacon, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken turns white and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes longer.

Add creamed corn and simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, 5 to 10 more minutes.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

One of my husband's favorites!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together the first six ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Stir this into the wet ingredients. Stir in oats and raisins.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes and cool 2 minutes before removing from the pan.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Crispy Chickpeas

Easy and yummy for all ages!

19 ounce can chickpeas
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp of your favorite dried herb or spice (I've used garam masala and oregano and liked both)

Drain, rinse, and pat-dry the chickpeas. Toss them in a bowl with everything else. Arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until they have browned and begin to crisp, about 50-60 minutes. Serve at room temperature. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Italian Pot Pie

This isn't very fancy, but simple and definitely tasty!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound ground beef sirloin, thawed if frozen
2 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beef, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; make a well in center, and add butter and milk. Stir just until dough comes together.

Spoon meat mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins (I don't own ramekins, so I put it all in a square baking dish); mound dough on top. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Steak Chili with fajita seasoning

You can make this in the crock pot or on the stove and it is so tasty! I'll add at least one more can of beans next time, but there will definitely be a next time!

For the Fajita Seasoning:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Chili:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 lbs flat iron steaks, trimmed, cubed, and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup tequila or 1 water
6 cups diced tomatoes, or 2 cans diced tomatoes (28 oz. each)
1 white onion, diced (2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons flour
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I will use 2-3 cans next time)
2 tablespoons lime juice

Stir together the ingredients for the fajita seasoning and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown half of the meat in the oil and transfer to a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Brown the remaining meat in the remaining oil and transfer to the slow cooker. Deglaze pot with tequila or water, scraping up the flavor bits stuck to the pan and add to the slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, bell peppers, diced onion, minced garlic, and the fajita seasoning to the slow cooker. Stir in beef stock and flour. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Stir in beans and lime juice just before serving. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and jalapenos.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Red Beans and Rice

After looking at several recipes for red beans and rice, this is the combination of ingredients I came up with. We really enjoyed it!

1 lb. sausage, sliced (next time I'll try something a little more spicy)
1 lb. dried red beans, soaked in water overnight and drained
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1-2 green peppers, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2. tsp. thyme

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Fill with enough water to cover the ingredients. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve over rice or corn bread.

My FAVORITE Chocolate-Chip Cookies

This is all that was left from a batch I made yesterday. The recipe is a slight modification from the one on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag. They are always ooey-gooey-chewy-DELICIOUS!

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet.

Important: Bake at 375 for 9 minutes (maybe 10), just until they are barely golden. Cool on baking sheet at least 3 minutes before removing them.

Apple Crisp

Do you have one of these? I call it an apple-peeler-corer-slicer (because that's exactly what it does!). It's absolutely worth every inch of space it takes up in my cabinet and makes baking this delicious apple crisp a cinch!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
2 quarts peeled, cored and sliced apples

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Cut butter into mixture until crumbly.

Take half of the mixture and pat it into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Cover crumb mixture with apple slices, then sprinkle apple slices with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until apples are tender.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No-Bake Cookies

I hesitated when posting this picture. How do you make no-bake cookies not look like, well . . . yeah.

I found it! I have it! The perfect no-bake cookie recipe. I know what you're thinking . . . "They're NO BAKES, Angela. Not that difficult." But I never seem to get them right. Mind you, I don't like chewy no-bake cookies. I like mine a little dry and crumbly and this recipe from my friend's blog (who apparently has had her own frustrations with no-bakes!) is perfect!

2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan bring sugar, cocoa, margarine, milk, and salt to a rapid boil for 1 minute. THIS IS THE KEY STEP: You must wait until the mixture comes to a good boil (not just a couple of bubbles), then boil for one minute.

Add quick cooking oats, peanut butter, and vanilla; mix well.

Working quickly, drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper, and let cool.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Morning Glory Muffins

My family loves these!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup bran
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup peeled, diced apple
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, mix flour, bran, baking powder and salt together. Add carrots, apple, raisins, nuts, coconut, and cinnamon and mix well. Set aside.

Beat together the sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla. Add this to the rest of the ingredients and mix together.

Spoon into greased muffin tins (or baking cups). Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Needing something to satisfy a sweet tooth after dinner tonight, I found this recipe to make in honor of my chocolate-loving friend's daughter being born tomorrow!

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cocoa

Combine separately and stir into dry mixture:
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Pour into greased 9x9 pan.
Mix together and spread over cake:
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup EACH white and brown sugars

Pour over cake:
1 1/4 cups boiling water.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour (I pulled it out at 55 minutes and it had already cooked too long. Next time I'll check at 45 minutes first). It comes out of the pan with the cake on top and pudding on bottom.
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