Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cranberry Pear Pie
Taste of Home magazine
TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
5 cups sliced peeled fresh pears
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Directions: Line a 9-in. pie plate with pastry; trim and flute edges. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, syrup and butter until smooth. Add the pears and cranberries; toss to coat. Spoon into crust. For topping, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over filling. Cover edges of crust loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°. Remove foil; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Red Velvet Peppermint Cake
Source: Southern Living

1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (9-ounce) package yellow cake mix*
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring (I always use way less)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
Garnishes: 6 (5-inch) red and white peppermint candy canes, crushed;
12 (5-inch) green candy canes, broken;
12 round peppermint candies

BEAT first 4 ingredients according to cake mix package directions.
BEAT yellow cake mix and next 6 ingredients according to package directions.
Spoon red batter alternately with white batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Swirl batter gently with a knife.
BAKE at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

SPREAD Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. (Cake may be chilled up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month.) Garnish, if desired.

Serve within 2 hours.
*Substitute 1 3/4 cups yellow cake mix. NOTE: If cake is frozen, thaw completely before garnishing to prevent crushed candy from running. Do not refrigerate after garnishing.

MAKE-AHEAD GAME PLAN: Up to 1 month ahead: Prepare cake layers and frost with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting. Freeze in a plastic airtight cake dome.
Day to Serve: Thaw cake and add decorations.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
For Quick Peppermint Frosting: stir together 3 (16-ounce) containers ready-to-spread cream cheese frosting and 2 teaspoons peppermint extract.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter or margarine
1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint extract*

BEAT cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until smooth. Add extract, beating until blended.
* Substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

The credit for the recipe goes to my dad. It's the best butternut squash soup recipe I've ever tried. Let me know what you think...Especially you, Shannon.

4 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup chopped leeks
1/2 cup shallot
1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash chunks
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste

dallop of sour cream and/or orange zest for garnish

Melt butter in a large pot
Saute leeks & shallots until brown in the butter
Puree broth and squash chunks (which have been steamed or baked until softened---about an hour prior) and add to the large pot. Bring to a boil...once boiling, reduce to a simmer.
Add heavy cream & orange juice & spice (do not bring to a boil again)

Serve when ready. Add sour cream & zest as garnish

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2 perfect treats for your Christmas plates!

Layered mint fudge

1 1/2 tsp butter, softened
2 c (12oz) semisweet choco chips
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk, divided
2tsp vanilla extract
1c vanilla or white choco chips
3tsp peppermint extract
1 to 2 drops green or red food coloring

Line a 9" square pan (I used a 9" round pan) with foil; grease the foil with butter and set aside.
In a heavy sauce pan, melt chocolate chips and 1c milk over low heat.
Cook for 5-6 min. or until smooth.
Remove from heat.
Add vanilla; stir for 3-4 min. or until creamy.
Spread half of the mixture into prepared pan.
Refrigerate for 10min or until firm.
Set remaining choco mixture aside.

In heavy saucepan, melt vanilla chips and remaining milk over low heat; cook and stir for 5-6 min. or until smooth (mixture will be thick).
Remove from the heat.Add peppermint extract and food coloring.
Stir 3-4min or until creamy.Spread evenly over chocolate layers.Refrigerate for 10min or until firm.
Heat reserved choco mixture over low heat until mixture achieves spreading consistency; spread over mint layer.
Cover; refrigerate overnight or until firm.
Using foil, lift fudge out of pan.Gently peel off foil; cut into 1" squares.
Store in the fridge.
Makes about 1 3/4lbs.

Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
2 hr 25 min
Cook Time:
10 min
12 sandwich cookies

1 (16.5 ounce) tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough (or make your own!)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Decorating suggestion: crushed candy canes or peppermint candies; white, red and green sprinkles; or red and green decorating sugar
Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter(or a greased cup), and a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop (or a spoon)
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, knead together the cookie dough and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Knead together any scraps of dough and roll out again. Continue to cut out pastry circles until there are 24 pieces in total. Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reserve 1 parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Combine 1 cup of chocolate chips and the cream in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the peppermint extract and refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour. Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, place the chocolate mixture in the center of the flat side of 12 of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top and gently squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until the filling has set, about 25 minutes.
Combine the remaining chocolate chips and the vegetable oil in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes or peppermint candies. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight plastic container.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 box stuffing
1 can Healthy Choice Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
2 cloves garlic (or two tsp pre-minced garlic)
3 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper
About 2 Tbsp olive oil
Grated Parmesan and mozzerella cheese (optional)
4-6 x 6-inch string/floss pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a small casserole dish with foil
Cut each breast in half (long ways) but not all the way through, opening up the breasts into a heart shape. Pound them out so that they are thinned.
Prepare the stuffing as the box suggests (I leave out the butter for calorie and healthy preferances, but do as you like).
Take several good handfuls of stuffing and place them in each chicken breast. (If you like cheese, this is the time to put some cheese in with the stuffing. I didn't, since I can't have cheese and it was really yummy without it...but some people love cheese, so there you have it)Close the chicken breasts around the stuffing and tie closed with 2 or 3 strings each. You have to tie them pretty tight.
Place the stuffed chicken breasts in the dish and lightly coat each breast with olive oil and salt and pepper (and parmesan cheese--again, if you're a cheese person--if not, it was yummy without it).
Bake on one side for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the Cream of Mushroom Soup with the milk, garlic, and salt and pepper. After the 10 minutes has passed, turn over the stuffed chicken breasts, baste them with olive oil and salt and pepper, and pour the C of MS mixture over them covering them completely.
Bake for 10 minutes at a time for another 40 minutes, turning over chicken breasts and re-covering them with C of MS mixture every turn. (On last 10-minute turn over, add more cheese on top if you're a cheese person)
Serve hot with vegetables and bread.

(I made up this recipe, too, because I wanted a healthy "fancy" meal one night. We thought it was just delicious. Let me know what you think!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Healthy "Funeral Potatoes"

I just kind of made this up since I was assigned to make Funeral Potatoes for a church function and didn't want to lead astray my fellow church-goers with those nasty fat-filled potato casseroles. Surprisingly, they turned out DELICIOUS. See what you think...

1 x 10 oz bag of frozen potato chunks (the hash kind that isn't grated)
1 x 8 oz block of Neuftchel Cheese (a goat's milk, less fat version of cream cheese)
1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 yellow onion chopped and diced
2-5 stalks celery chopped and diced
1 Tbsp (ish) melted butter
2 tsp (ish) salt
3 tsp (ish) black pepper
1 Tbsp (ish) celery seed
1 1/2 tsp (ish) sage
Several handfuls of crushed corn flakes or corn chex
4 oz block (ish) cheddar cheese (optional)

Mix together frozen potato chunks, Neuftchel cheese, plain yogurt, onion, and celery until creamy. Add butter, salt, pepper, celery seed, and sage and mix thoroughly.

Meanwhile, line the bottom of an an extra large casserole dish with crushed corn flakes/checks. Spoon creamy potato mixture over corn flakes/chex and then cover potato mixture with another layer of crushed flakes/chex. Grate cheese over the top (or not...) and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Serve hot. Yum.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana Soup (Tastes just like the soup at Olive G.)
Makes: 6-8 servings

1 lb ground Italian sausage (You can use the spicy Italian sausage and omit the red peppers)
1½ tsp crushed red peppers (or can use a fresh hot pepper)
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces (Can use Turkey bacon)
2 tsp garlic puree/ finely chopped
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale (or spinach)

Saute Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
In the same pan, saute bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.
Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.
Stir in the sausage.
Add kale just before serving. Delicious!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Death by Chocolate Cake

This is a very dense, rich cake, not to be taken lightly. You could call it the king of chocolate cakes. It is the best served while it is still a little bit warm.

1 Duncan Hines Devil's Food cake mix
1 3.9 oz. package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup melted butter
2 cups (1 16 oz. container) sour cream
5 eggs
1 tea vanilla
1 bag mini chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients except chips and mix for 1 min. on low, and 2 min. on medium. Then fold in mini chips (optional: save about 1/8 cup to sprinkle on the top). Bake in a well greased bundt pan at 350 for 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup + 1 TB granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 1 TB semi sweet chocolate chips.

Combine butter, milk and sugar over medium heat and cook for 4 or 5 minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in chocolate chips gradually until it is smooth. Immediately pour over cake. Garnish with reserved mini chips or shaved chocolate.

*A few notes: This is very thick batter, I don't suggest trying to mix by hand. Also, don't try to cut the fat out of this cake, it will ruin it. If you are looking for a lower calorie cake, pick another recipe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

1-30 oz can LIBBY’S Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 lg. eggs beaten
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
2 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp ground cloves, or to taste.(measurements for these are approximate, you may add more, or less, or none according to your own liking).

Mix pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk and eggs in a large bowl, add extra spices to taste. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 oven for 15 min. Reduce heat to 350, bake 50-60 min. or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hrs. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

NOTE: Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.
For 2 shallow pies: Substitute two 9-inch (2 cup volume) pie shells.
Bake at 425° for 15 min. Reduce heat to 350° and bake for 40 min. or until pies test done.

Easiest Pie Crust EVER!!!

Makes 2 - 10” crusts

½ cup boiling water
1 cup shortening (butter flavor is best)
2 rounded cups of flour
¼ tsp. salt

Mix together in bowl with electric mixer until it forms a ball (clinging to mixer)

Sweet Potatoes/Yams

Mix together:
3 cups cooked & mashed sweet potatoes (2-29oz cans)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ stick of butter
5 oz. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Place in greased 9 x 13 x 2 dish

Mix together:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup Pecan pieces
½ stick melted butter
Sprinkle over top of mixture in pan.

Bake @ 350 for 30-35 min. or until set.

Delicious Mashed Potatoes

**Peel and cube desired amount of potatoes (about to 2 med. Sized potatoes per person)
*Evaporated milk

Boil potatoes for 25 min. or until soft and drain.
Add some butter (about 4 Tbsp for 10 med. Potatoes), and then add enough evaporated milk to reach desired consistency. Mix with electric mixer or potato masher.

* you can use margarine or regular milk if you prefer.
** Red or Yukon potatoes are the best tasting!

Turkey Gravy

Use Turkey drippings
1 cup water mixed with ½ cup flour (very well mixed, no lumps)

Bring turkey drippings to a boil, while boiling add water/flour mixture very slowly and mixing very rapidly with a whisk, just add enough flour mixture to thicken to desired consistency ( you do not need to add the whole cup of water & flour).


This recipe will easily feed 10 people, (probably more).

1 bag of dried bread crumbs (they sell it at Maceys)
1/2 cup bacon grease (I know this isn't very healthy, but it makes it taste really yummy; if you don't want to use bacon grease, just use more butter)
2 Tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper (optional, don't go buy some if you dont' have it)
1/4 tsp Seasoning Salt (optional, don't buy some if you dont have it)
6 celery sticks, chopped
4 medium onions, chopped not too small
1-1/2 quart chicken broth, divided
2 turkey stuffing boxes

Sautee celery & onions in bacon grease & butter.

In BIG bowl, mix bread crumbs with onion & celery. Add 1 quart of chicken broth and stir (for a while) until the broth is soaked through, it takes some time for the broth to really get through everything. If you are going to stuff in the turkey, then do it now*. Add the remaining chicken broth to the remaining stuffing.

Bake covered with Tin foil, for 45 min. at 350°, or stuff in Turkey.

*The reason why you don't add all the chicken broth before stuffing it in the turkey is because the turkey juices will add more moisture to the stuffing that's inside, and you dont' want it to get really soggy.

Delicious Cranberry Sauce

1 quart fresh cranberries (ground)
2 oranges, ground
Orange zest of 1 orange
1 cup apple, ground
2 stocks (ribs) of celery
¾ cup walnuts meat (broken up)
½ cup Sugar or to taste.

Grind everything in food processor. Let stand in refrigerator for 24 hrs. before serving.

(this is the sauce we had at the Enrichment Thanksgiving Dinner)

Thanksgiving Turkey

If you don’t own a big roasting pan just buy a big tin foil tub for the turkey.

1 Reynolds Oven Bag, TURKEY SIZE
1 Tablespoon flour
12 to 24 pound turkey, thawed
Vegetable oil or butter

PREHEAT oven to 350° F

Shake flour in oven bag; place in roasting pan at least 2 inches deep
Remove neck (located in the back of the turkey), and giblets (located in front of the turkey...where the head would be) from turkey.
Rinse turkey; pat dry. Lightly stuff with your favorite stuffing recipe, if desired. Brush turkey with oil. Sprinkle the turkey with paprika for more even browning!
Place turkey in oven bag, you may need some help to do this.
Close oven bag with nylon tie; cut six ½ inch slits in top. Insert meat thermometer* through slit in bag into thickest part of inner thigh, not touching bone. Tuck ends of bag in pan.

Bake 2 to 2 ½ hrs for a 12 to16 lb turkey.
2 ½ to 3 hrs for a 16 to 20 lb. turkey.
3 to 3 ½ hrs for a 20 to 24 lb. turkey.

Or until meat thermometer reads 180° F. Add ½ hr to stuffed turkey. Let stand in oven bag for 15 min. If turkey sticks to bag, gently loosen bag from turkey before opening bag.

* you may want to buy a turkey that comes with a pop up thermometer.
Makes 12 to 32 servings.

Yummy Cranberry Salsa

1 bag Cranberries
2-3 Jalepenos
Cilantro (handful)
Green onions (abt 5-6 sticks)
2 TBSP White sugar
Pinch of Salt
Cream Cheese
Crackers (Townhouse crackers work great. Use plain crackers)

Use a food chopper and chop up the Cranberries, Jalapenos, Cilantro, and Green onions. Add Salt and Sugar.
Grab a cracker and put cream cheese on it, then a spoonful of your new yummy salsa! Its delish!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Eggs need to be room temperature (or as close to it as possible)

1. Fill a sauce pan with water 3/4 full
2. Add a dash of salt to increase boil
3. When water is boiling and bubbling, add eggs one at a time carefully
(I use a wooden spoon to dip the eggs in with)
4. Let boil for exactly 10 minutes
5. Separate water from eggs and let eggs cool on their own in the room temperature air until they are fully cool. DO NOT run under cold water as shells may break and yolk will not set correctly.
6. Mark hard-boiled eggs so that they aren't mistaken for normal eggs

Quick Egg Fact:
The cholestrol in eggs is actually not that bad for you, but yolk is what carries most of the calories in an egg. The egg white is mostly all protein.
One egg white is only 17 calories where as a yolk alone is nearly 55 calories.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cranberry/Orange Sauce

This is a delicious and nutritious cranberry sauce to serve with Turkey on thanksgiving, or make and use as jam on bread, or eat with a spoon (as I often do).

1 quart fresh cranberries
2 oranges, ground
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup apple, ground
2 stocks (ribs only) of celery
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup sugar

Mix together in food processor or blender and let stand in fridge for 24 hours before serving.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

I just made this SOOOO fast for Dane when he called to say he was coming home for lunch. It was so easy and quick and delicious. I actually used 1/2 lb. ground beef and halved the rest of the recipe (except the tomato paste) so I could use the other 1/2 lb. ground beef for something else for dinner. I left out some stuff - but it still tasted good!

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 onion chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste

1/4 cup ketchup

3 garlic cloves (I used powder cause I didn't have cloves)

1/2 Tbs. chili powder

1 tsp. paprika (didn't have any of this so I left it out)

1 tsp. dried mustard (didn't have this either)

1 tsp. white vinegar

3 Tbs. brown sugar

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Brown the meat and add all the ingredients (add sugar last so it doesn't burn). Put on hamburger buns or bread or whatever your heart desires!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Italian Cream Cheese Chicken

My family actually just calls this dish Easy and Delicious Chicken, but I took the liberty of giving it a more specified name for blog purposes.

2-4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size peices
italian dressing (I use fat free)
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth (I use water and it still tastes delicious)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme

Put chicken in crock put, soak in Italian dressing. (I use 1/2 bottle dressing for 2 ckn breasts). Let cook on low for 3-4 hours. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. After chicken is cooked, drain out liquid from crock put and put the cream cheese/soup mixture in. Let cook for one more hour. Serve over rice or pasta.

(FYI - I use 2 chicken breasts and it feeds my husband and I for 2 meals. If you want to make more than for larger groups . . . add more (than 4) chicken breasts and just double the sauce).

Monday, November 10, 2008


US CUP = FL. OZ = Milliliter

1/8 cup = 1 oz = 30 ml
1/4 cup = 2 oz = 60 ml
1/3 cup = 3 oz = 80 ml
1/2 cup = 4 oz = 118 ml
2/3 cup = 5 oz = 158 ml
3/4 cup = 6 oz = 178 ml
1 cup = 8 oz = 237 ml

1 pint = 16 oz = 500 ml
1 quart = 32 oz = 1 liter
1/2 gal = 64 oz = 2 liters

1 liter = 1000 ml

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cafe Rio dressing

1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch (pwdr mix)
1 c. mayonnaise
2 cloves chopped garlic
4-6 tomatillos (picture above)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup buttermilk (for thinner dressing add more milk up to 1/3 c.)

Put it all together and mix it in a blender.

*we now use this dressing on everything, especially quesadillas.

Bulgoogi (Korean BBQ Beef)

This is one of our favorite recipes!!! We love it, So yummy!

1 lb. beef boneless top loin or sirloin steak (I prefer the sirloin)
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp sesame or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp pepper
4-8 green onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
cooked rice

Cut beef diagonally across the grain into 1/8 " slices (thinly sliced is the key). Mix remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in (raw) beef and mushrooms until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 min. Heat 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the liquid off the beef/mushrooms. Cook in the skillet, 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until brown. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chili Cheese Dip

I made this in a LARGE quantity for a big party - so I will put the ingredients I used to get the taste, and you can make less or more as you would like.

2 lb. block of velveeta cheese (size they come in at Costco)

3 cans Hormel Beanless Chili

2 cans Rotel tomatos - lime flavor

Just heat and serve!

You can add or take away anything as you like or dislike. My hubby hates beans so I served it like the above recipe for a family party - then I added one can of black beans (drained) to the leftovers to stretch it for another party.

Everyone loved it - great appetizer and a big hit!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pork Chops with Apple Dressing

Pork chops
2 apples (recipe calls for Granny Smith but tonight we used Fuji.) 1 apple cut in small chunks and 1 cut in pretty rings for garnish.
1 1/2c apple juice

1/3c. + 1TB raspberry vinaigrette dressing
1TB grey pupon mustard (I used dijon)
1TB brown sugar

How to:
Brown the pork chops either on stove top or broil.
Preheat oven 375'F.
Mix the rasp. vinag. dressing, mustard, and b. sugar.
Make the dressing/stuffing BUT only use the apple sauce & cut up (small chunk) apple.
Put the dressing in a casserole dish and lay browned pork chops on top.
Garnish with the apple rings.
Drizzle the rasp. vinag. mustard mixture over the pork chops.
Cook 375'F for 20-25 min.

* I don't specify how many pork chops or dressing because I just kinda did however much we were going to eat. I used 2 large pork chops and about 3c of dry dressing mix for this recipe.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Delicious and Delightful Pumpkin Cook Off

A special THANK YOU for all of you who came, contributed, and tasted the delicious pumpkin recipes! We all had a great time!!! Congratulations to Kim R. for her victorious Pumpkin Surprise Pie, to Camille for her most pumpkiny Pumpkin Buckle, to Mindy for her/Macey's least pumpkiny Pumpkin Donuts, to Maria for her easily cravable Easy Pumpkin Dessert, and to Amy for her most creative Pumpkin Roll!

It seemed that everyone had a great time, EVEN the hubbies! Big hugs and thanks to everyone! Keep the recipes coming!!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

5 eggs - beat
1 to 1 1/3 cup oil
1 16oz can of pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. soda
2 - 3.4oz. instant vanilla pudding
Mix until creamy
Add chocolate chips
Bake at 350 until done ... About 23-30 minutes (depending on oven) for regular size muffins and 20-25 for mini muffins. You just kind of have to watch them and see if they are golden brown on top :)
--Submitted by Mary

Magic Pumpkin Buckle

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

3 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar

Pour butter into a 9 x 13 baking dish; set aside.
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, milk, and eggs. Combine the remaining filling ingredients. Add to pumpkin mixture. Pour over crust mixture. (Do NOT stir)
Dot with butter and sprikle sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
--Submitted by Camille

Easy Pumpkin Dessert

1 large can Easy Pumpkin Mix
4 eggs
3 cups evaporated milk (2 cans)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg yellow or while cake mix
1 cup nuts (optional)
1 1/2 cups melted butter

Mix together pumpkin, eggs, sugar, milk, and spices. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix and nuts over top. Drizzle melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or until set. Check it at the hour and if the top starts to burn, put tin foil over the top.

Serve with ice cream or cool whip
--Submitted by Maria

Pumpkin Cookies

1 box spice cake mix
1 small can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup to whole bag of chocolate chips to taste

Mix together and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes
--Submitted by Tamara

Pumpkin Surprise Pie

1 x 15 oz ready-to-roll pie crust or homemade pie crust

Cream cheese layer:
1 x 8 oz package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Pumpkin layer:
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie crust in a 9" and crimp edges. Refriderate until read to fill.

Beat cream cheese layer ingredients together and spread evenly onto pie crust

In another bowl beat pumpkin layer ingredients together and gently spoon pumpkin mixture over cream cheese mixture.

Brush edges of pie with egg/water mix and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Cover edges with foil, reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake for another 45 minutes

Cool pie completely on a rack before covering with cool whip or whipping cream.
--Submitted by Kim R.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp lemon

3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

4 Tbsp butter
1 x 8 oz cream cheese
6 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2-1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Beat eggs on high for 5 minutes; add in #1 ingredients gradually
Mix #2 ingredients and then fold into the pumpkin mixture
Flour a cookie sheet and line with parchment or wax paper
Grease paper and then flour the paper
Spread pumpkin mix on in a thin sheet and bake at 375 for 15 minutes
Remove and turn onto a very floured towel; pull off paper and roll in towel to cool for 15 minutes
It is messy
Cream #3 ingredients together
Unroll pumpkin sheet and spread cream cheese on evenly
Roll back up and sprinkle with powdered sugar and refridgerate/freeze in tin foil
--Submitted by Amy

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 x 16 oz can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

2 x 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together flour. Baking powder, cinnamon, salt, soda and spices. Add to pumpkin mixture. Spread in greased 15"x 10" and bake at 350 for 3o minutes. Cool.

Cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar gradually. Mix 'til smooth and cream. Enjoy!
--Submitted by Adrienne

Pumpkin Cake

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups pumpkin

1/2 cup butter
1 x 8 oz cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup powdered sugar

Mix dry ingredients together

Then mix beaten eggs with sugar and add to flour mixture
Add pumpkin into batter last

Pour into large cookie sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes
Cool and then frost with icing
--Submitted by Lindsay

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter melted
3 x 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened)
1 x 14 oz can sweetened condenced milk
1 x 15 oz can pumpkin
3 eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Maple Pecan Glaze:
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Combine graham crumbs, sugar, and butter and press firmly on the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan
With mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth, add pumpkin, eggs, syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; mix well. Pour into prepared pan
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Cool for 1 hour
Cover and chill at least 4 hours or stick it in the freezer for a while
To serve, spoon some maple pecan sauce over cheesecake. Garnish with whipped topping and pecans if desired.

For sauce preparations:
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 3/4 cup pure maple syrup; bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened; stir occasionally.
--Submitted by Kim S.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1 cup flour (I do half white, half wheat)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup crushed pecans or almonds
5 Tbsp softened butter

1 x 8 oz cream cheese (I use Neuftzchel cheese)
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp AllSpice
1/2 tsp salt

Combine top four ingredients cutting in butter until it looks like a crumbly topping. Press all but 3/4 cup topping into an 8 x 8 baking dish and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Then let cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile combine remaining 7 ingredients together beating it until smooth. Pour onto pressed/cooked crust after crust cools and sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup topping on it. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!
--Submitted by Jessie Eyre

Friday, October 31, 2008

My picture heavy How-To for Roasting Garlic

I intended on putting my recipe for my very favorite, sinfully delicious, ridiculously awesome Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes here. Then, however, I realized that I would first have to explain to most people how to roast garlic!

So that's what I'm going to do today. Another day, I'll give the mashed potato recipe. I always post recipes with step-by-step pictures, so.. if that's annoying let me know and I won't do it next time. This time, just deal with it. ;-)

(which, p.s., can be put in/on pretty much anything. or eaten plain. it's friggin' delicious. I'd buy roasted garlic candy, I really would)

1. First step is to get a few bulbs of garlic. I usually do about five, since I can find a million things to do with roasted garlic. Make sure you get big, sturdy bulbs. What we don't want is a head that will break into a million teeny, tiny pieces instead of a few big, beautiful cloves.

Cut off the top of the bulb, so that the little garlic clove's heads are exposed.

Roasting Garlic

2. Put the bulbs in a pie tin or a cake pan, open side up. While you do this, pretend that my pictures are taken in nice light and with better post-processing. It will make me feel better.

Roasting Garlic
They look freakishly like little pod animals. I can't look at it too long or it weirds me out. And kind of makes me feel sick, despite how much I love garlic. Eesh. Okay. Next step.

3. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil liberally over the top, ensuring that you cover all exposed cloves. Like drowning all the little pod bodies so they won't take over the earth.

Roasting Garlic

4. Salt and pepper the cloves. I like to live by the rule that you can never have too much salt. I know what you're thinking: It is OBVIOUS that I am the prime example for healthy living. =/ With that in mind, use your own judgment. But remember: Salt Tastes Good.

Roasting Garlic

Note that I'm using Kosher Salt, here. It's not necessary, but I find it much better for most cooking purposes. It's called Kosher salt because it is used in making meats Kosher. Because of its flat surface, it sticks more easily and brings the blood out. It should also be noted that you typically need nearly twice as much kosher salt to equal the same amount of saltiness that you'd get from table salt.

5. Cover the pan with tinfoil, and place it in a 375 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes.

Roasting Garlic
Pretend like you don't see the grease on the back of my oven. I really loathe cleaning ovens.

6. When the time is up, pull them out. They will look beautiful and ravishing. Like this.

Roasting Garlic

7. Important: WAIT UNTIL THEY COOL DOWN. You'd think this would be common sense, but I don't want any lawsuits on my hands, here. Give them 20 minutes. Then proceed.

Squeeze the cloves out of the bulbs. They will just POP out. Kind of like birthing a baby. A little garlic baby. Only without the blinding pain, and hours of pushing. And also, no uterus.

Roasting Garlic

Roasting Garlic

8. Et Voila! You now have a beautiful plate full of soft, incredibly flavorful garlic cloves that you can do pretty much anything with.

Roasting Garlic

You can throw the garlic peely stuff (does it have a name??) away. Unless you are attached to it, and want to bury it in your backyard under a tree like some people do with their placentas.

I think I just took the birthing analogy a little too far. Moving on.

Roasting Garlic

Put them on baked potatoes. Put them in salads, pastas, meatloafs. Stick them in marinades, stuff them into chicken breasts. Keep them in a bag in your purse and munch on them all day long. Not only are they delicious, but they will also raise your immunity. Also ward off vampires.

Just be sure to carry some breathmints. Not everyone shares my adoration for the smell of garlic.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dad's Homemade Waffles

These waffles are my dad's famous breakfast recipe. They're light and fluffy and delicious!
This one's for you, Tori!!! :)

3 Eggs separated
1 3/4 cup flour (I like to do 1 cup white flour, 3/4 cup wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3-4 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cup milk

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and beat the whites until they are fluffy with firm peaks. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and mix until well blended. Add milk, oil and egg yolks into the flour mixture and stir until well blended. Fold in egg whites until all is smooth. DON'T OVER MIX.

Pour into waffle iron and cook until the lightness or darkness you like is achieved. Serve hot with syrup or powdered sugar or strawberries and cream or peanut butter or just plain butter. It's delicious any way you do it! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kim's Famous Taco Tuesday Recipe

So I've been thinking long and hard about the perfect recipe to post on this blog. After giving it much thought and many sleepless days I have decided to contribute my secret Taco Tuesday recipe. This recipe is a bit complicated, but for the novice chef such as I, it is the perfect Tuesday meal to end the day. Here it is in all its glory!

Del Taco Tuesday -Three Tacos for 99 cents!!!

Here is what you need to do to prepare this wonderful and delicious meal. If you live in Cambria, just take a right out of the complex onto 1300 W. Take a left at the light onto State Street. Go about 1/2 a mile to a mile (exactness in this recipe is not important) until you reach a sign that says Del Taco. Pull into the drive thru. Order 3 hard or soft tacos for 99 cents. Ask for mild or if you are feeling a bit more on the adventurous side, fiery hot sauce. Pay for the meal and drive home. Voila - a yummy meal of tacos prepared in just mere minutes. For those who need help with this meal because it is a wee bit on the complicated side, I am always happy to offer my services, for just 99 cents.

Please note, this meal can only be prepared on Tuesday!!!

4 Kinds of Brownies!

Caramel-Hazelnut brownies
Makes: 36 bars
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 45 min.

Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-2/3 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 14-ounce package vanilla caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)
1 cup hazelnuts (filberts), toasted* and chopped
2 cups dark or bittersweet chocolate pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with a double-layer of foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Generously coat foil with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking power, and salt; set aside.
2. In a very large bowl, combine sugar and melted butter. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well mixed. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until mixed. Add cocoa powder mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (dough will be thick). Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and milk. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 1-1/4 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stopping to stir every 30 seconds. Immediately stir in hazelnut liqueur and 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts. Drizzle caramel mixture over top of batter in the pan.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle immediately with chocolate pieces. Let stand for 2 minutes to melt chocolate. Using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate over top of brownies. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts.
5. Cool in pan on wire rack. If necessary, chill for 15 minutes to set chocolate. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut brownies out of the pan. Cut into bars. Makes 36 bars.
6. *Test Kitchen Tip: To toast hazelnuts (filberts), preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Place the warm nuts on a clean kitchen towel. Rub the nuts with the towel to remove the loose skins.
7. To Store: Place bars in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cream Cheese Marbled Brownies
Makes: 42 brownies
Prep: 30 minutes Bake: 40 minutes

Nonstick spray for baking
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
2-1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy foil, extending foil 2 inches over edges of pan. Lightly coat foil with nonstick spray for baking; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and the 2 tablespoons butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until mixture is fluffy. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar, beating until light. Beat in the 1 egg and the 1 tablespoon flour just until combined. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the 1 1/4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and the 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat just until melted. Transfer to a large bowl. Gradually add the 2 1/4 cups sugar, beating on low speed until combined. Add the 4 eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
5. Spread the chocolate batter in the prepared baking pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture in mounds on top of chocolate batter. Using a table knife or narrow metal spatula, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter to marble. Sprinkle with pecans.
6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use the foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into brownies. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Makes 42 servings.

Cheesecake Brownies
Prep: 40 min. Bake: 10 min. + 30 min.

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1 cup granulated sugar
10 miniature chocolate-coated caramel-topped nougat bars with peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup purchased chocolate fudge frosting
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine oats, the 1/2 cup flour, the brown sugar, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in the 6 tablespoons melted butter. Pat into prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, for cheesecake layer: In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, egg yolk, and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar; spoon in small dollops over the partially baked layer. Sprinkle with chopped nougat bars.
3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the 1/4 cup melted butter, melted chocolate, and vanilla. Beat in egg. In a small bowl, stir together the 2/3 cup flour, the baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to chocolate mixture, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined. Carefully spoon over cheesecake layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
4. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Spread with chocolate fudge frosting. Cut into bars.
Makes: 32 bars

TriLevel Brownies
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 35 min.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Walnut halves (optional)
1. For bottom layer, stir together oats, the 1/2 cup flour, the brown sugar, and baking soda. Stir in the 1/2 cup melted butter. Pat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 11x7x1-1/2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, for middle layer, stir together egg, granulated sugar, the 2/3 cup flour, the milk, the 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 ounce melted chocolate, the 1 teaspoon vanilla, and the baking powder until smooth. Fold in chopped walnuts. Spread batter over baked layer in pan. Bake about 25 minutes more or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Set on a wire rack while preparing top layer.
3. For top layer, in a medium saucepan heat and stir 1 ounce chocolate and the 2 tablespoons butter until melted. Stir in the powdered sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough hot water (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a mixture that is almost pourable. Spread over brownies. If desired, garnish with walnut halves. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 32 brownies.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and bake brownies as directed. Frost and cool. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.