Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chocolate Pear Tart

We had a little get together after work the other night and I brought this for a dessert. It combines yummy chocolate, almonds and sweet pears in a rich, gooey brownie like dessert. I used a tart pan without a removable bottom, but they recommend one with a removable bottom or you could use a springform pan.

Chocolate Pear Tart From Everyday Food
8 T unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup whole blanched almonds
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
2-3 firm ripe Bartlett pears
lemon juice
2 T apple jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9" removable bottom tart pan heavily with butter; set aside.

In a food processor, combine almonds and sugar; process until very finely ground. Add butter, eggs, cocoa, vanilla, salt and almond extract, if using; process until combined. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.

Peel, halve and core pears; cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices, rubbing them with lemon as you work to prevent discoloration (I sliced them into a bowl and tossed them in lemon juice). Arrange slices on chocolate mixture, slightly overlapping, without pressing in in a single ring around the edge of the tart.

Place pan on baking sheet; bake until top is puffed and a toothpick inserted in center of chocolate mixture comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Briefly heat jelly in the microwave or on the stove until liquefied. Gently brush pears with jelly; let set at least 20 minutes. Remove from pan and serve.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pear Zucchini Bread

Even though it is just me at home for a few months, I still enjoy baking bread for something quick and yummy to eat in the morning while I drink my coffee. I stashed some shredded zucchini in the freezer from my summer harvest and I recently purchased some pears from a high school student in the FFA. I found this recipe and since I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided I should give it a try. These loaves turned out moist and delicious! A tasty change from regular zucchini bread.

Pear Zucchini Bread From Taste of Home's Quick Cooking
2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I substituted canola oil)
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped peeled ripe pears (2-3 medium)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the pears and zucchini. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in nuts. Pour into 2 greased 9 x5" loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Traditional Chex Mix

I don't know why, but I always feel like Christmas just isn't going to be the same if I don't make Chex mix. The ingredients are available all year and would be delicious anytime of year, but it always seems like this is a treat that I need to make for the holidays. I tend to use this simple recipe every year and I've used it for so long I don't even remember where it came from. It is delicious!

Traditional Chex Mix
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
4 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 2/3 cup corn chex
2 2/3 cup rice chex
2 2/3 cup wheat chex
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup pretzels

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In open roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Remove. Stir in seasoned salt and Worcestershire sauce. Gradually add cereals, nuts and pretzels, stirring until all pieces are evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in air tight container. Makes 9 cups.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Potato Soup

I'm cooking for one right now, for the next few months anyway. I still like to make a good meal, even just for myself. I don't go all out everyday since there are a lot more leftovers feeding just myself, but I do enjoy eating good food and making a yummy meal, even for 1. With the cold weather we've been having, I love a nice hot soup and that's what I made tonight for dinner. This potato soup recipe comes from my Simply in Season book and luckily I still have potatoes and carrots from my garden to include in this delicious soup. I love using the veggies that I grew this summer in the middle of a cold winter!

Potato Soup From Simply in Season

2 T butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cups potatoes, diced
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced or shredded
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, dried majoram, celery salt, dill weed or paprika (I used a mix of a couple of these spices)
2 cups milk
3 T flour
1 cup diced ham, optional
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion. Saute until translucent. Add veggies and spices, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Mix the milk and flour together until smooth. Add to soup and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add ham and cheese if desired.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Chocolate Cookies

I tried a new holiday cookie recipe this year and was pretty pleased with it. These chocolate shortbread cookies are so buttery, flaky and chocolaty. They were easy to make using the food processor and look really cute. These are definitely going to be included in my Christmas goodie boxes this year!

Christmas Chocolate Cookies From Reader's Digest
2 1/4 sticks of butter (18 T)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
colored sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Put all cookie ingredients into food processor and mix. Or, if you prefer, cream butter and sugar in bowl; when you have a light, soft, whipped mixture, beat in 1/3 cup cocoa powder. Beat in flour with baking soda and powder. Pinch off about 1 T batter at a time (batter will be soft and sticky). Roll into ball, then slightly flatten into fat disks as you place them, well spaced, on cookie sheet; about 12 should fit.

Bake each batch 15 minutes; cookies will appear underdone but will continue to bake while cooling. Tops will be slightly cracked.

For topping, whisk cocoa powder, powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract in small saucepan over low heat until combined. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. When cookies are cool, drizzle with 1 T chocolate glaze, using back of spoon to help spread mixture. After you've iced 6 cookies, scatter with sprinkles before icing dries. Continue icing in batches until all cookies are topped.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

I was ambitious the other night and made the Italian Venison, mashed potatoes and corn and I even made these bars for dessert. I love desserts, but don't make them too often since I'm busy preparing the rest of dinner and hubby doesn't have a huge sweet tooth. I know I shouldn't be eating the whole pan myself!

These bars were pretty easy to put together and were very yummy. We each ate a few of them and I sent the remaining 2/3 of the pan with my husband to work. They will finish anything there! This is a great recipe if you're looking for a quick, throw together dessert for dinner or a bake sale or unexpected company.

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars From Taste of Home's Quick Cooking
2/3 cup butter softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups quick cooking oats
1 pkg (11 1/2 oz) milk chocolate chips (I used semisweet)
2/3 cup peanut butter
4 Heath candy bars, crushed (I had some toffee bits that I sprinkled on instead, about 1/2 cup)

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add corn syrup and vanilla; beat well. Stir in oats; press into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter; stir until blended. Spread over cooled bars. Sprinkle with crushed candy bars. Refrigerate until set before cutting.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beer Bread

I love the Tastefully Simple beer bread mixes, but I don't like the $5 or so that it costs to buy the mix. I found this recipe on recipezaar.com and it turned out great! This bread is so yummy hot out of the oven and just as tasty after it has cooled. Such an easy, quick bread to make and it would be a great addition to some piping hot chili or other great soup.

Beer Bread From recipezaar.com
3 cups all purpose flour (use a spoon to measure flour into measuring cup)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz can of beer
1/4 cup melted butter

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients together and add the beer. Stir until all the flour is mixed in. Pour the batter into a greased 8x4 loaf pan and pour the melted butter over the top. Bake for about 1 hour until the bread tests done.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Italian Beef or Venison

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful time in WI at my parents house. We had a great time with family and puppy dogs (since we had to bring our 3 with us last minute-thanks mom and dad for not kicking us all to the curb:)! Back to cooking and baking as soon as we got home. My husband is a big deer hunter and he worked on filling the freezer this fall with venison. I pulled out one of the roasts the other night and made this recipe with it. It was frozen solid when I put it in, but after about 2 1/2 hours it was tender and delicious. The gravy was awesome over some mashed potatoes.

Italian Beef (or Venison) Modified from Cooking for a Cure
3 to 5 pound boneless rump roast or venison roast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp fennel
1 1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp anise seed
1 1/2 tsp sweet basil
1 1/2 tsp accent
1 1/8 tsp paprika
2 1/2 tsp salt
1-2 pkg brown gravy mix (I used 1 pkg and that was enough gravy with a smaller roast)

Sprinkle spices over roast and roast meat for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Add gravy mix with water and continue to cook for another 2-3 hours until tender. You can combine everything in a slow cooker and cook 6 to 8 hours. Slice and serve on buns or over mashed potatoes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baked Stuffed Apples

Tonight we had a spinach bacon quiche and these baked apples for dinner. I still have a few pounds of apples I picked from a local orchard and turned many into pies and applesauce, but saw this recipe and had to try it. I was working out at the gym a few weeks ago and watching the food network (probably the only person in the world who watches the food network while running on the treadmill) and on Tyler's Ultimate he was making pork roast with Baked Stuffed Apples. These sounded so good-I had to give them a try. I halved the recipe since it is just my husband and I and we have a couple apples left over for lunches tomorrow. Here's the whole recipe-give it a try!

Baked Stuffed Apples From Tyler's Ultimate on the Food Network
8 Gala or Golden Delicious apples (I used Red Reagent)
lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 to 2 large corn muffins, crumbled, reserve some for the top
1/2 cup golden raisins
6 sage leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 cup hard cider

Mix the butter, corn muffin crumbles, raisins, sage, garlic, brown sugar and salt and pepper in bowl. Core apples and slightly enlarge cavity in center. Brush center with lemon juice. Spoon stuffing into the center of the apple. Place filled apples in baking dish. Sprinkle remaining muffin crumbles on top and pour cider around apples (I used some fruit wine since I did not have any hard cider). Bake 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees.

Cappuccino Cake Brownies

I had a fantastic baking weekend. I wish I would have gotten more done, but I have dinner rolls, 2 apples pies and 2 poppy seed rolls in the freezer to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. I had to work all day today (the joys of working in a SNF) because of the holiday this week and our travels to WI so I didn't get much baking done today. I did make a yummy quiche, some baked apples and these brownies for dinner tonight. These were thrown together literally in about 5 minutes and were full of chocolaty coffee goodness. A great way to finish off dinner!

Cappuccino Cake Brownies From Taste of Home
1 T instant coffee granules
2 tsp boiling water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a small bowl, dissolve coffee in water; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips. In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, melted chocolate and coffee mixture. Combine flour and cinnamon; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 8x8" baking pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cute into squares.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Butternut Bisque

I was home alone today, except for the 3 dogs and cat. The hubby went hunting and I spent the day baking for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a busy day that went by quickly and I was very happy that I made this soup for dinner tonight. This was so good! I used carrots and squash grown in my garden this summer which made this extra special.

Butternut Bisque From Simply in Season
2 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups winter squash, cooked
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 cup evaporated milk or additional plain yogurt
2 T maple syrup

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion and carrots and saute over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree in blender or food processor in batches the squash, yogurt, evaporated milk and maple syrup. You could also puree the carrot mixture at this point or just add the squash puree mixture to the carrot mixture for a chunkier soup (I didn't puree the carrot mixture and loved this soup). Cook soup over medium heat until hot. Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder if desired. Garnish with sour cream or plain yogurt.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Freestyle Apple Tart

I still have apples from the orchard to use up and this is the perfect way! I made this tart last year a few times, but this is the first time this year that I've whipped this up. It is really simple and so yummy. I love the cream cheese surprise! Give this a try, you won't be disappointed.

Freestyle Apple Tart From Kraft.com
1 refrigerated ready to use pie crust
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 red or green apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 T flour
1 tsp cinnamon sugar

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line pie plate with crust. Carefully spread cream cheese over bottom of crust in a 6" circle in center. In bowl, toss apples with flour, sugar and cinnamon. Spoon over cream cheese. Carefully fold edges of pie crust partially over apples. Bake 25 minutes, covering loosely with foil the last 5 minutes. Cool. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

I survived the 60 mile walk without any injury and barely any soreness in the days after. Yeah! It was an amazing experience and I look forward to doing it again in the future. For now, I'm back home and trying to get settled back in. We've had a busy week with our car in the shop but I've still managed to make some yummy and not too time consuming meals for dinner. This one would have been pretty quick to make if I used regular canned pumpkin, but off course I usually like to do most from scratch and roasted the pumpkin while cooking the sausage and boiling the pasta. Here's to multitasking! This recipe sounds kind of odd, but it was really good. The hubby even really enjoyed it!

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta From Simply in Season
1 pound penne pasta (or other chunky pasta)
1 pound bulk sweet sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 T fresh sage, cut in thin strips
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup pumpkin or winter squash, cooked and pureed
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
coarse salt and pepper

Cook pasta, drain and set aside. In large deep frypan coated with cooking spray, brown sausage over medium-high heat. When cooked, remove meat and set aside. Drain fat from frypan and return pan to stove. Add onion and garlic to frypan and saute until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add bay leaf, sage and white wine or broth and cook until half of the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Mix in remaining broth and pumpkin. Continue stirring until sauce starts to bubble. Add sausage and reduce heat. Stir in milk. Add remaining seasonings and simmer 5-10 minutes to thicken. Remove bay leaf. Pour sauce over cooked pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bounty Rice

I've been kind of busy around here and am leaving tomorrow night for a 3 day walk in Phoenix, AZ for breast cancer. It's been hectic here, but I've still been doing some cooking and baking. I made this dish for dinner last night to use up some cabbage that I had bought at the farmers market a few weeks ago. Cabbage keeps really well, but I figured it would be best to use it up in a few weeks versus a few months. My husband doesn't really care for cabbage either so I thought I could kind of hide it in this rice casserole. It did turn out really tasty and Ryan did eat the cabbage too!

Bounty Rice From Simply in Season

1/2 to 1 lb ground beef or sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
4 cups canned tomatoes
4 cups shredded cabbage
3 cups cooked rice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Saute meat, onions and green pepper in large frypan until meat is browned and veggies are soft. Add the next 7 ingredients and mix well. Continue cooking on stovetop 10-15 minutes until cabbage is tender or place in large baking dish. Stir in sour cream. If baking, bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes until cabbage is tender and then top with cheese. Continue baking until cheese melts. For stovetop, stir in sour cream and top with cheese. Let melt and serve.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

We have eaten up all of the ham I made the other week-finally! The ham I baked was delicious and all the meals I made with the leftovers were delicious too...we just had a lot of ham around here. I made this scalloped potato recipe last week with the rest of the leftovers. This version is creamy, but does not have cheese in the sauce. It was really tasty and I loved the thyme that was added to the sauce, just giving it a stronger taste. I really liked this scalloped potato recipe and will definitely make it again, probably after I bake a ham some weekend again!

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham From Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2000
6 T butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups milk
6 cups thinly sliced potatoes, peeled
1 1/2 cup chopped fully cooked ham
1 small onion, grated or chopped

In a saucepan, melt 4 T of butter. Stir in flour, parsley, salt, thyme and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Combine potatoes, ham and onion; place half in a greased 2 1/2 qt baking dish. Top with half of the sauce; repeat layers. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 65 to 75 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Dot with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Double Chocolate Scones

I've been making scones lately. I've never made them before-I've eaten these delicious breakfast biscuits before, but never tried making them. I have discovered that they are incredibly easy to make and very yummy. I tried a pumpkin scone recipe with cinnamon icing and this recipe for Double Chocolate scones. These are good enough to eat for dessert!

Double Chocolate Scones From Midwest Living Recipes for All Seasons
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (You could also use your food processor for this step.) Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together egg, the 1/2 cup whipping cream and vanilla. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Add chocolate pieces and pecans, if you like. Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough 10 to 12 strokes or until nearly smooth. (Handle dough as little as possible to keep it light.) Divide dough in half. Lightly roll or pat each dough half into a 4 1/2 inch circle. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place wedges 1" apart on an ungreased baking sheet. If you like, brush scones with additional whipping cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 12 scones.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

I'm probably one of the only people who likes to watch the Food Network while I am working out at the gym. We don't have this station at home, but I really like to watch any show about food. Surprise, huh?

Anyway, the other day while I was at the gym, Giada was on and making this risotto. It sounded so good and not too complicated. I grew some butternut squash in the garden this year so I have a few and am always looking for different ways to prepare them. This just sounded like it would be so yummy. It's Italian comfort food and it is good! The only think I had to buy was the vanilla bean which is not cheap, but I only used half and it was worth it.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto From the Food Network and Giada De Laurentiis

4 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
1 large vanilla bean
3 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash, about 12 ounces
2 T butter, plus 1 T
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer, reduce heat. Add the squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 T butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to absorb before adding more broth, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining T butter and salt. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with fresh chopped chives if desired. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cheesy Vegetable and Ham Chowder

Yum! Yum, yum. This soup was really thick and creamy and so good. I cooked up a big ham Sunday night and we still have a good portion left. This soup was such a great way to use up more of the delicious, salty ham leftovers. There were oodles of veggies (many from our garden), creamy cheese base and of course the tasty ham. What a filling, simple soup to enjoy as the weather turns cooler.

Cheesy Vegetable and Ham Chowder From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
2 cups water
2 cups chopped potato
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or 10 oz American cheese, torn
1 15-oz can cream-style corn
2 cups cubed cooked ham

In a large saucepan combine water, potato, carrot, celery and onion. Bring to a boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Do not drain. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour and 1/4 tsp black pepper; add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Add cheese to milk mixture. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Add cheese mixture to potato mixture. Stir in corn and ham. Heat through but do not boil. If desired, season with additional pepper.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Apple Praline Pie

I have a big box of apples from a local orchard and have been using them up in various desserts-crumbles, pies, etc. I love to try different pie recipes I find and this one was amazing! This pie combined the delicious apples baked in a flaky crust with a caramelly topping mixed with crunchy pecans. So good! I liked only having to make the bottom crust and trying something different from the streusel topping.

Apple Praline Pie From Simply in Season
3 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
2 T flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
9" unbaked pastry shell
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 T honey
2 T butter
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

Combine the first 5 ingredients, tossing to coat apples. Place apples in the pastry shell and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Combine the brown sugar, milk, honey and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add nuts. Remove pie from oven and pour honey-nut mixture over top. Continue baking at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

Today was a wonderful, lazy day. I enjoyed sleeping in, watching some football and some more being lazy. I like to try to make a bigger dinner on Sunday nights since I usually have more time on Sunday to prepare a meal than I want to spend on dinner during the week. Tonight we had Honey Glazed ham, buttery spaghetti squash, bourbon sweet potatoes and applesauce. So good! It was actually a pretty simple dinner to put together-little prep time and long cooking times made for a yummy Sunday night dinner.

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes From Everyday Food
3 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" wedges
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 T bourbon
coarse salt and pepper
3 T butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange sweet potatoes in a 9 x 13" pan. Add sugar and bourbon and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and glazed, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, tossing every 30 minutes. Stir in butter before serving.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

This is a quick, tasty meal when you don't want to spend a lot of time putting together dinner, but are looking for a meal that will be hot and satisfying. We had this for dinner last night and really enjoyed it. If you like bruschetta, give this a try!

Bruschetta Chicken Bake From Kraft Food and Family
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp dry basil leaves
1 cup Mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened. Layer chicken, basil, cheese and stuffing in 13 x 9 pan or 3 qt baking dish. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is heated through.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

This soup was amazing! I've been meaning to post this for a few days, but haven't found the time. This creamy soup was so yummy; my husband gave it a 10 :) It took a little while to cook the rice, but besides the cooking time, it was relatively simple to put together. There was a delicious blend of cream, salty ham and crunchy pecans. I'd substitute some cooked and crumbled bacon at the end if you don't like ham or just forgo the meat all together for a meatless dish.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup From Taste of Home's Quick Cooking
4 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
3 T chopped green onions
1/4 cup shredded carrot
3 T chopped pecans
6 T butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth
1/2 cup diced fully cooked ham
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup half and half cream

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 50-55 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes; drain and set aside.
In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute the onions, carrot and pecans in butter for 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the ham, pepper and wild rice. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Reduce heat. Add cream and heat through (do not boil).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

I've never made one of these impossible pies before (the crust kind of forms by itself). I found myself a bit unprepared for dinner one night and this looked like it would be easy enough to throw together. I defrosted the meat in the microwave, chopped up some onion and green pepper and had it ready to put in the oven in about 10 to 15 minutes. I like meals with not a lot of prep time when I don't have much time. This was pretty tasty. Serve with ketchup and mustard and pickle slices for a real cheeseburger taste.

Impossible Cheeseburger Pie From Grandma's recipes

1 lb ground beef

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 chopped green pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3/4 cup bisquick (use homemade version here)

1 1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grease 10" pie plate. Brown beef, onion and peppers in skillet until brown. Drain. Stir in salt and pepper and spread in pie plate. Sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese. Beat bisquick, milk and eggs about 1 minute. Pour into pie plate over meat. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake about 5 minutes more. Let sit a few minutes before slicing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Apple Streusel Muffins

I have a bounty of apples to put to good use and this recipe was perfect. Mixing all the ingredients in one bowl and not peeling the apples make it a quick muffin to whip up. The streusel topping gives it a little crunch that's delicious!

Apple Streusel Muffins From Fall Baking
2 eggs beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 medium apple, unpeeled, finely chopped

Streusel topping:
1/4 cup sugar
3 T flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 T butter, softened

Heat oven to 400. Grease bottom only of 18 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. Make streusel topping (mix dry ingredients and then cut in butter until crumbly); set aside. Beat eggs, sour cream and butter in medium bowl. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda until just moistened. Stir in apple. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon topping. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chicken Tetrazzini

Yesterday was my husband and I 3rd wedding anniversary. I can't believe how quickly 3 years goes by. I'm so fortunate that I have such a wonderful, loving husband!

I decided to make dinner at home since I can make a delicious meal for a fraction of the cost of going out to eat. I really like to cook and dinner came together rather quickly since I planned the night before what it would be. We enjoyed this chicken tetrazzini recipe with garlic bread made from some of the leftover french bread I baked the day before, snow peas (picked from our garden and frozen a few months ago) sauteed in a butter garlic sauce and peanut butter pies with yummy chocolate that I picked up at the bakery. We had a great dinner and a great anniversary!

Chicken Tetrazzini From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

8 oz dried spaghetti or linguine
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced green onion or regular onion
2 T butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups half and half (can substitute cream or milk)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
2 T dry sherry (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I chopped mine up and did not toast)
2 T snipped fresh parsley

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook mushrooms and onion in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour, pepper, salt and nutmeg. Add broth and half and half all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken, sherry and half of the cheese. Gently stir in spaghetti. Transfer pasta mixture to a 2 quart rectangle baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and almonds. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crusty French Bread

It has been unseasonably cold here the last few weeks. It feels like we've just belly flopped into winter with temps in the 30s and snow on the ground. Thankfully, it looks like we might be getting normal temps back this weekend. Yeah!

With the change in weather, there is a definite change in our meals. I've been preparing more casseroles, chili and roasts. Tonight I made some soup, a recipe from my Cooking for a Cure cookbook-Pasta e Fagoili (Look for the recipe here later if you don't have the cookbook). I made this french bread recipe to serve with dinner, fresh and hot from the oven. I use my bread maker quite often to mix up dough, giving me more time for other tasks. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook and it looked easy enough to mix up (no kneading required!!). It turned out great! Definitely try this recipe if you don't have a bread machine or even if you do and serve it up fresh with a hot soup or some chili.

Crusty French Bread From Taste of Home
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 T shortening, melted (I used canola oil instead)
4 cups flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water. Add sugar, salt, shortening and remaining water; stir until dissolved. Add flour and stir until smooth (do not knead). Cover and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled. Turn onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half; let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into a 10x8" rectangle. Roll up from a long side; pinch to seal. Place seam side down on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the tops with cornmeal if desired. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. With a sharp knife, make 5 diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spice 'n Nice Streusel Cheesecake

Who doesn't love cheesecake? It's not something that I make too often, but I love cheesecake. This bite size little cheesecake squares were so simple to make. I made them for a baby shower this weekend and received many compliments on them. The pumpkin pie spice gives them a nice fall, spiced flavor. Mmmm!

Spice 'n Nice Streusel Cheesecake From Gold Medal Fall Baking

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Streusel (see below)
2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, flour and 1/4 cup sugar with spoon. Press in ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 15 minutes. Make streusel; set aside. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Pour over crust. Sprinkle streusel over cream cheese mixture. Bake about 35 minutes or just until puffed and center is dry. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely. Store covered in refrigerator.

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking or old fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (may substitute cinnamon)
Mix all ingredients with spoon until crumbly.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

Here's a great recipe for a quicker, more zipped up version of lasagna. This turned our really good and gave us plenty of leftovers for lunches throughout the week.

Mexican Lasagna From Weekday Gourmet Meals in Minutes

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I used 1 pound)
1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix or use homemade mix here
1 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned (used up the last of my garden tomatoes)
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (4 oz) green chilies
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
10 corn tortillas (I used 8 flour tortillas)
2 1/2 cups (10 oz) grated Monterey Jack cheese (or cheddar cheese)
*I also added a small summer squash from my garden, just chopped it up and added with the tomatoes.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef, stirring until cooked through; drain fat. Add Taco seasoning mix, seasoned salt, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chilies; blend well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. In small bowl, combine ricotta cheese and eggs. In bottom of 9 x13 baking dish, spread 1/2 of meat mixture. Top with 1/2 of tortillas; spread 1/2 of ricotta mixture over tortillas and top with 1/2 of grated Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat layering, ending with grated cheese. Bake, uncovered, in 350 degree oven 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Easy Macaroni and Cheese

I woke up to snow on the ground this morning. October 10th and snow!! This is going to be one LONG winter.

As the weather cools off and the leaves change colors and fall to the ground, it makes me drawn to warm stews, casseroles, crock pot meals-foods that cook and simmer for an hour or more. It makes me feel warmer and it makes our house smell yummy with the aroma of dinner permeating the air.

I enjoy macaroni and cheese, made from scratch. I don't remember the last time I bought a box of mac and cheese at the store because I have found so many good from scratch recipes for it. Granted if you want dinner ready in 10-15 minutes you're out of luck, but if you want a hot, delicious casserole that's cheesy and filling, try this recipe. You won't be disappointed.

Easy Macaroni and Cheese From Midwest Living

1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cup dried elbow macaroni
1 cup cubed cooked ham (optional, but delicious)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese or cubed American cheese (8 oz)
3 T flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
4 cups milk

In a 2 to 3 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Pour 2 T of the butter into a 2 to 2 1/2 qt casserole or baking dish. Add dried macaroni; stir to coat with butter. Add ham if you like. Stir in cheese.

For sauce: Stir flour, salt and black pepper into the remaining 2 T butter in saucepan. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly (mine didn't thicken up too much, but it turned out great anyway). Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Pour sauce over macaroni mixture.

Bake, covered, in a 325 degree oven 1 hour or until macaroni is tender and coated with sauce. Stir, let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Streusel Apple Pie

This is also known as the best apple pie recipe ever! I am not even sure where I found this recipe, but it is so easy and so incredibly yummy-it is surely one of my favorite apple pie recipes. Last year I was raising money for breast cancer research and one of my fundraisers was baking pies to sell at work. These were definitely a huge hit. I love the sweet apple filling and the buttery streusel topping. Enjoy a slice warm with some vanilla ice cream-you can't beat it!

Streusel Apple Pie

1 unbaked pie shell
6 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
3 T flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
Streusel: 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

Mix the pie ingredients. Pour into the unbaked shell. Combine the streusel topping (I like to combine in my food processor) until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the pie. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Cover the top with foil for the last 25 minutes to prevent over browning.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread

I made a big batch of raspberry jam the other day and wanted to try some this week. We don't normally buy bread at the store and usually I tend to make more of a quick bread or muffins during the week for breakfasts. I wanted to make more of yeast bread to try my jam on and I found this one which sounded absolutely wonderful. It really turned out great! I used my bread machine to mix the dough and let it raise in there, but then took it out and baked it in the oven. I prefer the loaves that come out of the oven versus the squat loaves from the bread pan. This is a really good, slightly sweet bread machine recipe. Great toasted with jam in the morning or with peanut butter as a sandwich for lunch.

Honey Banana Whole Wheat Bread
1/2 cup warm water
1 T butter or vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
3 T honey
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup bread flour
1 small banana, sliced
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast

Add to bread machine in order listed. Run dough cycle. Watch as dough is mixed and add more water or flour as needed to achieve the right dough consistency. Remove when machine beeps and place in greased loaf pan. Let raise for 30 more minutes in warm place. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Delicious!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mexican Rice

I went raspberry picking the other night and brought home 12 pounds of berries. So good! They were turned into jam, wine, frozen berries and frozen puree. The picking took a little longer than expected and I didn't have anything planned for dinner. I thought about stopping and picking up something on my way home, but then remembered this recipe from the cookbook that I put together. It was quick to put together which was a relief since my stomach was looking forward to dinner. The longest part was defrosting and browning the beef. This isn't a very fancy dish, but it is filling and delicious!

Mexican Rice From Cooking for a Cure
1 lb ground beef
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can chili style canned tomatoes (I used plain diced tomatoes)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
Cooked rice

Brown hamburger and add tomatoes, sauce, beans and spices. Let simmer. Cook desired amount of rice. Serve hamburger mixture over rice. Garnish with sour cream, cheese and a dash of hot sauce if desired.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins

I still have last year's pumpkin puree to use up in the freezer. I love pumpkin and the cooler weather gets me excited for fall and leaves changing and the delicious scent of pumpkin pies or muffins cooking in the oven. These muffins are from a Healthy Cooking magazine from Taste of Home and they make a yummy breakfast muffin on these cool mornings. The oat bran and pumpkin bulk up these muffins with 4 g of fiber which makes them pretty filling too!

Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins From Healthy Cooking

1 1/2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 T canola oil

In a small bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites, pumpkin, milk and oil until well blended. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray; fill half full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack.

Mom's Frittata

Ryan and I enjoy eating meat, but once or twice a week I do like to try and make a meatless dinner. It's usually cheaper and often healthier too. This week, I found a recipe for a frittata in Woman's day. I had garden veggies to use up and this was a delicous alternative to the usual dinners. I had to cook mine a little longer than suggested, but I wanted to make sure that the egg was fully cooked (I hate runny eggs).

Mom's Frittata From Women's Day

2 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup diced potatoes (preboiled or baked)
1 cup chopped onion
8 large eggs
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
Marinara sauce, heated and chopped basil, optional

Turn on broiler. Heat a T oil in a 11 to 12" nonstick skillet. Add vegetables; saute 5 minutes or until almost tender. Whisk egg mixture in a medium bowl. Pour into skillet, shaking pan a bit to distribute evenly. Cover and cook (without stirring) about 4 minutes over medium-low heat, until set on bottom and sides (it will still be runny in center). Wrap skillet handle with foil. Broil 2 minutes or until center is firm. Serve out of skillet or loosen edges and invert onto platter.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pork Roast Dijon

My husband and I in our goal to eat more locally produced food, purchased half a pig a few months ago. We picked the meat up from the locker and it turns out that a 1/2 a pig is quite a bit of meat. We have chops, sausage, bacon, hams and roasts filling up our freezer. I figured tonight would be a good time to make one of those good pork roasts.

I found this recipe for pork roast Dijon and we had the best meal. I threw some carrots and potatoes chunked up onto the roaster about halfway through cooking the roast that were cooked nicely and slightly browned by the time the meat was finished. We had a nice side of homemade applesauce as well and it was perfect! A wonderful Sunday meal!

Pork Roast Dijon Modified from Six Ingredients or Less Healthy Cooking

2 1/2 pound pork roast
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp rosemary (I cut 4 fresh sprigs off my rosemary plant and used these instead)

Spray a roast pan with cooking spray. Pat roast dry with a paper towel. Place in roast pan. Spread mustard over top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 2 sprigs over top and 2 sprigs of rosemary on the side of the roast or sprinkle dried rosemary over top. Roast, uncovered, at 375 for 1 1/2 hours or until thermometer reaches 170 degrees. (My roast was frozen slightly so I roasted for about 2 1/2 hours.) Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grated Apple Cake

It's almost fall!!! That means that it is once again apple time. Shortly after we moved into our house 2 years ago, we planted an apple tree. Since then, we've also added 3 more apple trees, 3 pear trees, apricot and mulberry trees as well as a few raspberry bushes. We were fortunate to get about a dozen apples from the first tree we planted and they were delicious! I made this apple cake one night for dessert and we enjoyed it for breakfast the rest of the week :) It was even better knowing that the apples were grown by us in our backyard.

Grated Apple Cake From Country Cookin'

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup sour milk (milk with a tsp or so of lemon juice added)
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded raw apples, peeled
1/2 cup nuts
Topping: 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup chopped nuts

Cream sugars and shortening. Add beaten egg, sour milk and soda. Sift flour, salt and baking powder and add to the mixture. Next add the apples and nuts. Pour into greased pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar and nut topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in a 9x13" pan.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Penne Arrabbiata

I didn't have a lot of time to put dinner together tonight since I was working on making homemade wine. I ordered some grapes from Ace Hardware in town and I got 5 pounds of Frontenac grapes from a local winery. I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try. I'll tell you how it turns out in a few weeks!

After all the wine making I didn't have a lot of time to put dinner together so I pulled out this recipe that I had been wanting to make for a while. It looked relatively quick and simple. It turned out Delicious! I enjoyed using our home grown tomatoes for the sauce too.

Penne Arrabbiata From Grandma's Recipe File
3 medium garlic cloves, divided
3 T olive oil, divided
2 T tomato paste
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes in juice, chopped (I used about 8 medium size fresh tomatoes, chopped)
1 bay leaf
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp salt
1 lb penne, cooked
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Chop 1 garlic clove. Heat 1 T oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes in juice and bay leaf; simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice remaining 2 garlic cloves. Heat 1 T oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until just beginning to turn pale golden, 30 seconds. Add parsley, basil and red pepper flakes; cook 30 seconds. Add wine and boil 30 seconds. Stir into tomato sauce and salt; simmer 4 to 5 minutes.

Toss sauce with hot pasta in a large serving bowl. Drizzle pasta with remaining 1 T oil. Serve with cheese and garnish with parsley and basil.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fresh Corn Saute

We got some corn from my in-laws and a friend at work and we've been enjoying corn on the cob often around here. I found this recipe in my seasonal cookbook: Simply in Season and it was a delicious change. We are fortunate to have fresh green pepper and onion from our garden to use and yummy South Dakota honey to cook with. The bacon and cheese made this dish extra yummy. We enjoyed this with grilled burgers and squash and some homemade potato salad made with homegrown potatoes.

Fresh Corn Saute
3 T butter
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
4 cups corn
1/4 cup water
1 T honey
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 T red sweet pepper (optional)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Melt butter in fry pan. Saute green pepper and onion 2 minutes. Add the corn, water, honey, salt, pepper and red pepper if using and stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese and bacon over top and serve.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was another delicious recipe from the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book by Barbara Kingsolver. I had 1 last zucchini from my garden (the vine borers killed off my plants) and this was the perfect way to use up some of it. These taste kind of like zucchini bread in cookie form and were a great treat to bring to work. I cut down on the amount of chocolate chips and they were still yummy!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 T vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips (I used about 6 oz of mini chocolate chips)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients in separate , small bowl and then add to the liquid mixture. Stir the zucchini and chocolate chips into the other ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Vegetable Dip

We are harvesting many tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and peppers from our garden right now. I like raw veggies, but my husband is not the biggest fan. He is getting much better and I can sneak chopped up cukes in salads and even tomatoes sometimes and he'll eat them. More often though, he gives me all of the veggies that he doesn't eat from dinner. I found this recipe and whipped this up to enjoy with some cut up carrots, cukes and yellow peppers. Ryan did eat the yellow pepper, but passed on the rest of the veggies. I'll have to just keep trying I guess!

Vegetable Dip From Our Dairy Specialties cookbook

1 cup sour cream
3 tsp onion flakes
3 tsp dill flakes (fresh if available)
1 cup mayo
3 tsp parsley flakes (fresh if available)
3 tsp seasoned salt (or less)

Mix all together at least 1 hour before serving. Good with any vegetable.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

We've had a busy last week and a half with a wedding 2 states away and then trying to get settled back in and keep up with all the veggies from the garden. I've been cooking and baking, just not posting new recipes. I made these cookies on Thursday night and they are amazing. I thought they'd be too rich, but they turned out great. I don't make cookies too often since I like the fact that bars bake all in one pan at one time and also because I really enjoy eating the cookies-too much sometimes!!! They don't always last very long at our house. I know that these definitely won't either. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter is really yummy and are sure to be a hit with everyone!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies From Grandma's Recipe File

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c. peanut butter chips
2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in bowl.

With mixer on medium-high speed, beat together butter and peanut butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and light-brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla until blended.

On low speed, beat in the flour mixture until blended. Fold in peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and chopped peanuts until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Scoop about 1 heaping tablespoonful of the batter into your hands; gently flatten into a 2" disk. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Continue making disks with remaining dough.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until lightly golden and firm. Cool cookies on pan on rack for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bacon and Tomato Linguine

Here is another awesome recipe from Cooking for a Cure cookbook, from the same woman who submitted the Easy Taco Casserole. This was really easy to put together and my husband just loved it! It's a nice way to use some of the fresh tomatoes from the garden too.

Bacon and Tomato Linguine

1/2 lb. bacon, diced
2 T chopped green onions
2 tsp minced garlic
1 c. diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil
pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Linguine pasta (or any other pasta you prefer, I used angel hair)

Brown bacon, set aside. Saute green onion and garlic in bacon drippings for 1 minute (I drained some of the fat off first). Stir in tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Cook pasta 8 -10 minutes, toss with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easy Taco Casserole

Another great recipe from the Cooking for a Cure cookbook. The recipe comes from a woman at work and it is really simple to put together and a nice variation on tacos. It almost resembled a taco salad with all the lettuce and tomatoes and sour cream piled on top. Yum!

Easy Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 c. salsa
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 c. Miracle Whip
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 c. crushed tortilla chips
1 c. shredded Colby cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
chopped black olives
2 c. shredded lettuce
sour cream

In a saucepan, brown ground beef and drain. Add salsa, miracle whip and chili powder. Mix well. In an ungreased 2 qt. baking dish, layer half the meat mixture, half the chips and half the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Just before serving, top with tomato, lettuce, black olives and a dab of sour cream.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Simple Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had been meaning to get this on here yesterday, but was working on a corn freezing project. I was a little tired after shucking 110 ears of corn, blanching them and cutting the kernels off to bag up. 15 quarts of corn! Should be yummy this winter.

Anyway, I try to save recipes that look good as I'm looking through other people's blogs or the emails I get from Better Homes and Gardens or Taste of Home to help me remember to try them later. I got this muffin recipe from www.momadvice.com and had been meaning to try it for a while. I finally got around to it this week and these were such a yummy treat. They were very good with the pecans so I'd highly recommend adding them.

Simple Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Muffins From www.momadvice.com

1 1/4 c. quick cooking oats
1 1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans
1 1/4 c. flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Combine oats and milk and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease each cup of 12 cup muffin pan. Stir egg, oil, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the pecans into the oat and milk mixture. Mix in the cinnamon and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add oat mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Fill each cup of muffin tin 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with remaining brown sugar and pecans. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chipotle Mayonnaise Potato Salad

I've been looking forward to making this potato salad sometime this summer and tonight was a good night for it. We love spicy food and the chipotles in this salad zipped it up nicely. I didn't think it was too spicy, but to some it might be-just cut down on the chipotle amount added. This was a nice potato salad variation and extra special since the potatoes and peppers came from the garden!

Chipotle Mayonnaise Potato Salad From Cider Hill Farm

5 1/2 c. new red-skinned potatoes (5-7 small/medium), boiled until just tender, cooled and cut into 1" cubes (leave skins on)
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. roasted red pepper strips (omitted since I don't have any red peppers yet)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. (or more to taste) chipotle peppers with sauce, minced, or chipotle pepper sauce (I put in a whole chipotle pepper from the canned chipotle in adobo sauce)
1 c. diced sweet peppers
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped scallions or chives
2 T. chopped cilantro

Process the mayonnaise, roasted red peppers, garlic and chipotles in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir together the cubed potatoes, dressing, sweet peppers, scallions or chives and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Bake

I had some broccoli from the farmer's market to use up (it was getting a little sad looking) so I found this yummy casserole recipe. It was pretty easy to through together and didn't have to cook really long. It turned out really good, especially with the added sausage to make it more of a main dish. Use light and low-fat ingredients for a lighter dish.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Bake From Taste Of Home

1 can (10 oz) cream of broccoli soup, undiluted
1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked instant rice
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp paprika, divided
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb bulk sausage, browned (optional)

In a large bowl, combine soups, milk and sour cream. Stir in cheeses, rice, broccoli, onion, 3/4 tsp paprika and pepper. Stir in cooked sausage if using. Transfer to a 9 x 13" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining paprika. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until rice and broccoli are tender.

Chili Lime Chicken Salad

This was a delicious salad! It was bursting with flavors and full of fresh garden goodness. I got this recipe from my sister and have been waiting to try it until I had some cherry tomatoes from my garden and it was definitely worth the wait. Enjoy!

Chili Lime Chicken Salad

1 lb. chicken tenders
2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1/4 c. olive oil or salad oil
3 T lime juice
2 T. snipped fresh cilantro
1 T white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
dash ground black pepper
6 cup torn romaine lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and coarsely chopped (omitted since I didn't have, but I'm sure would be awesome in this salad)

In a bowl, toss chicken tenders with chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. In skillet, heat 1 T oil over med-high heat. Add chicken. Cook 8-12 minutes or until cooked through. Turn once. For dressing: in screw top jar, combine 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, cilantro, vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt and dash of pepper. Cover and shake well. Arrange lettuce on 4 salad plates. Top with chicken, tomato and avocado. Drizzle with dressing.

Grilled Peach Salsa

Yum! This was a tasty, different from my usual salsa that I make. It makes a good amount so there is plenty for leftovers. Ryan and I enjoyed this with some chips and a salad. Very summery salsa!

Grilled Peach Salsa From Simply in Season

5 large peaches, washed and halved, pits removed
5 tomatoes
1 1/2 jalapenos (or more for spicier salsa), minced with seeds removed
1/2 cup honey
2 T fresh basil or cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Brush grill grate with vegetable oil and grill peaches (or brush peach halves with olive oil) and grill peaches face down for several minutes. With tongs, flip peaches until skins begin to darken. (This can also be done in a vegetable grill basket.) Remove peaches from grill when they can be pierced easily with a fork or skewer. Allow to cool. Remove skins and chop. Add chopped tomatoes and peppers to the peaches. Stir in the honey and cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Very good salsa dip with chips. Can also serve with chicken or pork.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Carmelized Beets and Garlic

I planted all sorts of vegetables in my garden this year. They aren't all necessarily veggies that I just love or know how to prepare in a way that my husband and I will really enjoy them. Beets is one of those veggies. I thought I liked them, but had never really eaten many beets. My husband had probably never had a beets, but know that he didn't really like them. My first use of beets from my garden this summer was roasting them with other veggies. That was really tasty, though not really beety. Next, I found a recipe for a chocolate cake with beet puree-yummy! Better than I imagined it would be and Ryan really enjoyed it. Now, I found this recipe for Carmelized beets with garlic from Farmgirl Fare, a cute website about a women on a 240 acre farm who loves to cook. This recipe is great and I will definitely make it again. Try it if you have some beets on hand!

Caramelized Beets and Garlic From Farmgirl Fare

olive oil

Scrub a bunch of beets and remove skin if desired (if tough and woody). Dice beets into even sized chunks. Drizzle olive oil in a skillet and heat over low heat. Add beets and cook slowly for 45 minutes to an hour; stirring occasionally. When beets are caramelized, push to the side of the skillet and add a couple cloves of chopped garlic to the center. Cook, but do not let brown. Stir into beets and serve.
**Check out the Farmgirl Fare website for more detailed directions!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fresh Corn-Rice Salad

Tonight we had BLTs for the first time this summer. I've been waiting for the fresh tomatoes from our garden and they're finally ripening. It was such a delicious sandwich! I look forward to more in the next few weeks as my tomatoes continue to ripen. To go with our BLTs I made this yummy rice side dish. I had made it last summer around this time and I thought it was so good. It uses fresh, seasonally available veggies in a great veggie/rice side dish combination. Enjoy!

Fresh Corn-Rice Salad From Better Homes and Gardens

4 ears fresh corn
1 1/2 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh arugula (omitted since I didn't have this)
1 small red onion, cut in thin wedges
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
2 T. rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil

Husk corn and remove silk with a stiff brush, rinse. Cook corn in boiling, lightly salted water for 3 minutes. Remove corn; let cool. Cut corn off the cob in planks. Combine cooked rice, tomatoes, arugula (if using), onion and jalapeno pepper. Transfer to serving bowl; top with corn. Drizzle vinegar and olive oil over top. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Of course, another zucchini recipe. I've been getting some wonderful zucchini and summer squash from the garden. My plants are still looking ok and just about every day I go out to find another 2 or 3 good size zucchini. Besides shredding a bunch and freezing it for zucchini bread and muffins throughout the winter months, I'm working on using it in my summer baking. I've never made a chocolate zucchini cake before and this one turned out great. It's a recipe from my aunt that she submitted for a cookbook I was putting together. A great chocolate cake recipe!

Zucchini Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cloves
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 T cocoa (heaping)
2 cups shredded zucchini
chocolate chips for topping

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs and sugar, add oil and applesauce, vanilla and buttermilk and mix well. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix well. Add zucchini. Pour into a greased and floured pan. Bake at 325 degrees. It is done when toothpick comes out clean. Add chocolate chips when still hot and spread over cake with spatula if desired. If using a 10 x 15 pan, bake 20-30 minutes. If using a 9 x 13 pan, bake 35 to 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops

These were so tasty! They were easy to make too. The vinaigrette was also wonderful on a salad the next day.

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops From Martha Stewart's Everyday Food

4 bone-in pork rib chops
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Place pork in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over pork, and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).

Heat broiler, with rack set 4" from heat. Remove pork from marinade (let excess drip off), place on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, without turning, until opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes (if browning too quickly, turn them). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette
In a blender, combine 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 T Dijon mustard, 1 small garlic clove, 1 T fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/4 tsp dried), 2 T water, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Blend until smooth. With machine running, add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream; blend until creamy. To store: refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ginger Peanut Pasta Salad

I continue to harvest delicious veggies from my garden every night. My snow peas are finally dwindling down, but I'm thankful that I picked many peas from the small row that I planted. With veggies galore coming from my garden I hesitate to buy any at the store and timing was just about perfect for all the ingredients to this salad. I've made it before in the middle of the winter and it was yummy, but this time it was much better since it contained numerous veggies fresh from our backyard.

Ginger Peanut Pasta Salad

8 oz pasta, cooked
pea pods
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper (I substituted a purple pepper for the yellow and red as mine are not ripe yet)
1 green pepper
green onions
3 T. snipped fresh cilantro
1/3 c. chopped peanuts (I didn't have these and substituted peanut butter for this. I added it to the dressing ingredients.)
1/4 c. oil (sesame and olive oil mix works well)
3 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sugar
2 T. soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger root

Chop the veggies into bite size pieces as desired. Mix all the veggies with the pasta, including the cilantro and peanuts. Mix together the oil, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and ginger root. Include peanut butter if using. Whisk together until combined. Add to the veggie/pasta mix. This can be chilled up to 3 days.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zucchini-Honey Bread

Each day I go out to my garden and pick 3-5 zucchini that are perfect for zucchini bread. I've shredded some already and started stocking my freezer for the winter months so we can have zucchini bread all year, but I also make sure I use some fresh in my baking and cooking. I am always looking for new recipes to try and I found this zucchini bread recipe in an old Southern Living cookbook. It turned out really good, especially with some mini chocolate chips added!

Zucchini-Honey Bread From Southern Living

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 T ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine first 5 ingredients; stir in pecans. Combine zucchini and remaining ingredients in separate bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans and let cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Salmon with Yogurt Dill Sauce

I had seen this recipe in my Midwest Living magazine a few weeks ago and was just waiting until I had some ripe cherry tomatoes. Today was the day!! I think I had a few more than the 15 the recipe calls for so I just threw them all in. The fresh dill from my front flower beds was great too! By the way, dill will grow just about anywhere. I had 1 plant last year in a pot on my front deck and this year, I have about 10 volunteer dill plants EVERYWHERE! They are in my garden, my front flower bed, back one behind the propane tank...everywhere. I will have to make a ton of pickles this year I guess. If anyone needs some dill-stop on by!

Salmon with Yogurt Dill Sauce From Midwest Living Magazine

1 1/4 cup plain yogurt
3 lb salmon fillet, with skin, bones removed
20 kalamata olives
15 cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 T chopped dill

Preheat oven to 375. Line a strainer with a double layer of paper coffee filters. Set strainer over sink. Place yogurt into strainer and allow water to strain.

Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place salmon onto pan. Set aside.

In small bowl, mix olives, tomatoes, dried oregano and garlic. Remove 3/4 cup of yogurt and transfer to small bowl. Mix in a tablespoon of chopped dill. Spread dilled yogurt in thin layer over salmon. Top with olive/tomato mixture, evenly covering all of salmon. Bake for 30 minutes.

Stir remaining dill with yogurt. To serve, slice salmon and transfer to plates. Garnish each plate with a dollop of dill sauce and a fresh oregano sprig.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

My zucchini plants are really starting to produce finally. I think they were all dead by this time last year, but I'm glad we're finally able to enjoy that delicious summer squash! I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website and it was really good. Ryan said he never would have guessed that the "crust" is actually zucchini!

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Place zucchini in strainer; sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with the eggs, Parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add green pepper. Bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yip Yap Banana Snaps (Dog Treats)

I love to cook and bake and since we don't have any kids yet, of course I sometimes spoil my dogs with fresh homemade treats. This recipe comes from a co-worker who spoils her dog even more than mine and makes dog treats for all the dogs she knows every Christmas, even the ones at the animal shelter. She submitted this recipe for our Cooking for a Cure cookbook, a cookbook a friend and I put together for a breast cancer fundraiser. Make your best friend happy and try this recipe-they'll love it! :)

Yip Yap Banana Snaps (Dog Treats)

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup canola oil
2 to 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup quick rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the oil, bananas, honey and egg until smooth. Fold in the oats. Drop the dough by the rounded teaspoonful, 1 1/2 inches apart, on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until light golden. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months (thaw before serving).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jalapeno Popper Mac 'n' Cheese

There is a good-sized garden where I work and they always sell excess produce that they don't use in the kitchen. I doubt they use any of the jalapenos in the food for the nursing home residents though, so maybe they just sell all the peppers to the staff that they produce :) Anyway, they had some jalapeno peppers available a couple of weeks ago (my plants are just starting to produce this last week) so I picked up about 3 dozen for $2. Not bad. I happened to find this recipe in my latest Rachael Ray magazine and thought it sounded delish. It was!

Jalapeno Popper Mac 'n' Cheese From Everyday with Rachael Ray

salt and pepper
1 lb hollow, ridged corkscrew pasta, such as cavatappi (I used elbow macaroni)
extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 jalapeno chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced (I didn't have these and used an extra jalapeno)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I substituted skim)
8 ounces cream cheese
2 T dried minced onion
2 cups shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. In a skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium heat. Add the peppers and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add to the pasta.

Preheat the broiler. In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and onion over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until smooth, 5 minutes; stir into the pasta. Stir in the cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a baking dish and broil until browned, about 3 minutes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Taco Seasoning

I've been using this recipe for taco seasoning for a while now. I didn't have any of the little packets, but wanted to make tacos one night. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com or a site like that and it is tasty. I don't think I'll ever buy the packets again!

Taco Seasoning

1 T chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp each: cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Add each to your cooked ground meat. Mix well and add about 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for a few minutes and enjoy!

Kate's Blue-Ribbon Coffee Cake

This coffee cake was delicious! I love baking recipes that use sour cream in them. If you've never tried it you should. The cake turns out so moist and tasty. This recipe was fabulous and easy to put together. It looks so fancy too, baked in a bundt pan.

Kate's Blue-Ribbon Coffee Cake From Midwest Living Magazine

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 8-oz carton sour cream
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Spray 10" bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease and flour pan; set pan aside. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, stir together eggs, 1 cup sugar, butter and 1 tsp vanilla. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir until just moistened. Add sour cream and stir vigorously until batter is smooth.

For streusel: In a small bowl, stir together walnuts, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon and 2 tsp vanilla.

Spoon 1/3 of batter into bottom of prepared pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the streusel. Repeat layers with remaining batter and streusel.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove cake from pan, cover with an inverted serving plate and turn cake over onto the plate. Serve warm.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cranberry Apricot Cream Cheese Muffins

I always try to have some sort of muffin or bread for breakfast in the morning. We like things that are prepared and easy to grab and relatively healthy :) I found this recipe in a cookbook from a friend: Cooking with HealthyRoads. I was happy to see that I had everything on hand that I needed to make these and I was excited to try them since they sounded so good. They really turned out pretty good. I wouldn't bake them quite as long next time so they are just a bit more moist. Overall, these were a yummy change from zucchini and banana bread.

Cranberry Apricot Cream Cheese Muffins
1/4 cup low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
2 cups flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
3 T vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the cream cheese, cranberries and apricots; stir (the cookbook says with a whisk-good luck with that if that's what you want to mix it with).

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 5 ingredients (through the salt) in a medium bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine the buttermilk, oil, egg and egg whites; stir well with a whisk. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until just moist.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray, filling each of them 1/3 full. Top each with approximately 1 tsp cream cheese mixture, dividing the remaining batter evenly over the cream cheese mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place on wire rack.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Disappearing Zucchini Orzo

Here is another delicious recipe from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Go here for more information on the above book.

My zucchini plants are finally starting to produce. I don't know why they're so far behind this year, but my plants were dying down at this time last year, after getting about 50 pounds of zucchini. This year, I've just gotten a dozen or so small ones but there are many more blossoms so I'm hoping they keep coming!

Ryan loves orzo pasta for some reason and I had some fresh zucchini from the garden so I thought this would be perfect for dinner the other night. In fact, I've been waiting for fresh garden zucchini to try this and it turned out great. Ryan said leftovers for lunch were really good too!

Disappearing Zucchini Orzo
3/4 lb. pkg orzo pasta
1 chopped onion, garlic to taste
3 large zucchini
olive oil for saute
1/4 cup grated parmesan or any hard yellow cheese

Bring 6 cups of water or chicken stock to a boil and add pasta. Cook 8 to 12 minutes. Drain. Use a cheese grater to shred zucchini, saute briefly with chopped onion and garlic until lightly golden. Add spices to zucchini mixture, stir thoroughly, and then remove mixture from heat. Combine with cheese and cooked orzo, salt to taste, serve cool or at room temperature.