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.