Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

Oh yeah! Come to mama! I saw this recipe online and just had to make it. The pictures on the other website are pretty appetizing. PW, you make my every dessert dreams come true!

I think this is probably the first recipe on here I have incorporated salt as an ingredient as I hate to use it unless I really really have to. I know a lot of people use it religiously, especially if a recipe calls for it, but I usually omit. It's the health nut side of me I guess.

After bringing this to my family Christmas, I had zero leftovers. Everyone absolutely devoured and loved it. I got all kinds of compliments and never again will I be allowed to bring anything to a family Christmas but dessert. I won't complain; it's my favorite thing to make.

Serve with vanilla ice cream for best results.

Blackberry Cobbler
Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen

6 cups blackberries
1/2 cup PLUS 4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 fresh lemon)
1/2 whole zest of lemon (from fresh lemon)
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
4 tbsp butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine blackberries, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in large bowl. Spread mixture into a 9x9 (or similar size) pyrex dish and flatten with a spoon.

In a separate bowl pour in flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 tbsp sugar. Add shortening and butter and mix well with a pastry blender until mixture is coarse. Measure 1/2 cup milk in large measuring cup, add 1 egg and mix well. Pour into flour mixture, stirring as you go. The final product should not be too dry or too sticky. If too dry, add a little more milk.

Take small clumps of dough and place on top of blackberries until covered. Lightly flatten dough with fingertips and sprinkle with remaining 3 tbsp of sugar. Bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Berry juice will be slightly thin but allowing it to sit will give it time to soak up into the cobbler topping.

Serve with vanilla ice cream. Don't skip this last step!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Easy Cherry Pie

Have you forgotten about that pitch-in at work or a family gathering you volunteered to bring dessert to? No need to worry because here is the solution. Easy as pie!

My mom has been making this and taught me a long time ago how to master the art of a beautiful crust. Moms are the best and I plan to pass this talent onto my children some day.

Easy Cherry Pie
Adapted from: the recipe on the cans of cherry filling at local grocery

1 package pie crusts
2 21oz cans cherry pie filling
2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease pie pan. Unroll one pie crust and lay into pie pan making sure all sides are an even height. Pour pie filling into crust and cover flat with second crust. Take a dull knife and cut excess crust that hangs over the edge of the glass pie pan.

Fold top layer of crust over top bottom layer's edge of crust and press together. When finised make into a desired "crust-like" zig-zag pattern. Cut 12-16 slits in top of crust with dull knife for ventilation and sprinkle with sugar.

Cook pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn heat down to 350 degrees for remaining 30 minutes. I like to put foil over top of my crust to prevent browning and hardening too much. I usually remove after the first 20-30 minutes.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Notes From the Kitch

Just wanted to update! I got a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas because my mom is the best mom in the entire world!! Pardon my bed-hair too.

Also we will be moving in almost two weeks and so I won't be doing much new cooking, so my blogs might be few and far between. :( Although when I do get my new kitchen set up I will be taking some pictures around it and possibly making a new header with it. I have been waiting and waiting (on pins and needles) to move for just that reason!

Don't get me wrong, I love my header, but it just doesn't say "cooking blog". The next one is sure to do so.

If you haven't already noticed I have been taking a different, more fun-loving, approach to my cooking blog. Any comments or suggestions are welcome. I can't decide if I prefer to have step-by-step directions or just the one final picture with instructions and a little story. I'm sure I will decide after a few more blogs the new way to see what I like .. what others like .. and what looks good.

Thanks for being patient and sticking around!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Easy Tuna Melt

Here's another simple and easy dinner for those "I don't want to work out, do laundry or cook" kind of nights. It's very simple with few ingredients and can be modified for your own personal taste. I also added some Spirulina hot sauce. It has a green tip. You can find it at certain grocery stores in the asian food isle and I highly recommend it.

Easy Tuna Melt (4 sandwiches)
Adapted from: Allrecipes

2 can tuna in water, drained
mayonaise to taste (I used just under 1/4 cup)
1/4 small onion, chopped
8 pieces bread
4 slices cheese

optional ingredients:
peppers to taste (I didn't use any but will do green peppers next time)
1 Jalapeno, sliced and seeds/middle cut out (I used these the first trial and it really gave them some spice)
dash of minced garlic
dash of hot sauce (the peppers in my opinion gave this recipe more spice the first time around)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix tuna, onion, mayo and optional ingredients to taste. Place desired amount on bread and place onto cookie sheet. Place sliced jalapeno's onto tuna mix if desired and cheese slices on top of that. Bake approximately 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

*I served this with a side spring mix salad and it was the perfect amount for dinner.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Black Bean & Salsa Soup

You want quick and easy? This took me a whole 10 minutes to prepare. If you have a can opener and a blender, you've got dinner! Just what I love after a long, hard days work. My husband said it didn't look nearly as good as it tasted. He even ate some for leftovers!!

*cue the choir music*

Also, don't skip the garnishings. The green onion really gives this dish something it wouldn't otherwise have.

Black Bean & Salsa Soup
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally Allrecipes

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 cup salsa
1 tsp cumin
sour cream, chopped green onion & shredded cheese for garnishing

Combine all ingredients except garnishings into a food processor until fairly smooth or desired consistency. Pour into saucepan and heat on low-medium until thoroughly warmed. Place into soup bowls and garnish as desired.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Baked Ricotta Penne

My answer is yes. I know you are asking, "Does it taste as good as it looks?" .. YES! This is the first time I've ever cooked any kind of noodles that weren't lasagna, fettucini or spaghetti. I love pasta but don't know what to do with it most times. This recipe was pretty easy to do and had few ingredients, most of which I already had on hand. Plus I love baked recipes because some nights I just don't want to slave over a stove for an hour just to slave over the dishes for an hour.

I had no complaints or suggestions on this one from my husband either. He liked it as-is! I did add the spices right at the end because I realized I hadn't used them and in the Holman's Blog where I got the recipe from, it didn't say where to use or add them in. Next time I think I will add them with the sauce to be able to get more of the flavorings out of them.

Baked Ricotta Penne

1 box penne pasta
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup red peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg frozen spinach
1 jar marinara sauce
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 8x13 glass dish. Boil pasta until al dente (about 8 minutes). Meanwhile, heat ground beef on med-high heat in large skillet. After about 8 minutes, add garlic, red peppers, seasonings and marinara sauce and reduce heat to low. Add ricotta and stir until melted and combined. Add spinach and cook another 5-7 minutes.

Drain pasta. Add sauce and pasta to baking dish and combine well until pasta is coated. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Buckeyes have been a family tradition of mine for as long as I can remember. Every single gathering, there were buckeyes. My mom's side of the family is from Ohio of course, so it had to be known. By the way that does make me an Ohio State fan, but don't worry my husband is anti-OSU and reminds me every Saturday in the fall.

Anyways these are a recipe I have perfected over and over so the recipe is flawless exept one thing: making the batter. Making the batter, because it is so thick, is a chore and a half. You have got to have good upper body strength for it. This stuff is thick and it really needs to be. The batch makes a lot because these little guys are small, but mighty. Yes, kinda like the football team. Oh, Jim Tressel .. you are our man!

You know I couldn't get away with writing a blog update about Buckeyes without mentioning the great Jim Tressel!

Kelly's Kitch original

1 lb butter
3 tbsp vanilla
2 cups peanut butter (smooth)
3 cups powdered sugar
12 oz pkg chocolate chips
paraffin, quarter sized piece (optional)

Cream together butter, vanilla and peanut butter. Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time until mixture is firm and manageable. Roll into quarter-sized balls and place on cookie sheet and into the fridge or freezer to harden. After 1-2 hours, dip balls with toothpick in the middle into melted chocolate chips (and optional paraffin). Leave a small amount of peanut butter still showing at the top to imitate a real buckeye, as shown above.

Place back onto cookie sheet and remove toothpick. Place cookie sheet in fridge for another 30 minutes to harden. I usually leave them in overnight, however.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peppermint Bark

I never liked candy canes as a kid and I have never grown out of it. I really only made this because I know my family loves chocolate, loves peppermint, and put me in charge of desserts for Christmas this year. Oh boy will they be surprised when I show up with this! No one in my family has ever made this before. My husband also doesn't like peppermint so I couldn't find a taste-tester although I did try a piece as I am the chef and it is my job. Definitely didn't outgrow the dislike for peppermint .. although the bark itself turned out well.

I got the idea from the Holman's blog and it looked so good I wanted to make some myself since I had a ton of leftover chocolate bags. I just went and bought some $1 candy canes and voila! Peppermint bark! It was really quick too! Only took me maybe 30 minutes to make and I didnt even have to turn on the oven.

One thing I wish I would have done was press the candy cane pieces down into the white chocolate after sprinkling them on it. When I broke the bark later, a lot of the pieces broke off the top. I thought about it but they seemed to sink into it fine. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Peppermint Bark

1 12 oz bag white chocolate
1 12 oz bag milk chocolate
6 candy canes
parchment paper

Place parchment paper into a jelly roll pan (deep dish 8x13 pan) with about 3-5 inches on each end for handles. Folding it in the creases helps for later. Melt milk chocolate in double boiler or in microwave on defrost setting (in 30 second increments). Pour into pan lined with parchment paper and smooth around pan evenly. I used a large spatula but the smaller the better. Wherever the chocolate goes, the chocolate stays and hardens. Even on the sides.

Then, place the pan in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden. Meanwhile, crush 6 candy canes in ziplock bag with mallet or pulse in food processor. There will be some dust.

Melt the white chocolate and spread over top of the hardened milk chocolate layer. While white chocolate is still melted, sprinkle the chopped bits of peppermint onto the top of it and lightly press into the chocolate. Place back in fridge for another 15-20 minutes to allow to harden and pull bark in one piece out of pan and peel off of parchent paper to break into desired sized pieces.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Pretzel Treats

I promise this will be the easiest holiday treat you ever make. I made them a few years ago and they were such a huge hit at Christmas I had to make them again this year! They are so easy, too. You can customize them (thanks to Hershey's) to whatever suits your taste.

I used only chocolate this time around but last year I made hugs and caramel kisses with these too and they work great. If you like dark chocolate I'm sure they would taste fantastic as well. Me? I'm not a big chocolate fan so I made all chocolate because if I made the hugs, I would have eaten them all and I really don't need all those sweets right now.

Holiday Pretzel Treats

1 bag small pretzels (rounds or squares)
1 small bag M&M's (I prefer holiday colors since they are Chrismas themed)
2 small bags Hershey Kisses, your choice

Heat oven to 170 degrees. Cover cookie sheet with pretzels and top with kisses. Place in oven for 4 minutes, if using chocolate kisses. If using hugs 3.5 minutes is enough time. Pull cookie sheet out of oven and place an M&M on the top of each kiss and press until the kiss melts flat. If it is still hard inside, it needs to go back into the oven for a few seconds longer (20-30 second intervals). Place an M&M in the middle of each kiss and allow pan to cool a bit and place in freezer or fridge to harden. Then you may put into a cookie tin or platter to serve!

Note: I usually do each pan about 3 minutes apart to give myself enough time to finish the previous pan.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gourmet Pretzel Rods

Making these pretzel rods has been an experience. I read several recipes online from several general websites and took the tips I could find to make my own recipe. I was mostly looking for a way to melt the white chocolate chips I had to make it smooth without a double boiler (as I don't have one). Well, I eventually found the best method on The Holman's Blog and when I put it on defrost, it worked perfectly. I will never forget my first, chunky batch. For time and sanity reasons I won't go there.

I already had a great carmel recipe from making my homemade carmel apples so I figured they would be perfect to put underneath the chocolate. I just didn't realize it would be such a long process. It is really worth it in the end though.

If you aren't one for carmel, then you can simply omit that section of the direction, but let me just say this: they taste like a twix bar but better. Yes, it's true. They are so delicious!!

Gourmet Pretzel Rods

1 bag pretzel rods
1 12 oz bag white chocolate
1 14 oz bag Caramels
2-3 tbsp milk
optional: holiday sprinkles

For caramel:

Melt milk and caramels in small, microwave-safe dish. Microwave in 30-second intervals sitrring in between until caramel is of a liquid and manageable consistency. Dip pretzel rods completely in caramel leaving a small section of the end uncovered (about 2-3 inches). If the dish doesnt allow this, you may us a spoon and spoon it on while twirling the pretzel.

Allow rod to drip excess caramel off for 10-15 seconds, flip rod completely upside-down (vertically) to even out for another 5-10 seconds. Then, place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet and refrigerate or freeze until hardened (1-2 hours).

Note: Do not use parchment paper! The caramel will stick to it and you will have completely ruined pretzel rods .. that is, unless you like to eat paper.

For Chocolate:

Melt chocolate in microwave-safe dish on the defrost setting in 30-second intervals stirring in between until it is a liquid and manageable consistency. Dip the caramel-covered pretzel rods into the chocolate, spooning over if needed, and allow to drip from the tip for 10-15 seconds. Flip vertically and allow the chocolate to settle a bit and place back onto cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle the tips over the sink. Allow these to cool in the fridge or freezer and enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I got this recipe from a friend at work. The first time I tried it, I was completely amazed and thought that it had to be too complicated for me to re-make. Absolutely not! This is probably one of the easiest and most rewarding recipes in the recipe box. It never seems to taste differently when reheated for leftovers. I don't think I can say that about any other recipe.

I'm sure that this can somehow be made into a crock pot recipe as well since it simmers, but it's so quick that I usually do have time at the end of a long work day to make this. I like the recipes that I can just open cans, throw things in a pot and voila .. dinner! The only thing that I changed from the original recipe is that I mix in a little lemon juice with my lime juice to make it less tangy and give it some sweetness too. The original was just all lime juice.

Also note that the worst part about this recipe is shredding the chicken. It isn't too time consuming but is annoying and repetitive. Trust me, it is worth it in the end.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 lb boneless chx brst
1 can beans, undrained
1 can mexi-style stewed tomatoes, garlic, cumin, jalepenos
1 can fat-free chx broth
3 cans chopped green chiles, undrained
¼ cup lime juice & lemon juice combined (75% lime, 25% lemon)
2 tsp minced garlic
¾ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
Toppings (as needed): sour cream & shredded cheese

Combine all ingredients in large pot on stove and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked. Remove chicken from pot with tongs and shred with a fork. Return to pot, stir well and allow to simmer and warm up again. Serve with cheese and sour cream as desired.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Royal Icing & Sugar Cookies

Waking up Christmas morning to open presents, eat cookies and play with your siblings. That is what these cookies remind me of. They are a classic and are the perfect (and I mean PERFECT) recipe. Annie's Eats is where I found the recipe for both the cookies and the icing. One batch and I was done. These made about 28 cookies and I used every last piece of dough. I made extra, don't worry.

The icing on the other hand I will modify for next trial. I have heard horror stories about how hard royal icing is to master but this was the easiest especially with her how-to instructions on her blog. I can't believe I actually made them and succeeded! I dyed the red batch of icing with the suggested Wilton's dye and I couldn't find it in green so I had to use my food coloring I had at home. I actually liked the taste much better of the food coloring batch than the Wilton's. That stuff just left a gross after-taste in my mouth and the icing never really set right underneath the top. Not sure why. Use food coloring and if the mix gets too watery, add a little more powdered sugar.

Another tip would be to do the icing of the cookies on a cookie tray. Don't worry about them sliding around, they won't. I put them on a dish towel and needless to say, that dish towel is in need of a washer! The cookies were superb and had a perfect hint of almond extract. The icing was great and I heard no complaints from anyone.

Sugar Cookies (about 28 cookies)

1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1.5 tsp almond extract (I used imitation and it tasted fine)
1 tsp vanilla
2.5 cup flour

Cream butter and add in powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll into 1/4" thickness (or as desired) on well-floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Re-roll dough and repeat. Bake cookies at 375 for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should not brown and they will not rise. Allow to cool before decorating.

When using royal icing, you have to have a lot of will power. No, not the Nascar racecar driver. Don't eat it as difficult as that is. :) When you make the batches of icing, divvy them up into sealable containers. The number of containers = number of colors you need. I used two different colors for one batch of 28 cookies and I had TONS of icing leftover so you could probably get away with 4 colors of icing with two batches of cookies easy.

Make the icing, put in piping bags with the couplers and tips and pipe the cookies (as shown above). I suggest Tip 3 as I had the best luck with this one (not popping the bag off the coupler). Allow those to cool (an hour or so) while the leftover icing is sealed in containers. You can leave the piping in the bags when not in use in a tall glass with a small amount of water in the bottom. Then add water to the sealable containers with the icing 1 tsp at a time so that the icing is more of a liquid consistency and drips off of a mixing spoon smoothly.

Then, spoon the icing inside the piped cookies. Using a bottle with nozzle works the best and is less messy. Help the icing reach the edges of the cookie with a toothpick until they look like the cookies below! As you can see I experimented with a few to see what I could get away with. Allow these to cool overnight and enjoy!

Royal Icing

4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp meringue powder (you can sub 2-3 egg whites for this)
5 tbsp water
toothpicks - for icing

Combine all ingredients with a mixer. Paddle attachment on a stand mixer is best. This will be the consistency of the icing that is piped for edging so if need be, you may add a small amount of water if it doesn't initially pipe through the #2 tip. After edging all the cookies, add about 1-3 more tbsp of water to the remaining icing in a tupperware container until it is smooth and drips off the back of a clean spoon. It should reabsorb into the tupperware container in about 10-12 seconds. It doesn't take much more water to get the consistency needed.

Note: I used to add enough water to make it the consistency on Annie's website but that was too much water and the icing never set. Use just a little less than is recommended on that website.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Why Italian food is such a staple in my household, I will never know. Neither of us are Italian. I think we are just carb-lovers. Me having a degree in Exercise Science, I should know better. I say that because my husband won't let me substitute white for wheat noodles hardly ever. He is slowly coming around though. There is always that saying, "Do as I say, not as I do." That might just become a staple in our household too as we have kids .. just kidding!

My mom always made the best lasagna on the block. I never tried it until I was an adult. Why? I have no idea, but it's so delicious! It's a recipe from her mother's mother and so on. This one is another one of my family recipe's so please let me know how it turns out for you. I absolutely love this recipe although I do tweak it a bit as I am only cooking for two and not a big family yet. I made this a few weeks ago for my husband's friends (and groomsmen from the wedding) as they were all in town. I also had side salad and garlic bread too. They all went home and I'm sure I have now raised the bar for their wives now. I swear that wasn't my intention! I just like to feed people!!

When you make this, know that the ricotta cheese comes out in chunks but if you take the time to do so, you can spread it; it is possible. This past time I was lazy and hungry so I just did it in a rush and piled it on in chunks. Brad didn't like them so much and maybe next time I will use less. Also I have tried to leave the pasta whole or break it in half. I prefer to break it in half. It is more manageable that way. A few tips from classic mistakes I have made: put the lasagna noodles on the bottom of the dish or you will have a MESS. Also, top with the cheese covering. If you have exposed noodles, they will harden in the oven. Nobody likes crunchy lasagna.


1 pound ground beef
1 can tomatoes
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1/3 cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/4 lb lasagna noodles, cooked
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
1/2 tub racotta cheese
parmesan cheese

Brown meat in large skillet. Add onion and cook until tender (about 4-5 minutes). Stir in tomatoes, paste, water, garlic and seasonings. Cover and simmer on low 25 minutes. In a 12x8 greased baking dish, layer the lasagna in this order: noodles, meat sauce, racotta cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

This recipe makes two layers. Double it for a deep-dish three layered lasagna for a large party!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spaghetti & Meatballs

I always grew up in a household where spaghetti was a weekly meal. No matter what. My mom always made it wonderfully and with ground beef it in too. I have become lazy over time and just make sauce and noodles. This time I wanted to spice things up a bit. Meatballs seemed to do just that.

I have never made meatballs so I was looking for an easy weeknight recipe. I was browsing some of my favorite blogs and came across this recipe on Lindsey's Kitchen. I thought I would give it a go and I must say that my first try at meatballs was a fantastic success!! I don't think I would change a thing in this recipe except the timing of how long to cook the meatballs. I might make them in the sauce next time because they browned too much and stuck a little to the pan. They still tasted fantastic and heard NO COMPLAINTS from the husband .. which is rare as we have very different food tastes!

Spaghetti & Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 tsp dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided (I used Italian)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
1/4 cup milk
dash salt (optional
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1.5-2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 package spaghetti noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1/4 cup bread crumbs with milk and let sit for 8-10 minutes. Combine with all remaining ingredients and shape into desired sized balls. Cook for 30 minutes and then add to the sauce. If you want to cook them the whole way in the oven, turn them over and cook an additional 10-15 minutes longer depending on the size. I would highly recommend adding to the sauce though.

NOTE: I put on the ingredient list 1.5-2 jars spaghetti sauce because this recipe makes so many meatballs that there is no sauce left for the spaghetti. It is best for a large group. If you are just making for two people and don't want too many leftovers, I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I have been trying to find time to make this recipe all week. I was afraid it would take a ton of time and that is a luxury I don't have these days. The recipe is actually very quick and relatively easy. My wonderful husband decided to help with both the dishes (oh yes, the dishes) and with the food preparation. This helped tremendously and allowed me to concentrate on following the directions very carefully. Something I am notorious for not doing.

This is embarrassing to say, but I didn't know how to use my Cuisinart Food Processor we got for our wedding. I didn't read the directions nor had I ever owned one before. I usually slice, chop or grade stuff myself. Yeah, that is really old-school and takes a lot of time. Well, I asked him to read them and show me how to use it. It is so simple. I don't know how anyone can cook .. or even live without one of these things. They are a time and life saver! We sliced, shredded and pureed with it tonight just to see what it could do.

My husband liked the cheese base of the soup but he isn't a huge vegetable fan. I thought this would be a great recipe to have him try since whenever we go to Panera for lunch he always gets the Broccoli and Cheddar soup there and loves it. Well, I think I must have pureed it too much for him so I think I will just have to take more time to make smaller chunks of broccoli and not puree it in the end. I personally loved it. It was the most magnificent blend of broccoli, cheese, and carrot. I couldn't even really taste the onion which I was originally worried about too. The recipe I used was from Annie's Eats and I adapted one ingredient only because .. per the norm .. I neglected to read them all beforehand and realized when I was making it that I didn't have it on hand.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

6 tbsp butter, divided
3/4 cup onion, chopped (I used yellow)
1 cup carrot, shredded
4 cups small broccoli florets (approximately 1 head)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp onion powder
dash salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In large stockpot, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook a few minutes more. Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low to simmer.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt the remaining 4 tbsp butter on medium heat and add the flour. Whisk together and cook until golden, about 1-2 minutes (mixture will be chunky). Whisk in the milk and cook until it thickens and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Then, add the cheese and whisk until completely melted which shouldn't take too long. Add this cheese mixture to the stockpot. Allow to simmer until warmed and broccoli is at desired consistency. Season with pepper if desired.

You can also add the mixture to a food processor to blend and chop the broccoli up a bit more, but it all depends on preference.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

All-American classic cookies. Nothing compares to the beautiful taste of white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts together in the same cookie. The only reason this is my favorite cookie of all time is because it has no chocolate. At all. My husband tells me I am not a real woman because I hate chocolate. It's sad, but very true.

Even though not true "chocolate" it's still the most wonderful sweet treat ever. When Hershey's came out with the Cookies N Cream bars .. it was heaven at the check out line! Not so much for my thighs. Well Snickerdoodles are never the easiest to master and I still have yet to do so. Here is the recipe so far. Trial number one was delicious but not quite perfection and that is what my kitchen strives for.

I think one reason this recipe failed was because I was over-zealous with the white-chocolate chips. I just love them SO much I felt I had to double the recipe. Learn from my mistake .. that is a big no-no. You have got to have some cookie with your white chocolate chips.

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 ounces white chocolate
6 ounces macadamia nuts, chopped

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda in separate bowl then stir into mixture. Then, stir in the white chocolate chips and nuts. The mixture was very liquidy and the cookies spread out quite a bit so drop cookies in small nickel sized drops on greased cookie sheet. Make sure they are pretty far apart too (approximately 2 inches is best). Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 7-8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on the bottom.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

BBQ Pulled Pork

A few weeks ago I decided against my better judgement (and personal taste) to make one of my husband's favorite dishes. He loves BBQ pulled pork. I emailed a recipe to myself from a well-known website but was disappointed to find out that it was no longer a working link so I just winged it. I couldn't remember everything that it included but I did remember a recipe I passed on that sounded gross where you immerse the pork in root beer. Well, it was the only thing I had to go on. Turned out great and the husband loved it too!

BBQ Pulled Pork

2-4 lb boneless pork tenderloin (I just cut the bone off before cooking)
2 liters root beer, as needed
1 bottle BBQ sauce, as needed

Cook pork tenderloin completely immersed in root beer for 6-8 hours on low to medium heat in crock pot. When done cooking, shred pork with a fork removing all fat. Return to the warm crock pot and add the BBQ sauce and serve.

RAM Restaurant & Brewery

Today marks a big day in my blog's history! It's my very first restaurant review. I have been meaning to do one but never bring a camera or it's not a place worth reviewing. Tonight my husband and I went to RAM Restaurant and Brewery . It was our first time there so it is a perfect chance to review.

Brad got the BBQ Pulled Pork Bomber and it was twice the size of my burger. He really liked it .. a lot. It also had a little bit of coleslaw on the bottom of the sandwich and he really enjoyed the combo of that. This brought on conversation about how his grandmother made the best coleslaw. I personally don't usually like it so I don't make it. I promised to find and perfect a recipe from my grandmothers recipe book if he can't find his family recipe.

I got the All American Burger. I ordered it well done and I typically like it char-black .. so a little more than well done. It was medium. It was still very red inside. Also they forgot to put lettuce AND mayo on it. The guy that brought the food said this burger doesn't come with mayo normally. Check the menu for yourself online. It does. I ordered no ketchup or mustard in which they of course put on there.

We both got waffle fries that were okay. They were room temperature and a little too crunchy for me. Brad got the 71 ale on tap and it was only $3 which was great. Also, their pints are 18 ounces so you get more for your money. The beer was good and I think I could even drink a pint even though I don't typically like beer.

Because of all of the sending back of my food and mess-ups, the manager gave us a free dessert, our choice. We chose the carrot cake, which also came with a couple scoops of Edys vanilla ice cream and caramel topping. It was phenomenal.

Food: C
Drinks: A
Dessert: A
Service: B
Wait time: A (didn't have to wait at all on a Saturday night)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pigs In A Blanket

Who doesn't like finger food!? Surely not anyone in this house. One night I decided to make a childhood favorite and I found an easy recipe on Home Is Where the Holman's Are blog . They looked wonderful and who can really resist a lil smokey wrapped in delicious carbohydrates.

Of course even with the simplest of recipes I have to complicate things. The recipe calls for a puff pastry and with my very little knowledge of cooking and even food itself, I didn't know what that was. Well, I was told it was in the freezer section so when I got there and couldn't find anything I just bought a package of Crescent rolls. Yup. Just plain ol' dinner rolls. They worked great and tasted fantastic. I was looking around that section asking myself what I thought would go well with a lil smokey and cheese. I bought two but only needed one so now we get dinner rolls with dinner tomorrow night. What a luxury.

Another thing that I changed in my recipe is to NOT use parchment paper because they stuck to it and it was almost impossible to get them off without a lovely paper attachment. Next time I will just spray the pan.

Pigs In A Blanket 

1 pkg Crescent Rolls
1 pkg Lil' Smokeys
1 block sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cheese into small, thin slices. Cut a small slit in the smokeys and insert the cheese. Roll out the crescent rolls onto well-floured surface and cut into small triangles. Roll each smokey inside each crescent roll and place onto greased cookie sheet.

Beat egg and mix in garlic powder and water in small bowl. Brush on the top of each pig-in-a-blanket. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update - Been MIA

I have not posted and been MIA for a while and I sincerely apologize! First, my husband got sick for two weeks and had severe stomach pains and every test in the book, but finally just out of nowhere felt better. Thank goodness. During this time we decided to put our house up for sale and "upgrade" since there are so many good deals out on the market and we NEED a bigger place. That has been very time-consuming.

Also bigger place = bigger kitchen!!! I am going to be quite picky on my kitchen, especially since I got a promotion at work and can now work from home! YAY! =)

So all in all lots of good things happening but it's been busy. I have some recipes on stand-by I will post soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

French Onion Soup

Do you ever go to a restaurant and think, "Man. Nobody could ever top this!" That's what I used to think about Applebee's french onion soup. Until now.

The recipe I found was in my Easy Crockpot Recipes cookbook from Borders and was easy enough. I adapted it a bit as well. I made it a little skeptical of how few ingredients it had in it thinking that something so simple couldn't be so tasty. Oh how I was wrong! This is the easiest, most low-maintenance recipe with the best results I have ever blogged! Cooks across the nation, prepare to get to know your crock pot intimately.

I served this with a side spring mix salad which is my all-time favorite salad because it has wonderful texture and taste. Soup and salad is the ultimate late-night dinner meal on a wintery night. This goes on my must make again list. My husband also agrees.

French Onion Soup

5 small sweet onions, diced
1-2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp worchestire sauce
2 cans beef broth
1 cup water
swiss cheese slices
french bread loaf, sliced about 1 inch thick

In a large skillet on low heat, warm the onions in hot butter for 20 minutes (DO NOT BROWN). Transfer onions to crock pot. Add in water, broth, sauce and mix well. Cook on high 6 hours.

When crock pot is finished, scoop out and discard 2/3 of the onion pieces and leave the rest in the broth. Scoop into serving dishes.

For the bread, if your dishes are broiler safe (most general household dishes are not) then you can place the bread right on top of the soup and cheese on top of that and broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

If your dishes are not broiler safe, then you can use a cookie sheet and place the bread on it with cheese on top. Then broil for 2-3 minutes on top shelf of oven. When finished, simply place on top of soup bowls and serve!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Potato Soup Plus

It barely gets into the 50's and I have already gotten out of all of the winter gear, including my boots. Oh how I love my boots! Another love of mine is my crock pot. Well, we did have a bit of a spout a few weeks ago when the glass lid came flying into my face and cracked me in between the eyes. Other than that, however, it is a very frequently used cooking device in this household.

I used to make one thing and one thing only: beef tenderloin and veggies. Now I have discovered the wide world of soups, chicken and other marvelous dishes the crock pot can conjure up. I bought a recipe book from Border's a while back that was called Easy Slow Cooker Cookbook. It has a ton of easy recipes. And I love EASY!

The first one I tried this week was a potato soup and it was good, but could use some work. My husband said that it was too "potatoey" whatever that means. I mean .. it's potato soup!? Anyways, I thought it was just fine. I could go with a little more cheese in it (because of course he is used to O'Charleys cheese soup with like 3 pieces of potato). I adjusted the recipe below to what I will make next time. I am only going to use one less potato and see how that goes. I think the level of "cheese was good enough that if I take out one potato it should make a big difference.

I am also entering this marvelous crock pot recipe into Jolene's Culinary Adventures contest for October Tasty Tools! I will update on who won and a link to the recipe because you know it will be amazing!

Potato Soup Plus

4 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed (5 potatoes used in this recipe)
1 cup cooked, cubed ham
1 cup fresh broccoli florets, cut very fine
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can fiesta nacho cheese soup
3/4 can chicken broth
2 1/2 soup cans milk
paprika, to taste

Place potatoes, ham and broccoli in sprayed crock pot. In saucepan combine and mix soups, milk and broth until smooth. Stir into crock pot and cook for 7-9 hours on low. Sprinkle paprika when serving to taste.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

I went to the store today to get some white chocolate chips to make some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies later. While there, I happen to look over at the canned pumpkin area and noticed the big empty shelf with canned pumpkin puree was not empty. I got curious and walked over to see what the big difference was between the pumpkin pie mix and the canned pumpkin. I have heard so much about this and how there is a huge shortage of the puree. Yeah, I snagged 4 cans. Might go back later to get 4 more.

So when I got home, I wanted to find the perfect recipe. I had just purchased two huge bags of apples planning on doing several different kinds of recipes. I found an amazing muffin recipe online and just had to make it. I miffed it a bit but it still turned out amazing! So here is "my" version of the muffins.

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4 tsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease muffin tray.

In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture until moist and fold in apples. Spoon batter into muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together last 4 ingredients, adding butter 1 tsp at a time. Spread over Muffins before baking.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Fettuccini with Asparagus and Ham

I always talk about my husband but I never have properly introduced him. His name is Brad and he hates vegetables. Anything green he calls "rabbit food" and picks aside on his plate. I can't sneak it in anything. Unless it's deep-fried and doused in grease there is no way he will eat it .. until now.

I found this recipe in my Better Homes cookbook that I got for the wedding. This is the third recipe I have made and without hesitation I can say that this book is not a disappointment. Fettuccini has always been one of my all-time favorite dishes, but I have never made it without alfredo sauce so I was very skeptical of this recipe. The one thing I did like was that I still had some asparagus leftover and didn't know what to do with it and this recipe also had only 6 ingredients. Absolutely love it!!!

I put the recipe as directed in the book below but I used my shredded cheese I already had that was half mozzarella and half pepper jack. The result was still great. I also have never understood when a recipe calls for cooked ham so what I did was slice up some deli ham and it was fine.

Fettuccini with Asparagus and Ham

8 ounces dry fettuccini, broken in half
1 pound fresh asparagus, ends cut off, 1-inch slices
1 tbsp canola oil (or cooking oil)
3 roma tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
1/4 pound cooked ham, thin sliced and cubed (I used deli ham)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (or other preferred type)

Cook fettuccini noodles according to package directions, drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook and stir asparagus in hot oil about 4 minutes or until lightly browned/tender. Add tomatoes and ham. Cook for an additional 2 minutes until heated through. There will be a little sauce, which is fine. Add asparagus mixture to fettuccini and stir gently to combine. Mix in cheese and stir until completely melted. Serve warm.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken San Marco

This past week I worked really late nights because of all the overtime we had to work. I really hate it but somebody's gotta do it. Well, at any rate I really enjoy coming home to dinner already made and allowing my husband to eat at his own convenience. He gets home a few hours before I do so I feel kinda bad that he has to wait hours on end for me to make dinner.

Because of this, I really like making crockpot recipes. I will make anything I can find. I even bought a huge crockpot recipe book from Borders on clearance for around $2.50. It's been pretty amazing so far. Anyways, I found this recipe on TPOX's blog and if you haven't figured it out yet, hers is one of my fav's. I did my own version and used mostly what I had.

Turned out well, but the chicken was really dry so maybe next time I will just put it on for 4 hours instead of 6. Also, I might use more canned tomatoes to allow the chicken to be more moist. Also next time I might keep the chicken frozen like she does in her recipe. That might help as well.

Chicken San Marco

1 head of broccoli florets, cut small
1 medium onion
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chicken bouillon
1 8oz can italian plum tomatoes, with juice, chopped
1/2 can mexican chili-ready tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
2lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (left whole or cut into cubes)

Place broccoli, onions, carrots and plum tomatoes in bottom of crockpot. Place chicken on top. Mix together remaining ingredients and spread over chicken. Cook on 4 hour setting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Perfect Apple Pie

Everyone has one. An old family recipe that is just perfect. Well, this is mine. Totally perfect and impossible to mess up. Trust me, if it could be done .. I would have somehow done it by now. I made this pie for my friend at work who was leaving. On her last day I brought this in and every single person that had a piece told me how amazing it tasted. One guy even said that it tasted like grandma's apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.

Trust me, it is exactly that.

Perfect Apple Pie

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
7 medium to large apples (I used 5 granny smith and 2 gala), peeled and sliced
3 tbsp butter or margarine
3 tsp real lemon
2 nine-inch pie crusts

Stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl. Mix in apples until mixture is paste-like.

Add mixture into greased pie pan lined with one pie crust. Cover with the second pie crust and fold edges over and make into zig-zag (crust) pattern. Cut 6-8 slits in the top of the pie crust about an inch long. Sprinkle crust with cinnamon.

Cover edges of crust with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees (conventional). Remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Apple Pumpkin Chili

Winter. The time for big sweaters, monstrous boots and chili. To me, the most notorious winter dinner is chili. I have been eating my husband's same old chili recipe for years now and although I love him, his chili could use some work. He does the traditional meat, tomatoes, beans, spaghetti, etc. I wanted something different and came across TPOX's blog (a personal favorite of mine) and her Apple Pumpkin Chili looked just amazing!

I made do with what I had and used some of my personal favorites in place of what was on her recipe. I also forgot about the bacon. I think the chili I made was missing something flavorful and the bacon definitely would have added to it so I think next try I will most certainly add it in there.

My husband didn't like the chili. He ate one bowl and said he won't eat any more or the leftovers, which is rare for him. I was so afraid to try it when I got home later this evening, but it smelled so good I didn't care what he thought so I tried it. I really loved it and I think it just all depends on what you like and your acquired taste. I don't like anything pumpkin AT ALL and the pumpkin in this is very subtle and not overbearing. I also couldn't really taste the apple until after eating the chili so I might add another apple next time too.

Edit: After eating a few bowls, I can now say that I will not use coriander for this recipe.. or any other for that matter. What a horrible spice. Blegh! It was too crunchy, especially for chili.

Apple Pumpkin Chili

1 pound ground turkey or chicken
2 cans white beans (Navy & Northern are my personal choices)
1.5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped
1 medium shallot, diced
1 granny smith apple, diced
1/2 of a 14oz can of pumpkin puree (1 cup)
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp dry sage
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp thyme
(optional) equal parts cornstarch & chicken broth for thickening
grated cheese (gouda is quite popular but I used what I had, cheddar & mozzarella)

Combine all ingredients except cheese and thickener in a crockpot, stirring well. Cook on high 4 hours or medium 6 hours. If consistency is not as thick as you would like, add the thickener as needed for a few minutes on high. Top chili with cheese and serve warm.


I saw the most delicious looking picture on the Apple-A-Day blog for some snickerdoodles. These cookies are my favorite from when I was a kid and growing up. I think the cinnamon flavor is so might lighter to enjoy than chocolate chips. But then again, I am not your normal chocolate lover. Cinnamon is another story, however. My apple pie .. YUM! Well, that is for another blog .. another day.

At any rate, I made these exactly as specified to the recipe, but unfortunately everybody's oven is different and cookie trays are different. Well, my cookies came out really soft to begin with (so soft I thought they weren't completely cooked although they were). After cooling on the cooling racks they were very hard. I don't like hard snickerdoodles so I will definitely try try again! After keeping in the fridge, however they were quite soft. Also, this is the first time I have used the cooling racks. I see them everywhere so I wanted to get some to use. Not a huge fan so far. They aren't anything to brag about.

Tip: eat the cookies after heating in microwave for about 10 seconds with a small glass of milk!! OMGYUM!! For the rest of them, keep them refridgerated and they will stay nice and perfectly soft!!


2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4-5 tsp ground cinnamon

Sift together flour and powder in a small bowl. Set aside. Put butter and 1 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs. Gradually stir in flour mixture on low speed.

In a separate small bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and desired amount of cinnamon to preferred ratio. I typically always have a nice mixture on hand for cinnamon sugar toast, which will do just fine!

Shape dough into 1 3/4 inch balls and roll into cinnamon sugar mix. Note: the mixture was pretty sticky so have all of your pans laid out and ready to go before making these! Place on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until edges are very slightly golden brown. Halfway through baking, rotate cookie sheets. Cool on wire rack if desired.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Banana Bread

Who eats all their bananas before they turn brown? Nobody in my household. I started freezing them, hearing that they make for good banana bread later. I found a fantastic recipe and decided to try it since I had everything at home for it and didn't need to buy anything. I love those kinds of recipes. The ones I can just find things in my pantry and make right away.

I have never made banana bread before so I wasn't aware of just how dark it is supposed to get. I didn't finish cooking it the first trial so I just stuck it back in the oven for a little while longer. Next time I'll know. I adjusted the recipe below to account for that.

Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Mix all ingredients with a mixer for about 2 minutes. Bake in a greased 9x9 pan at 350 degrees (conventional) for 50-55 minutes or until completely baked through. Check this by sticking a toothpick in the middle.

I also think these would make great banana cupcakes (future blog)!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So a friend of mine at work brought in these amazing melt-in-your-mouth cookies one day. Well, of course I had to try to remake them myself. When I remade them they weren't quite the same taste, but both were equally fantastic! I am not really a big chocolate lover, but these have a hint of peanut butter so the chocolate is not overwhelming. These cookies are also the only cookies I have ever made that didn't turn into rocks 2 hours after baking them. I am so proud!! They are the PERFECT soft batch cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pkg peanut butter chocolate chips

Blend butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and baking powder in large bowl. Mix in chips and then flour. Refrigerate for a few hours (optional, but helps to roll dough later).

Roll dough into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. With palm of hand or a flat spatula, flatten dough balls down. Bake at 350 degrees (conventional) for 15 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to cool.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chicken Parmigiana

I tried this recipe from a cookbook I got as a wedding gift. I am always trying to test new recipes and seeing what I can find. This one caught my eye because I thought it was a baked chicken recipe. Nope. Stovetop. Either way it was pretty easy and quick. It was also a little spicy which my husband really enjoys! He calls himself a chili-head.

The chicken I used was pretty thick so I had to cook it much longer than the recipe called for but it still turned out fantastic. I also got home late and we were both starving so I didn't allow time for the cheese to melt when I took the picture. The recipe called for Parmesan cheese but I used what we had, since we had a ton of it. Definitely a must-make recipe!!

Chicken Parmigiana

1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp sugar
dash salt & pepper
1/8 cup basil
4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts (the thinner ones work best)
1/3 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For sauce

In medium saucepan, cook onion and garlic in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in sugar, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in basil and set aside.

For Chicken

Dip chicken in bow with egg and milk mixture. Then, dip it into another bowl with 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, oregano and bread crumbs. Place in a large skillet in hot oil over medium heat. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Transfer chicken to serving dish and cover with sauce mixture and remaining 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. Let stand until cheese melts.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Spicy Meatloaf

I apologize in advance because meatloaf is one of those recipes I don't ever measure anything. There aren't very many, but there are a few. I did try to do my best to measure for the sake of the blog. Typically my meatloaf is ground beef but I had some ground turkey and leftover peppers and I was feeling spicy. I have never made it with anything but onions but this time added peppers. Turned out pretty delicious and it's really the first recipe that I have tweaked nearly every part of. I did add spices in which I never had before.

Spicy Meatloaf

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/3 cup ketchup
2 slices wheat bread (any other kind will do)
1/3 cup mixture of chopped onion, red and green pepper
1 tsp canola oil
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

Knead all ingredients in a bowl with hands until thoroughly mixed. Shape in the form of a loaf in an 8x8 pan. You won't use the entire pan but it will drain fatty juices as it cooks. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin Seeds

My favorite time of year is fall. I am not to keen on the weather because it's a precursor to blizzards, snow, sleet and 8 layers of clothing. What fall does offer is lots of great seasonal food. Some of the best types of food are squash, pumpkins, etc. I have learned through the years to not waste leftovers, too. Here is a great, easy recipe you can do with your pumpkin seeds with everyday household items.

Also, you can substitute any oil you want to use. I use peanut oil because it's fairly healthy and bakes well. I used some of my leftover spaghetti squash seeds (as an experiment to see if they taste the same .. since they look the same). Yeah, they are just as delicious.

Pumpkin Seeds

4 tsp peanut oil
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 cups seeds

Mix everything in a bowl and bake in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 (conventional) for 25 minutes. Halfway through, flip the seeds over with a spatula.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Having lots of leftover spaghetti squash I had no idea what to do with it. Someone on The Nest website's What's Cooking board had posted this recipe. Two words: easy and delicious. Neither of those words does it justice. Just make it!!

I used extra cheese just because I love cheese. I also omitted the water (totally by accident) so I just didn't include it on my recipe below. Turned out perfect anyways! The girl on the website that gave me the recipe said that she omitted all the cheese and added a little parmesan to the top. Make it your own...

Spaghetti Squash Casserole:

1 small spaghetti squash, cooked
1 lb ground beef
1/2 C chopped onion
1/4 C chopped green pepper
1/2 C chopped red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp oregano
2 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

In large skillet, cook the beef, onion, peppers and garlic until meat is browned. Drain fat, return to pan with tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and squash. Continue cooking 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Transfer mixture to large casserole dish and mix in 1.5 cups of the cheese. Bake at 350 (conventional) for 25 minutes. Top with additional 1 cup of cheese and bake until melted.