Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I haven't posted in awhile. There are a lot of posts that need to be written but between flying home for my sister's wedding, Christmas, and then getting a severe case of the flu and strep throat, cooking and blogging have been placed way down on my list. Hopefully I'll be feeling better in a few days and I will have lots of posts for you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

7 Layer Magic Bars

Alternate post title: Sweet Deliciousness

For the cookie exchange I hosted, I wanted to do something a little different. We had ten girls coming so I knew we would have tons of cookies. I choose to do a bar and I picked one of the best bars I know. Magic bars are just that- a magical blend of layers of different flavors. I omitted the nuts since I know some people are allergic to them. I even made an extra batch to send to work with Neil and his buddies loved them!

Recipe yields 2 dozen but can be easily doubled.

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chops
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350º (325º for glass pan). Combine graham crackers and melted butter and mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom of a well-greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Add chocolate chips and butterscotch next. Top with coconut. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into squares or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Chicken Chili

Oh San Diego. It's the middle of December and I think I'm safe to put chili on the menu and the day I plan on making it dawns and lo and behold, it's 85º and sunny out. There's just something wrong about laying out on the beach and then going home to eat chili from the crock pot. Yep, something wrong about that picture.

Luckily, this wasn't your normal kind of chili. It's not heavy or super creamy so it worked fine for our not so wintery night! Recipe is from Lemons and Love.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups salsa verde (the green salsa)
2 cans northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 small can green chiles
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tsps white pepper
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

In your slow cooker combine broth, salsa verde beans, celery, green chiles and spices. Mix well and nestle chicken into the liquid. Cook on high for 4 hours and take chicken out and shred it. Return to crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sausage Balls

Recently, I hosted a cookie exchange (more posts coming on that soon). We had ten girls RSVP so I knew we would have lots of sweets at the party. I wanted to have a few appetizers set out that were more substantial/salty/etc than cookies. While brainstorming, I immediately thought of sausage balls!

Sausage balls are a staple at our house during Christmas. It never seems like they are served during a meal or set out as appetizers. Instead they're made, put in little cookie tins, and then people just munch on them throughout the day. They're yummy, bite sized, and can be prepared ahead of time- a perfect appetizer!

3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 lb italian sausage (I bought the spicy kind because I like a little heat to mine)
4 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup milk
pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. If you have a kitchen-aid mixer, this is easy with the dough hook. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the balls are golden brown. Cool completely and serve.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


These were delicious and not at all dry like I thought they would be. Apparently, pasties were a popular food for miners because they were portable and could be eaten without utensils. We sat at the kitchen table and I ate with utensils but the hubby choose to use his hands :) He recommends them if you need a meal on the go!

I forgot the egg wash, but even without it they were great! Recipe from Tiny Tyrants Kitchen.

2 pie crusts
1.5 lbs ground beef
2-3 potatos
1/2 white onion
1-2 tsps minced garlic
salt and pepper
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 400º. Roll pie crust out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut crusts into 4 half circles.

Boil potatoes about 8-10 minutes until slightly soft, but still firm. Drain, peel and chop potatoes. Add potatoes to a bowl with ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix carefully with hands to form 4 balls. Place each ball on half of each of the half-circles of the crust. Fold over sides to cover meat and crimp edges. Poke a few holes on top to release steam.

Beat egg and water together. Brush top of pasties with egg wash. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tortilla Lasagna Casserole

This was delicious. But not very pretty. Hubby had 24 hour duty tonight so I wanted to bring him something more exciting than a frozen pizza or a hot pocket for dinner. This was very easy to make and delicious according to his text! Between taking his over to base and dealing with cleaning the house I completely forgot to take a picture. So... picture a burrito unwrapped and spread all over the place. That's exactly what it looks like! Recipe source.

1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1/2 package of taco seasoning
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3/4 cup salsa
1 5 oz. can diced green chiles
2 large tortillas
1 cup sourcream
1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine cooked ground beef with taco seasoning, water, and green onions. Stir in salsa and green chiles.

Spray a 9- inch round cake pan with a nonstick spray. Place a tortilla in the bottom of the pan, pressing up the edges if needed. Top with half of the beef mixture. Spread half of the sour cream on top of the beef. Sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese.

Repeat with another tortilla, followed be beef mixture, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes (remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Foil Packet Italian Chicken

I haven't had a lot of posts lately because school has taken over my life. The end of the semester is nearing and with two 25+ page papers due as well as a huge project I've been working on over the entire semester to present, cooking an elaborate meal when I get home is the last thing on my mind. We've eaten an embarrassing amount of pizza and grilled cheeses lately so I knew I had to cook something blog-worthy... and something the husband would like :)

This meal was very easy to put together and even easier to clean up. I'm all about easy these days so it's definitely a keeper. Not to mention that it tasted delicious! The chicken was very juicy and the fact that I could cook chicken and a side in one little packet was perfect. If you have a busy weeknight schedule, you should definitely try this out! Recipe is from Amber's Delectable Delights.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 red potatoes
1/4 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup Italian cheese blend (Or just mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 400º. Lay 2 pieces of aluminum foil on a flat surface and spray the middle of each with a non-stick cooking spray. Wash and scrub potatoes and slice into very thin slices. Arrange the potatoes in an oval shape on the middle of the foil about the size of your piece of chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix all of the seasonings into a small bowl and sprinkle on both sides of the chicken. Place a chicken breast on top of each pile of potatoes. Top each chicken breast with 1/8 cup of marinara sauce and 1/8 cup of cheese.

Raise up the long sides of the foil and fold down twice. Do the same thing to the sides of the foil creating an air tight seal. Place the packets on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is 170º. Remove chicken from oven and let set a few minutes before poking a hole in the foil to release the steam before opening. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rotel Dip

This dish is one of my staples during the holiday season. There are so many parties and events to attend and I'm usually assigned to bring an appetizer. It requires hardly any preparation and can transport easily. We had this for Thanksgiving and I prepped the sausage the night before and the day of I just placed it in my crock-pot and left it alone until the guests arrived!

This is another simple recipe!

1 small box of Velveeta, cut up
1 can Rotel
3 spicy Italian sausages

Fry the sausages until cooked through and no pink remains. Grind the sausage up in your food processor. Mix the Velveeta, sausage, and rotel into a small crock pot. Set on high for 2 hours and then switch to warm. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Once again, no picture :( I actually don't eat broccoli but my husband and our other friends assured me it was delicious! Broccoli cheese casserole seems like a staple at nearly all of my family's holiday meals. This is another recipe of my aunt's!

8 oz. jar Cheese WHiz
1/4 cup margarine, divided
20 oz frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers

Boil broccoli without salt until soft and drain. Cook cheese and 2 tablespoons margarine until smooth. Add broccoli and 1/2 cup of crumbs to the cheese mixture. Place into a greased 8-in baking dish. Melt remaining margarine and toss with remaining crumbs. Sprinkle over broccoli mixture. Bake uncovered at 350º for 20-25 minutes.

This can be completely prepared ahead of time up to the buttered crumbs. On the day of, take out of refrigerator and allow to warm to room temp for about 30 minutes. Follow cooking directions and enjoy!

Cornbread Dressing

I have to start this post by letting you know I took absolutely no pictures from Thanksgiving. Hubby snapped one of the table and one of my plate but that's it. I'm pretty annoyed with myself especially since I put so much effort into setting up the table and food line. But I assure you everything looked delicious and tasted even better!

A few Christmases ago, my aunt gave every one in the family a copy of a cookbook she had put together of her recipes and a few of the family's favorites. My aunt is an awesome cook. She catered our wedding and people are still talking about how delicious everything tasted almost a year later. So when I started menu planning for Thanksgiving, the first thing I consulted was her cookbook!

This recipe comes from my aunt Anelda and it is a perfect dressing for Thanksgiving!

1 cup corn meal
1 1/3 cup self-rising flour
3 tbsp oil
4-8 eggs, beaten (depending on how eggy you like your corn meal)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery (more to taste)
1/5 cups chopped bell pepper
1 stick margarine
salt and pepper to taste
chicken or turkey broth

Mix first 7 ingredients well. Bake in cast-iron skillet at 325º for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool and crumble in a large bowl. Saute vegetables in 1 stick margarine until tender. Add to cornbread. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken or turkey broth to desired consistency. Bake at 400º for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned.

You can use a cornbread mix instead of making it by hand. Omit the first 7 ingredients , except the eggs. If you choose to do this, hard boil your eggs and crumble them into the mixture.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Recap

Our Thanksgiving wasn't a traditional one like the one pictured above. But it was perfect for us. Instead of family, my husband and I had a few of his single friends over and another married couple and their son. When you live 2000 miles away from family, it's just not feasible to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We definitely missed being around our family and their traditions but it was cool to start our own traditions and I know his friends appreciated getting out of the barracks and having a home-cooked meal! We also skipped eating at the table and instead gathered around the couch and living room table. Our little 3-person table held all the food and we talked while watching the football games!

Now, on to the food stuff! I was able to prep nearly everything the day before which made the day of that much easier! Potatoes were peeled, veggies were cut, and the turkey was defrosted-in the bathtub I might add :) The morning of the hubby and I did some last minute cleaning and finished prepping and made a last minute grocery store run. All in all, the day of was hardly stressful! I've listed our menu below and will be adding recipes later on this week!

Rotel Dip in the Crockpot
Lil Smokies wrapped in bacon (requested by my husband)

Main Dish
Turkey with fresh herbs

Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes (a last minute addition the night before)
Sauteed Green Beans
Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Whipped Cream
Butter Cake w/ Cream Cheese Icing
Sweet Potato Pie

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caramelized Chipotle Chicken

So I've been slacking on the blog posts lately. Or at least it feels that way because we haven't been eating anything interesting in our house lately. We're on a very tight budget to save money for Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, and tickets from CA to GA for Christmas (very expensive). But this week I got fed up with plain spaghetti and Ragu sauce, ramen noodles, and grilled cheese (if you ever need to eat cheap you can do it for under $15 a week- I really don't recommend it though). I went out and bought a package of chicken breasts intent on adding a little variety into our meals.

As I was preparing to add a little seasoning and just bake it, I remembered this recipe. The picture does not do it justice at all. Most everything is common stuff you would keep in your kitchen, with the exception of the chipotle peppers. It was the perfect dish to spice up our very bland week. Smoky and saucy with a little (or a lot) spice. If you need something different after Thanksgiving leftovers, give this a try!

1.5 tbsp olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped chipotles in adobo (add more or less depending on your preference)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (original recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on)

Heat oul in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, until smoking. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion powder to the oil, stir and allow to simmer for about 1 minute.

Add the garlic and remaining ingredients, except chicken, to skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes.

Preheat over to 450º and place rack in the center. Brush half of the sauce over the chicken breasts and roast skin side up for 15-20 minutes. Brush remaining sauce on chicken and roast until cooked through and well browned in spots, about 20 more minutes.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Woo hoo, I won!

One of my favorite non-cooking blogs is House of Turquoise. Erin's blog is full of beautiful and inspiring turquoise decor photos and I love reading through it and imagining redoing my house completely in turquoise. Oh, if only my hubby would let me :)

Recently, she held a giveaway for a Candace Rose photo and I won! I can't wait to get my photo in the mail and frame it for our guest room. If you love turquoise or just want to look at some amazingly beautiful pictures, check out Erin's blog or head over to Candace's Etsy shop!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Texas Caviar

This recipe is so easy because all it involves is opening up a few cans and cutting up a few ingredients. It's a perfect dip for a party with a large amount of guests because it makes a ton and it's super addicting! Recipe from here.

2 cans white shoepeg corn
1 can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
16 oz bottle Fat Free Kraft Zesty Italian dressing

Mix all together in a large bowl. Store in the fridge for at least 4 hours to let flavors marinate.

It's as easy as that! You can also add some chopped avocado if you like!

The Sweet 100

I've seen this and some other variations floating around on some of the blogs I visit so I thought I do it.

How the Sweet 100 Works:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items you would never consider eating.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and White Cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana Pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca “pearls”)
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavolva
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon/mille-fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake/Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac Biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch Baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Creme Brulee
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An “upside down” dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S’mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire’s Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

I've only had 32 out of the 100 which kind of surprises me considering I have such a big sweet tooth! I have to admit, I didn't even know what some of these were! Guess I need to start baking more desserts!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For All You Harry Potter Fans... Butterbeer!

I have a confession: I love Harry Potter. Both the hubby and I are addicted and we can't even count how many times we've seen the movies and read the books. We're pretty awesome at Harry Potter Scene It and whenever we move back East, our first vacation will most likely involve a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Unfortunately, the hubby is coaching on the range this week so he has to leave for work before 4 in the morning. As much as we love HP, being on the range around loaded pistols and rifles coaching Marines on how to shoot with very little sleep probably wasn't a good idea. So instead we bought our tickets for 7:00 Friday night and I will just have to try to keep myself from going in the morning while hubby is at work!

When I saw a recipe for Frozen Butterbeer, I decided we had to make it before seeing the movie! I don't really drink but I'm going to go out and buy a bottle of butterscotch schnapps just for this recipe!

When the Hogwarts students went into Hogsmeade, butterbeer was their drink of choice. There isn't enough alcohol in it to have an effect on humans but it will make a house elf drunk! In the books, butterbeer is served hot and foaming but the recipe I'll be using is for frozen butterbeer. Enjoy!

Frozen Butterbeer

For the butterbeer:
1.5 cups cream soda
6 tbsp butterscotch schnapps
2 cups ice
For the foamy topping:
6 tbsps heavy cream
1 tbsp butterscotch schnapps

Combine the cream soda, schnapps, and ice in a blender. Blend until slushy. Pour into a glass or mug. In a small bowl combine heavy cream and schnapps. using an electric mixture, whisk together until almost whipped. You want the cream mixture to be slightly loose, not as firm as whipped cream. Top the butterbeer with the foamy topping and serve immediately. Serves 2. Enjoy!
I can't believe this is the last movie (with the exception of the second part). Seeing how much they've changed makes me want to have a Harry Potter Movie Marathon and enjoy a nice tall glass of butterbeer!

Free Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Cookbook Download

I found out about this on one of the cooking forums I visit and thought I'd pass it along. Here's the link courtesy of the Sirius Radio Website!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stuffed Pork Wellington

This recipe still needs a little work. Well, not the recipe but my pastry folding methods. The first time I made this recipe, it turned out like this...... yep. Not so pretty. But it was still absolutely delicious! My in-laws were in town two weekends ago so I definitely wanted to impress them with my cooking skills :) Amy, at Sing for your Supper, served this at her Luxury Dinner Party for Project Food Blog. As soon as I saw it, I put it on my list of recipes to try. Hers looked much prettier than mine but I'm convinced I'll get it right next time!

My in laws praised the recipe so much that I decided to use it again when my dad came to visit this past weekend! My pastry wrapping skills were much better than the first time. The preparation wasn't that hard and it tasted amazing. I definitely recommend this recipe if you want to impress!

2 pork tenderloins of equal size (about 2.5-3lbs all together)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
extra 2 tbsp butter
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg + 1 splash heavy cream, beaten together, for egg wash

Flatten pork tenderloins between two pieces of plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper.

Mix together the parsley, 2 tbsp of softened butter, parmesan, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste (you're making a paste).

Spread mixture on one of the tenderloins. Top with the other tenderloin and press together firmly. Tie into place with a white string.

Heat the other 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet and brown the tenderloins well on both sides (about 2 minutes per side) over medium-high heat. Remove, allow to cool slightly and remove string.

Flour a large surface and a rolling pin and roll the puff pastry out into a rectangle large enough to wrap around the tenderloins. If you find that you don't have the rolling pin like you thought you did (like I did), use a rounded cup or coffee mug. Place the tenderloins on the pastry, moisten the edges with the egg wash and press firmly together to enclose the tenderloins completely. If desired, make decorations from any surplus pastry, moisten and press into place on top. Brush all over with egg wash.

Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 400º oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and bake for an additional 20 minutes (if pastry is browning too quickly, place a foil tent over it). Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, cut into thick slices. Serves 4-6.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Roasted Asparagus

Like the pesto palmiers, roasted asparagus is an easy and quick dish to prepare for company. There is not a lot of preparation involved but they are delicious. While there are many ways to prepare it, this is my favorite!

2 bunches of medium asparagus
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
Grated or shaved Parmesan, optional

Preheat oven to 450º. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Spread the spears in a single layer n a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and roll to coat thoroughly.

Roast the asparagus until lightly browned and tender, about 8-10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake about halfway through to turn the asparagus. Arrange the roasted asparagus on a serving platter and top with some Parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pesto Palmiers

This recipe appealed to me not only because I love pesto but also because it's so quick! When I have company, I hate spending lots of time in the kitchen. I'd much rather make a quick meal and spend time talking while dinner cooks. This recipe would also work if you had unexpected company and needed something to share.
The recipe is from Confections of a Foodie Bride.

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1/2-3/4 cup pesto
1 egg
1tbsp water

Preheat oven to 375º. Roll out the puff pastry on a piece of parchment into a 12x12 inch square. Spread the pesto within a 1/2 inch of each side of the pastry. Using your spatula, make three indentions on the top edge of the dough at 3 inches, 6 inches, and 9 inches to divide the sheet into quarters.

Fold the left and right edges of the puff pastry halfway to the center of the dough (to the closest quarter-mark indention). Fold the sides to the middle again until they're almost touching. Fold the two halves together like a book.

(You can stop here and freeze for later use. Just let the logs thaw a bit and then proceed)

Cut into 1/2 inch slices and place onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Whisk egg and water together and brush over the palmiers. Bake for 8 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes. Palmiers are best the day of baking.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

So I've been a little absent. My in-laws came out for a visit and then 2 days later my dad came out to visit! We haven't seen them since July so we we're quite excited! I didn't get much blogging done but I sure did a lot of cooking! I'll post the recipes in the next few days but for now I'll leave you with my favorite Fall snack!

Scoop the seeds from the pumpkin and try to separate from pulp. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out all the pulp and seeds. This is easiest to do when it's in a colander.

In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups to every half cup of seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for ten minutes and remove from heat and drain.

If you prefer, leave them out overnight to dry out.

Place the pumpkins in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with a non-stick cooking spray.

Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325º F until toasted, about 25 minutes. Stirring every 8-10 minutes.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mummy Dogs

Last night, hubby and I finally carved our pumpkin. We opened our screen door, let the 80º weather drift in for a few minutes, closed it and tried to get into the Halloween spirit by imagining it was a chilly 50º. To get us in the mood I served mummy dogs! While not the most elegant or extremely sophisticated meal, it was fun to eat these little guys and get in the Halloween mood! These would be perfect for a Halloween party!

Recipe is from Pillsbury website

1 can Pillsbury refridgerated crescent rolls
2.5 slices of american cheese, quartered
10 large hot dogs
cooking spray
mustard, ketchup, optional

Heat oven to 375º. Unroll dough, separate at perforations to create 4 rectangles. With a knife, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces. Wrap 4 pieces of dough and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like bandages, stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end, separate the "bandages" so the hot dog shows through for the face. Place wrapped hot dogs, cheese side down, on greased large cookie sheet.

Bake 13-17 minutes until dough is a light golden brown. use mustard to add features to the face. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roasted Chickpeas

I love chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Normally I have them on my salad but when I saw this recipe on Cooking with Christen I had to try it. Overall, they were pretty tasty. There were a few that hadn't been completely cooked through so they were a little mushy on the insides which didn't suit my texture buds but the taste was delicious. I made half the can using the recipe as is and the other half I added salt, pepper, garlic, and a smidge of our popcorn seasoning salt. Both were delicious but I preferred the garlic ones over the cumin!

can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2-3 tbsps of olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin

Preheat oven to 425º. Line a pan with aluminum foil and add the chickpeas. Roast for 10 minutes, then shake well. Roast another 10 minutes and remove from the oven.

Combine the chickpeas with the other ingredients. Toss well to coat. Spread back in baking pan and cook until very crunchy (this can take awhile). Check about every 10 minutes, shaking the pan when you do. Once they've reached the desired crunchiness, enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Candy Corn Cupcakes

I can't take credit for this picture. I've had it saved on my computer and don't have the source.
If it's yours let me know and I'll give you credit!

I love candy corn. I inherited this love of candy corn from my dad. We would even leave candy corn out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve! Even though I chow down on the sugary goodness anytime of the year, eating it during October just makes it even better. I've yet to reach the point where I can't eat anymore but I'm getting close this October!

This recipe is simple but the cute factor comes from the coloring and decorations. I know a lot of food bloggers dislike using cake mixes but I have no problem whipping out my Duncan Hines and making some cupcakes. As much as I love made-from-scratch cupcakes, I love the ease of a mix when I have no time!

1 box of white cake mix prepared according to directions on the box
red food coloring
yellow food coloring
white icing

Divide your prepared cake mix evenly between two bowls. Add drops of yellow food coloring to one bowl of the batter. Mix until desired shade of yellow is achieved. Add red and yellow food coloring to the other bowl of batter and mix until desired shade of orange is reached. Fill cupcakes 1/4 full with yellow batter. Top the yellow batter with an orange batter to the halfway point. Bake cupcakes according to the directions on the box. Cool. Top with white icing and desired decorations!

Be careful not to bake too long or your cupcake will develop a nice brown outside and the only way to see the coloring will be to cut it in half. I learned that the first batch. Also, it works better with mini cupcakes than with the regular sized ones!

Try not to overindulge on candy corn!

Skillet Chicken Tortilla Casserole

This meal was delicious! It had a few very distinct flavors that went very well together. I was a little hesitant while making it because I was afraid the tortilla chips would be soggy and not taste right but because you add them in two separate batches there was a perfect balance between the soft first batch and the crispy second!

Recipe is from Pink Parsley.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tbsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I used 1 but next time will use 2 peppers)
5 cups tortilla chips, broken into pieces
1 tomato cored, seeded, and chopped
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded (1 cup)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the boiler and adjust the rack to about 6 inches from the heating source.

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a 10-inch oven safe skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the chicken and cook on both sides until golden brown, 5-7 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining oil, shallot, garlic, chipotle, and 1/4 tsp of salt, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and scrape off browned bits, and bring to a simmer. Stir in half of the tortilla chips. Nestle the chicken into the broth and cook over medium low heat until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and when cool enough to handle, shred into bite sized pieces.

Return the shredded chicken to the skillet with the tomato, 1/2 cup of cheese, and 1 tbsp of the cilantro. Stir in the other half of the tortilla chips until they are incorporated and moistened.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and broil until the cheese is melted and browning, 2-3 minutes. Top with the remaining cilantro and serve, allowing casserole to cool 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I’m one of those people who appreciate the plastic plates with dividers. Regardless of the fact that there aren’t nearly enough sections, I like being able to separate my food into 3 different areas on my plate. I sincerely dislike mixing my food. I love Thanksgiving but I find it so hard to separate all the many dishes and keep them from touching. So I usually end up just avoiding the edges where the foods have mixed. I might have a problem….

I’ve never had shepherd’s pie before for precisely this reason. I love mashed potatoes and I love ground beef in almost any dish but I don’t like to mix them. But the hubby requested it and it seemed like such a comfort food (we’ve been having some surprisingly cold weather) and the picture on Sing for Your Supper looked delicious!

This recipe is originally from For the Love of Cooking.
Mashed Potato Topping
5-6 large potat0es, peeled and cut into thirds
1/4 cup of milk
3 tbsp sour cream
2-3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Boil a large pot of water. Boil your peeled and cut potatoes 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place back into the pan. Add the milk, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, sea salt, and black pepper then mash with a masher or blend with a mixer until creamy and smooth. Cover with a lid and set aside.

Meat Filling and Sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used garlic powder)
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I used double this)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup beef broth (I used chicken)

While the potatoes are boiling, preheat the oven to 400º. HEat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery then cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the lean ground beef and cook thoroughly, draining as needed. Add the salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Once the beef is done cooking, mix the peas into the mixture until well combined. Pour the beef filling into a large baking dish and set aside. In the same skillet, over medium heat, add the 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour. Mix thoroughly then slowly add the beef/chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper (I also added more Worcestershire). Pour the sauce over the beef mixture and mix thoroughly. Top the beef and vegetable mixture with the mashed potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!