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!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Southwest Spaghetti Pie

I have a document saved on my computer of all the recipes I want to try. It's going on 3 pages long and I keep adding to it whenever I check my favorite blogs! I found this recipe on The Teacher Cooks and what caught my eye about it was the fact that it can be prepped ahead of time as well as the fact that it makes a ton! With my schedule this semester, it feels like I'm rushed to get dinner on the table most nights. It's nice to have everything prepared the night or day before and be able to toss it all together, cook, and serve! I also love leftovers because it saves us money on lunch the next day. Be prepared, this recipe makes a lot!

8 ounces thin spaghetti
1/3 cup of milk
1 egg
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese with jalapeno
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 425º. Put water on to boil and cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Brown meat with onion, pepper, and garlic. Drain if necessary. Add seasonings and stir in tomato sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes while the pasta is cooking.

Butter a 9 x 13 pyrex dish. Mix well egg and milk in a small bowl. Temper the eggs and milk with some of the warm pasta until the milk and eggs are warm (Do this to avoid scrambling the eggs in hot pasta). In large bowl, pour cooked pasta and mix with milk and eggs. Pour the pasta mixture into buttered pyrex dish. Top with the sauce and add shredded cheeses. Bake at 425º for 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Let standd for 5 minutes before serving.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cheesy Sausage Penne

I made this recipe awhile back before I started blogging. It was delicious but it somehow got lost in my binder of recipes. I found it again while browsing this blog and remembered how delicious it was. While I'm not usually a fan of cream cheese in cooked meals, this tastes delicious as long as it is mixed in!


1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
16 oz uncooked penne pasta
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sourcream
4 green onions, sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and onions.

In a greased shallow 3-qt baking dish, layer half the pasta and sausage mixture. Dollop with half of the cream cheese mixture and then sprinkle with half the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.

Baked, uncovered, at 350º for 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Smores Cupcakes

This recipe begins with a story. The story of the poor little hand mixer who thought he could. He thought he could hang with the big bad KitchenAid Mixers and make frosting but alas, he couldn't. After whisking the frosting for 7 minutes on high, his little engine gave out and he couldn't :(

Yep, my $5 hand mixer that has lasted me through almost 10 months of cooking and baking finally gave out. I was worried it would happen but the thought of a marshmallow-like frosting on top of my graham cracker and chocolate cupcake overrode my worries. Even though my frosting wasn't fully whipped, it still tasted delicious on top of these smore's cupcakes!

This recipe is one of a 3 smore's cupcake recipes I have bookmarked to try. I found it on Joelen's blog and it seemed very straight-forward and easy. It was delicious and made me want to go camping again! But at least I can enjoy the deliciousness of smore's without the campfire smell in your hair!

I made these for a get together with the group I went canoeing/camping with last weekend. I thought a smore's cupcake was the perfect thing to bring to the potluck!

Oh, and with the demise of my hand mixer and the problems I encountered toasting the frosting with a lighter, I've decided i need to invest in two new kitchen tools: a KitchenAid stand mixer and a kitchen torch! Now I only have to convince the husband.... :)

Graham Cracker and Milk Chocolate Cupcakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 20 crackers)
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips, chopped

Swiss Meringue Marshmallow Frosting
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 egg whites
2 tsps vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º.

Mix flour, crushed graham crackers, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, Alternately add flour mixture and milk and beat until batter is almost smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

Line cupcake pan with liners. Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a fork inserted comes our clean (mine were done about 17 minutes). Remove from oven and cool.

To make the frosting: Combine egg whites and sugar in the top of a double boiler (or a glass bowl over but not touching a pan of simmering water). Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until mixture reaches 160º, about 5 minutes. Pour egg white mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (take note STAND MIXTURE :) )fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 6 minutes, or until room temperature. Add optional vanilla extract 1 tsp at a time until desired taste is reached.

Garnish with graham cracker squares, milk chocolate squares, or be adventurous and toast the frosting with a kitchen torch!

Weekly Meal List

Sunday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken
Monday: Shepherds Pie
Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Wednesday: Cheesy Sausage Penne
Thursday: Baked Ziti
Friday: Enchi-ritos
Saturday: Date Night :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'll be back soon!

Sorry for such a long wait for posts! I'm going through midterms in school right now as well as starting up my internship, so I've been super busy! But the real delay in posts is because of a trip required for my major. I spent four days this weekend canoeing over 20 miles up and down the Colorado River.

We started here
and ended up here
right beneath the Hoover Dam. It was an amazing, hard, and rewarding trip and it reminded me of how much I love my major.

We saw tons of big horned sheep, got a little dirty, and saw some amazing views!

Now for the cooking related part of the trip :) We experienced camping culinary creations
like Dutch Oven Pizzas, Cornbread and Chili, French Toast and Sausage, and Blueberry Pancakes! All of this was cooked on top of our canoe kitchen!

The food was some of the best camping fare I've experienced! I promise to post some actual recipes this week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baked Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

I love the recipe I use for enchiladas. It's easy, delicious, and my hubby's favorite dish. I had a lot of chicken to use up this week though so I decided to try a new recipe. I found this one over at The Mess Pot. It was very easy to put together and while it doesn't top my beef version, it still makes for a delicious meal.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups prepared salsa
2 cups grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
Salt and Pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced
12-14 soft round 6-8 inch corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 325º. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and the sour cream. Stir in the 1/2 cup of the salsa and 1 cup of grated cheese. In a second bowl, toss together teh chicken, corn cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, and 1/2 the scallions. Add the chicken mixture to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.

In a baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of salsa over the bottom. Place about a1/4 cup of the mixture on the tortilla, roll up and transfer to the baking dish with the seam side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Pour remaining salsa over the enchiladas, spreading to coat all of them. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining scallions and serve warm. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lemon and Basil Chicken

After making the lemon and basil spaghetti a few weeks ago, I decided I loved the flavor combination! It tastes so fresh and since our weather hasn't quite started feeling like Fall yet, I decided to try out this recipe from For the Love of Cooking.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Juice and zest of one lemon
3 tbsp of fresh basil, chopped (divided)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil (divided)

Place chicken breasts in a large zip lock bag. Pound the chicken breasts flat with a mallet until 1/2 inch thick. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, 2.5 tbsp of fresh basil salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Mix thoroughly and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator 10 minutes prior to cooking. Heat the 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken breasts and cook for 4 minutes then flip. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove from heat and let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with the last half tbsp of fresh basil and extra lemon. Enjoy!