Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sausage Pumpkin Penne

I know it sounds a bit...different. But I was excited to try it as I was intrigued by it. We are always up for trying new things and since I'm still on my pumpkin kick and was craving sausage we gave it a go! I did not tell K what was in it first nor did I tell A. I called it orange pasta!

Sausage Pumpkin Penne-shared from Newlyweds
1 lb sausage, casings removed
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 lb penne,cooked
1 onion, chopped
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 cup broth
1/2 cup sour cream(I used cottage cheese)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Parmesan Cheese for topping

Brown sausage and drain. Add in onion and garlic and saute for 5 mins or until tender. Whisk in broth, pumpkin, half and half, and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 mins. Add in sour cream and cook for another 4 mins uncovered.

Toss pasta with sauce and serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

**Q loved the sausage as he begged for it...I didn't give it to the boys at first as I didn't expect them to eat it. Just served them plain penne with cheese. A wouldn't try it but apparently Q would have. We both decided it was quite different and something definitely out of the ordinary, but it was very tasty!

I did use cottage cheese instead of sour cream as I didn't have any. When I looked up a sub for it they said to mix milk and cottage cheese together and puree it. I just skipped that part. You couldn't really taste or see the cheese. I thought the sauce was a bit thin at first, but attributed that to not use the sour cream to thicken it. But once it sat on the the pasta it was no longer thin.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

So to continue on with my pumpkin addiction we now have a hot drink! I always see on fb people ranting and raving about the Starbucks version. I'll have you know that I tried it one night and it was AWFUL! It was the worse money I've ever spent on anything and I had to force myself to finish it. From what I've heard it clearly wasn't made right.

Then comes this Starbucks run needed and its WAY cheaper! I do suggest drinking it all on the same day/time you make it. I split it and had the rest on another day and the pumpkin solidified, but perhaps if you did re-heat it on the stove again it would be fine.

Pumpkin Spice Latte-shared from Newlyweds
2 cups milk
3 tbsp pumpkin puree
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup strong coffee or expresso
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla

Place milk, pumpkin, and sugar in small saucepan, stir. Heat to steaming. Stir in spice and vanilla. Pour in coffee. Stir and place into mugs. Top with whipped cream if you wish.

**This was by far MUCH MUCH better than the Starbucks fiasco...I would definitely make it again, I just need more pumpkin!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mexican Ravioli

A few weeks ago I was looking for something different to make with ravioli besides your typical white or red sauce topping. My friend, Meggan, shared this recipe. She hadn't tried it yet, but it sounded good to both me and my friend Amy, so we made it for our cooking day.

Except I forgot that it really doesn't go well with my lactose intolerant he had something else!

Mexican Ravioli-shared from Myrecipes
1 25 oz pkg frozen cheese ravioli
1 16 oz jar salsa
6 oz can tomato paste
2 cups black beans
1/2 tsp cumin
1-2 cups shredded cheese

Mix together beans, salsa, puree, and cumin. Now I laid the ravioli in the bottom of the dish and topped it with this mix and spread the cheese on top, BUT the original instructions say to layer it like a lasagna. So it's your choice.

Place in 350 degree oven for 45 mins covered. Remove cover and cook for another 5 mins until hot and bubbly.

**Q loved the beans, A liked the ravioli. K liked it all...and for me was just ok. I've decided I'm just not a fan of ravioli casseroles, but its more of a texture thing than it not tasting good. I shared one with a friend who's boyfriend is vegetarian and they both said it was really good. So did Amy and her family, but she would add in some corn next time for some color. I would too, if I made it again. But considering Q' can't eat it, I probably wont! It was pretty quick and easy to make and great for a make ahead meal!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Chicken Burgers

These were made on our cooking day, again it helped to use up some of my apples and was very easy to put together!

Apple Chicken Burgers- Pillsbury
1 lb ground chicken or turkey(I used breast)
1 apple, peeled, shredded
1/2 small onion, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup(or more breadcrumbs)*

Mix together ingredients and form into patties. Place on grill and cook until internal temperature is 165.

*I shredded my onion and apple into the bowl that I added my meat too, so it made it VERY VERY wet. I had to add in the breadcrumbs in order to shape the burgers. If you don't do this you might have to add 2 tbsp water.

**The burgers were very moist and flavorful. K and I really liked them. I had one for lunch today and put some apple-cranberry chutney on the top of it and it worked out very well! YUM!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cranberry Apple Chutney

I realized as I was making dinner last night that I had no veggies in the house. I needed something to balance the carbs and protein so I remembered this recipe. I was also trying to make dried cranberries and after 3 days only a few were dried, so I decided to try this recipe with them. I also still had some apples left and wanted to try it to see if I wanted to make it for thanksgiving this year.

I also cut the sugar back and used some maple syrup in it as well, an idea I saw in Bon Appetite.

Cranberry Apple Chutney-adapted from Taste of Home
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1 12oz pkg fresh or frozen whole cranberries
2 large tart apples, peeled, and finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted(omitted)

Place water, syrup, white sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 mins. Carefully stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 mins or until desired thickness is achieved, stirring occasionally. Stir in walnuts just before serving.

**Mine did simmer for much longer than 30 mins...I would say at least an hour if not longer. But I was trying to achieve the picture in the magazine and after 30 mins it just didn't resemble that. So I let it go much longer. This was a tingy bit tart(as I cut the sugar) and it was a lot better with my chicken, but I do like my cranberry with chicken or something savory. A wouldn't try it even though I told him it was "applesauce", but Q devoured it! I was surprised. I think next time I might leave either the allspice or clove our (only use one) as it seemed that both was too much for me. I'd like to serve it for thanksgiving, but I also know I have people coming that are very adamant about their "jelly".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

we interrupt the regularly scheduled program...for a special announcement!

*Now normally this is all about food, but in the excitement of the upcoming holiday and our beautiful family pictures taken by Pam M. I am asked to share this!

Now here is a question for you do family photos for your Christmas card each year? I never did, until I had kids! We started after our oldest was born. 

At first we spent out wallets inside the cards that way people could hang onto them even after the holiday. I found that most people I sent cards to might not see the boys on a regular basis and we all know how fast kids can grow!

Well now that we have 2 boys and we never have the opportunity very often to get family pictures done, Pam came to our rescue. Now we have pictures to share with our friends and family and we will treasure them for many, many years to come!

One place that offers many many options for photo cards is Shutterfly.  The only problem I seem to have the most is choosing a design for our cards. My husband likes to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in that we usually have "Merry Christmas" on the card...versus "Happy Holidays". It's really a personal preference for us. This years photo card is the Mod Merry Ornaments. We liked the simplicity and the colors matched our outfits. I also love anything that has chocolate brown in it.

I generally try to pick out a card that has many photo insert opportunities, but not overwhelming. This of course also depends on the pictures I like and want to use. I then go on to choose a simple design. They have many options when it comes to photo cards that are flat in two sizes, 4x8 and a 5x7. We tend to choose a 4x8 size. We did use 5 pictures this year which included one individual picture of each of the boys, one family picture, and 2 of the boys together.

But they also have folded cards, which are more of a traditional Christmas card. The great thing is you can choose what fits your family best and your budget! You can customize everything for your pictures, to fonts, to what you want it to say. I love having the flexibility and being able to create something unique just for my family and friends. The picture quality and product are always excellent and they have pretty fast shipping as well. Customer service is phenomenal as well.

Right now, shutterfly is offering 20% off on all holiday cards, so even you can design your own and save some money too.

Tasty Tuesday-10/26

Healthy Mac and Cheese-Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Pumpkin Yogurt-A Modern Gal
Triple Chocolate Cookie Brownies-Apples to Zucchini
Skillet Taco Supper-Taste and Tell
Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes-Eat At Home
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake-Lick the bowl Good
Apple Spice Bars-Cooking during Stolen Moments
Cajun Meatball Stew-$5 dinners
Philidephia Cheesesteak Soup-Extraordinary Life
Pumpkin Granola Bars-Two Peas in Their Pod
Maple Butter Spiced Popcorn-the kitchn
Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies-Family, Stamping, and FOOD
Pretzel Bites-two peas
Curried Pumpkin Vegetable Soup-Pillsbury
Low Fat Pomegranate Scones-Gina's Skinny Recipes
Cheesy Onion Flatbread Crisps- Apples to Zucchini

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm really not sure how it is the end of October already, but it is!

A has his first Halloween party at school on Friday and after much thought, I decided to just do cheese and crackers. While I wanted to do something to impress...cookies or cupcakes, I also know they will be SLAMMED with the unhealthy stuff. A loves cheese and crackers next time maybe I'll do homemade crackers but I did buy some this time. I knew I'd need a lot and they can be a bit time consuming! Plus I also wanted to make sure they'd eat them!

-Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes
-Sausage and Pancake Muffins
-Oatmeal bars

-Apple Chicken Burgers with homemade sandwich thins
-Vegetarian Chili
-Mexican Ravioli
-Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, Rice Casserole
-Chicken Cordon Bleu
-Corn Chowder with corn muffins, this is a Halloween tradition
-Pumpkin Sausage Pasta
-Macaroni and Cheese with Ham(my husband actually requested something!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Bread

I still have some apples I need to use up and I noted this recipe on a recent Tasty Tuesday. I needed to bake something just to help warm the house a bit!

Apple Bread-adapted from Pillsbury
1 1/2 cups shredded apple
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup applesauce
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups ap flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans(optional)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix together apple, sugar, buttermilk, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add into apple mixture and stir until combined.

Grease just the bottoms of two bread pans. Pour in batter and bake for 45-55 mins at 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean.

**This bread was really moist and delicious! Mine was done at 40 mins and probably could have been done around 30 or 35 mins, it is very dark bread.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

I never used to like oatmeal and then I started eating it after reading that oatmeal helps boost your supply while nursing. So I put aside my dislike for it and ate it while nursing Q, now I eat it all the time. I love a baked oatmeal as well! I was looking to use up my pumpkin I had and wanted to make bagels, but realized I was out of bread flour so I will try those another day!

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal-adapted from Nightlife
2 3/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup raisins(omitted)
1/4 cup dried cranberries(omitted)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 cups milk(or alternative)
2 beaten eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts(omitted)
*I added in a 1/2 cup chocolate chips for the fruit

Mix ingredients together well. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Batter is very runny. Bake for 50-60 mins until center is set and firm.

**To me this doesn't have a huge pumpkin flavor. Even though it cooked for 50 mins and the center was set and firm, they are still almost battery in the battery once they were cut. They taste very good and will be fine to eat with some milk over them, but they just weren't as dry as other baked oatmeal I have made. Q devoured 3 of these, he loved them!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sweet and Sour Kielbasa

This is one of the meals we made during out cooking day. This was something my mom always made growing up, mostly for potlucks or a get together. It only involves five ingredients and is super quick to put together and it even cooks itself!  This does make a lot of sauce so I serve it over rice or stir minute rice in about 30 mins-1 hr before we eat it! You can also adapt to how much you need as well. I used 2 pkgs and split it between two of us, but you can use up to 4.

Sweet and Sour Kielbasa
3-4 pkg of your favorite kielbasa(I use butterball turkey)
1 jar pasta sauce
1 12 oz jar salsa
1-2 tbsp grape jelly
1-2 tbsp brown sugar

Slice kielbasa and place into a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. You can add more or less of the jelly/sugar depending on how you like it!

**This is one of our family favorites and is generally ALWAYS gone at potlucks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

I used to LOVE going to Red Lobster for the Cheddar Bay biscuits...they were always so good.  A couple weeks ago I tried a new clam chowder recipe and wanted some biscuits to go with it. Most of them that I found used Bisquick or other buttermilk mixes which I don't ever have on hand. Luckily I found this one and it was pretty easy to put together and make!

Cheddar Buttermilk
2 cups flour(I did use half whole wheat)
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup cold butter, cut up
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk

Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until dough resembles course crumbs. Add in the cheese and toss. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and kneed 8-10 times. Pat or roll into 1 inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2 inch circle cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 mins until golden brown.

**These were pretty tasty, but there seemed to see something missing and I'm not sure what. It did taste GREAT with the soup and I used some of the leftovers in egg sandwiches and those were delicious!

For 12 servings/biscuits-130 calories, 5g fat

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crunchy Jumble Cookies

This recipe comes from a mom whose son I had back when I was working in a preschool classroom. We ALL loved this recipe and BEGGED her for it, now that I have it I do make it a lot! I love the crunch of the rice cereal and it uses less butter and sugar too!

I decided to try the new pumpkin shaped cookie sheet my mom bought for A this weekend as he wanted cookie pops. I did grease the pan(and have a witness), but they still stuck. I had every intention of making some faces on the cookies, but the chocolate I was going to use was no good so they look more like circles.

Crunchy Jumble Cookies
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups rice krispies
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together sugar and butter. Mix in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to butter. Fold in chocolate chips and cereal. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 mins at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tasty Tuesday-10/19

Pumpkin and Sausage Penne-Newlyweds
Chocolate Glazed Donut Muffins-Joy the Baker
Mexican Chicken Stew-Lynn's Kitchen Adventure
Southwestern Chicken SOup-For the Love of Cooking
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins-Meet Me In the Kitchen
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies-$5 dinners
Cauliflower soup-Pioneer Woman
Homemade Sandwich Thins- From Apples to Zucchini
Chicken and Rice-For the Love of Cooking
Creamy Jambalya Pasta-what's for dinner?
sweet, spicy, & Sticky Chicken-Debbi does dinner healthy
Pizza Rolls-Hoosier Homemade
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal-The Sweets life
Sausage and Lentil Soup-Mama Bird's Nest

Monday, October 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday and some odds and ends!

So for those who are "fans" on facebook, I did post that I made my first apple pie. I used a new pie and crust recipe and I wasn't a fan of either, so you won't be seeing it on here!  I like a flaky crust and it just didn't meet my expectations, I'll stick with this one from now on. I wanted to experiment and see what the difference was and now I have.

I made myself a chocolate coconut cake for my birthday this past week but...while the cake was delicious, the frosting was not. I decided to try a healthier shortening and it had a different taste. It seemed to work well with the cake because it was a tropical cake, but I love the butter cream frosting from Hallee and this just didn't cut it. Seen as a cake is very rarely made, I'll stick to regular shortening!
My mom also gave me her food dehydrator and wanted to give it a try! This doesn't really have a recipe and the process really only works if you have a dehydrator. Although I have seen that you can make your own fruit leather and dried fruit using your oven set to a low temp for 8-10 hrs, but I really didn't want to do that especially when I knew my mom had one I could have...borrow! I made banana chips, apple chips, and banana apple fruit leather. It took two days, and I actually pulled out the bananas a little early as we like them a bit softer. Can't wait to try some beef jerky the next time I get to the store! YUM!

This week's menu will be based on what we made for the cooking day and what I have on hand. I wanted to save some of the cooking day meals for nights I knew we needed a quick dinner, but I also know I'm low on groceries, so another week of eating from the freezer and then perhaps I'll get to the store!

There is currently nothing slated for baking...but I KNOW there will be some just not sure what. It's getting cold and when that happens I like to heat the house up by baking!

-Pumpkin Spice Bagels
-Egg McBagels

As far as dinners go...
-Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes, carrots
-White Bean Chicken Chili with corn bread
-A new chicken enchilada recipe with a white sauce
-Sweet and Sour Kielbasa over brown rice

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beef and Broccoli

I needed a very quick dinner and had pulled a random steak out of the freezer. I had just bought some broccoli so I decided to whip up some of this. The longest part of the recipe was cutting the meat!

Beef and Broccoli-shared from
1/3 cup oyster sauce
2 tsp sesame oil(I actually only used 1 tsp)
1/3 cup sherry or white wine vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce(or tamari)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
3/4-1 lb beef round steak, sliced thinly into strips
1/4 inch grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb broccoli, cut into florets
1 tbsp oil

Mix together everything except the beef and broccoli until combined. Add in steak and marinate for at least 30 mins.

Pour in oil in the pan, and stir fry steak until cooked through. Remove and set aside. Add in broccoli and cook for about 5-7 mins until crisp tender. Add steak back in and heat through. Serve over your favorite rice.

**I really don't know how authentic this is as I've never had it at a restaurant, but K and I both thought it was very tasty. The boys didn't eat it they had cheerios which they were quite happy with. I was told it hit the spot for Chinese, which we very rarely eat anymore.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pineapple Ginger Pork Chops and "Buttered" Noodles

I had to use up some pork chops and this recipe sounded delicious! It was fairly quick to put together, but it does require 20 mins to simmer, I still had it on the table in 30 mins.

Pineapple Ginger Pork Chops-adapted from Taste of Home
3-4 pork chops
salt and pepper
1 tsp fresh grated ginger(or more to taste)
juice from pineapple(about 1 cup)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup pineapple chunks(or the whole can)

Season pork with salt and pepper, brown in pan. Add in 3/4 cup of pineapple juice, ginger, and pineapple. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 mins until chops are cooked through.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup juice and cornstarch, mix throughly. Remove pork from pan and slowly add in juice mixture. Allow for pan juices to thicken. Place chops back into pan and let warm up.

**This was really good, but I used too much ginger which was fine for the pork, but it made the pineapple very gingery. So you might want to be careful with it. They were moist and delicious!

I needed a side dish and knew I still had some purees left. I haven't decided if I really LOVE Deceptively Delicious yet, but this recipe was a winner in all our our books, and no one knew what was in it!

"Buttered" Noodles-shared from Deceptively Delicious
8 oz pasta
1/2 cup summer squash puree
1/4 cup milk(which I forgot)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp grated parm cheese(there was probably more of this)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Toss noodles back into hot pan and add in puree, butter, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until combined!

*It is true, the boys had no idea there was squash on this, actually K didn't either. I didn't tell them because I KNEW if I said there was squash on it they wouldn't have eaten it. K would have, A would have said gross! Although I do have him believing that zucchini is cucumbers...what he doesn't know! I think other purees would work well in this too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in Blue Cheese Sauce

I had some blue cheese hanging out waiting to be used...I really bought it for a reason and then it never happened. We love blue cheese though so I knew it wouldn't go to waste. I also had some ground chicken breast to use up. So the meatballs were one really gets credit for this as I actually came up with it on my own and I was quite impressed with myself!(Although, I'm sure if you looked around you could probably actually find one!)

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
1 lb ground chicken(breast)
1 egg
3 palmfuls breadcrumbs
about 3 tbsp blue cheese
2 tbsp hot sauce
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of onion powder

mix all ingredients together. The mixture is a bit wet, but do not over mix. Add a few more breadcrumbs if you like. Form into balls and lay on rimmed baking sheet. Place in 350 degree oven for about 20 mins or until cooked through.

**Now these on their own were pretty good, but I loved them even more with the blue cheese sauce on them and mixed with spaghetti squash. It actually impressed me on how good it was!

I knew I wanted a sauce to go over the meatballs and the pasta. Then I decided to use the spaghetti squash I had instead. This sauce is easy to bring together, but it just took forever as it was still very thick! Plus the squash seemed to take forever to cook as well.

Blue Cheese Sauce-adapted from All Recipes
4 oz softened cream cheese(I used low fat)
3-4 tbsp blue cheese
1+cup milk
2 tbsp hot sauce(more if you like)

Place all ingredients into a sauce pan and whisk. Cook until cheese is melted and heated through. You may want more or less milk depending on how thick you want it. After a while I lost count on how much I added!

**This was super tasty and was perfect with the meatballs. The spiciness was perfect for me as it wasn't super spicy. You can adjust it to your liking.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meatball Minestrone Soup

I saw this recipe in one of the magazines I get. I can't remember if it was Parents or Parenting...maybe it was even Family Fun! But I thought it looked delicious! So I tried to give credit where credit was due and now on to the recipe!

I did adapt this to a slow cooker.

Meatball Minestrone Soup
1/2 recipe of The Best meatballs
1 onion, diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup diced carrots
4-6 cups chicken broth
2 cans white beans, rinsed drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp itlalian seasoning
1 cup orzo pasta

Toss everything into a slow cooker, except for orzo. Cook on high for 2 hours. About 30 mins before you are ready to eat, stir in the orzo and cover tightly.

**This soup was really good and easy to make. Mine didn't have many carrots in it and no garlic...I was out of both! The orzo did continue to keep on cooking so it ended up more like a casserole as leftovers the next day, but it was still quite tasty! I did have to add some extra salt and pepper as the broth was homemade.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Brown Butter & Cinnamon Chip Muffins

I'm on a pumpkin kick...I can't help it! After seeing the cinnamon chip bread I had some leftover cinnamon chips and these beauties caught my eye! The original poster of this recipe calls them cupcakes, I call them muffins...not really sure what constitutes a muffin vs. a cupcake, but there was no frosting involved in this recipe and I didn't put on the cinnamon and sugar so I still hold true its a muffin!

Pumpkin Brown Butter & Cinnamon Chip Muffins-adapted from Lick the Bowl Good
1 stick of butter
1 2/3 cups flour(wheat and ap)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree(not pie filling)
1  cup brown sugar(pretty sure I cut this back, but can't remember how much!)
1/2 cup sugar(think I cut this one down too)
1/2 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
1 cup cinnamon chips, plus some for the top

Preheat oven to 325. Line or grease muffin tins.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Continue to cook swirling occasionally, until butter turns a golden brown. Skim foam from top and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop cooking, leaving burned bits aside. let cool.

Whisk together dry ingredients except sugars. In another bowl whisk together sugars, egg, pumpkin, and brown butter. Whisk pumpkin mix into dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chips until well distributed.

Scoop batter into muffin tins and top with a few more chips. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans half way through cooking time. Cool completely on wire rack before removing.

**These were so phenominally good! These best muffin I have ever tasted even if the sugar and butter were cut back! They were moist and tasty. I couldn't get enough of these! I really want to make them again too. Q loved the chips...he dug them out and left the muffin. I let my sister have one, she ate one bite then someone else decided to try it, must have been good because it was gone!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tasty Tuesday-10/12

Pumpkin Spice Granola-Finding Joy In My Kitchen
Pretzel pops and Pretzel Sandwiches-$5 dinners(I think this will be great for a preschool snack time!)
cheddar chicken and rice soup-Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Toasted Barley with Apples and Raisins-Eat At Home
Apple Oatmeal Bars-Linda's Lunacy
Pumpkin Curry-Apples to Zucchini

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nonie's Chicken And Dumplings

Most of the time I completely wing making chicken and dumplings and well it isn't always what I hope it to be! But I saw this recipe on a new blog find and fell in love with it. It looked WONDERFUL!! So I had to try it especially once I realized I had extra chicken broth to use up!

Nonie's Chicken and Dumplings-shared from Lick The Bowl Good
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 bunch of celery, chopped
2-3 cups chopped chicken
6-8 cups chicken broth

2 cups flour(whole wheat and ap)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp italian seasoning
2 tbsp shortening
3/4-1 cup buttermilk

Saute onions, carrots, and celery for 5-10 mins. Add in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Dump in chicken.

While soup is boiling mix together the dry ingredients for the dumplings. Cut in the shortening until crumbly. Slowly add in buttermilk until batter is moistened but not wet. Drop by tbsp into boiling stew, cover and let the dumplings steam for 15 mins. DO NOT STIR while they are cooking.

Stir dumplings into soup once they are done. The flour from the dumplings will thicken the stew.

**I have no idea what I did different this time, but these were some of the best chicken and dumplings I have ever had, never mind made! My sister did agree! YUM!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well I have no menu planned as of yet...but my freezer is full of food! I just can't seem to think about what to eat yet this week, but it will be something that is already made! I do know we will be enjoying:

-the pumpkin muffins
-Wild Rice Soup
-might try my hand at some pumpkin spice bagels, I have some extra pumpkin puree left.

Not sure what else yet. I also have to make something for the bake sale at the library on saturday. Has to be something I have here....maybe some Smore Muffins or something with apples. Or even Rice Krispie Treats...and did you know those are the best selling item at a bake sale? Just a fun little tidbit for your Monday. It is also my birthday this week so maybe I'll make myself a cake...or splurge and get a really yummy one at the bakery, but it will probably be my own!

Stay tuned for freezer cooking day pictures...for the most part it went very well. It took us about 6 hrs  vs. the 8 hrs last time. We did 17 meals all doubled. We had one fiasco with the granola...we lost both batches due to them burning. But other than that we had great fun!  To see our list, click here. We also didn't get to the pie filling, but I did get some homemade Mango Chutney, thanks Amy! I would really just like to go dump the chutney over the block of cream cheese in the fridge...but alas that isn't very healthy!

Freezer Cooking day-Part 2

Back in June we had our very first cooking day and it was quite successful. Unfortunately, due to our summer schedules Amy and I haven't been able to do another one until now. So I am headed off to her house today to have another one.

So on today's menu we will be making...
-White Bean Chicken Chili
-Taco Soup
-Pumpkin Pancakes
-Apple Chicken Burgers w/rolls(rolls are finished)
-Salisbury Steak
-Pumpkin Granola
-Egg McMuffins
-BBQ Pulled Pork w/homemade rolls(these are actually already done)
-Sweet and Sour Kielbasa and rice
-Mexican Ravioli

On Amy's list...
-Apple Sauce(canned, done night before)
-Apple Pie filling(canned, done night before)
-Chicken Enchiladas
-Honey Pork Chops
-Cranberry Mango Chicken
-Muffins...I can't remember which kind
-Wild Rice Soup
-Four Cheese Minestrone
-3 Cheese Baked Spaghetti(I think)

All of my prep work is done except for grating the onion and apple for the burgers. Everything is measured and set to go. We found last time that we needed to do some more prep work first, now it doesn't seem so daunting of a task. It took us about 8 hrs last time so we will see how long it takes us doing it this way. Never the less I'm sure we will have fun and our freezers will be fully stocked.

We might also be canning our soup, if we can get our hands on a pressure canner.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tomato Bisque

I saw this recipe and added it to my Tasty Tuesday post to try sometime...well I thought it would be perfect to make for my mom, so I did, minus the tortellini. But you can easily add any pasta into it!

I decided to be lazy and NOT peel the tomatoes, I figured I could roast them and puree them enough that I wouldn't need to peel them. I was will either have to peel the tomatoes by cutting an x in the ends and putting them into hot water and then straight into ice water, they should peel easily at this point. You can also press the soup through sieve once its done, this helped get the seeds and peel out!

Tomato Bisque-shared from Andrea the Kitchen Witch
6-8 tomatoes, blanched and peeled
2 cups stock
1 sprig basil(or 1 tbsp dried basil)
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup half and half
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine

In a soup pan, heat the olive oil. Add in onion and cook for about 3 mins, add in garlic and cook for another 3 mins until they start to brown around the edges. Add in the wine and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to cook until reduced to about 2-3 tbsp.

Crush the tomatoes and add them to the pan. Add in basil, season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 mins. Once the tomatoes are soft and breaking down, add in chicken broth. Simmer for 10 mins. Remove basil stem(if used)

Transfer soup to blender and puree until velvety smooth. Place the soup back into the pan and stir in the cream.

**This was pretty good after I strained the "peel" and seeds out. I did need more salt added to it. I did roast my tomatoes in the oven with evoo and salt and pepper so I didn't think I would need more, but I did! A perfect way to use up your tomato harvest!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Pudding

I was trying to come up with a snack for A to take to preschool...I know they have a lot of  processed snacks so at least I know if I send in a homemade snack he gets it occasionally here. Sometimes I cringe about the stuff they give him, but its preschool and it won't necessarily kill him to have it once in a while.

I had a bit of pumpkin leftover that I needed to use up and was looking for a pumpkin pudding...but then I wasn't sure the kids would like it. So I decided to do chocolate instead, then A informs me he wants vanilla pudding. Thankfully, a fellow blogger came to my rescue so I made the pumpkin choc and vanilla! Thanks Michelle!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Pudding-shared from All Home Cooking.All Year Long
2 cups milk
1 cup pureed pumpkin(not pie filling)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar, and cocoa in a heavy saucepan. Whisk together. Turn on heat and bring to a steam, not quite boiling. Do not boil. Whisk occassionally.  Whisk together cornstarch and rest of milk, slowly add it into the chocolate mix and whisk, continue heating until thickened. Should coat the back of the spoon.

**Mine did not thickened up once it cool, so I pulled it back out and put it back on the stove. I added another tbsp of cornstarch and milk(mixed together) and whisked it into the pudding. I then let it cook for another 5-10 mins and chilled it. I went with a total of 3 tbsp of cornstarch because the vanilla one I make uses that much. Not sure if I didn't cook it enough or not, but just a warning.

Michelle was right you can NOT taste the pumpkin in the pudding. It was quite tasty and a huge hit at preschool, so much so it didn't get a picture taken of it!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup

I was looking for a thick and creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup for my mom. I knew we both love Panera's version, so I searched online and found this one.

I am also finding that most recipes call for velveeta and after talking to a friend we decided not to go with it as its not a "real food".

But if you have a thick and creamy recipe, please do share!

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup-shared from
1 tbsp +1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups stock
1/2 lb fresh or frozen broccoli
1 cup carrots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese

Saute onion in 1 tbsp butter until soft. Set aside. Add melt remaining butter in pan, add in flour and whisk for 3-4 mins. Stir constantly and slowly add the half and half in. Add the chicken stock whisking the whole time. Simmer for 20 mins.

Add in the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 mins. Add in salt and pepper. Soup should be thickened by now. Pour into batches into blender and puree. Return to pot, add in cheese, stir until well blended and cheese is melted. Stir in nutmeg.

**It wasn't exactly like the one you get at the was still great and tasted good, but it wasn't creamy and thick. It could have been a user error...someday I'll find one exactly like I'm looking for, but it could be that it has velveeta in it that makes it creamy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stuffed French Toast

I knew I wanted to make French Toast with the cinnamon chip bread...but then I discovered some very ripe bananas I wanted to use up. I remember recently seeing a post from Hallee the Homemaker about using her George Foreman grill to make stuffed French toast. I loved the idea as I am always looking for different ways to use it. It is a quick and easy way to make the French toast too!

I did use bananas that I sliced thin the long way, but I think apples, or the cream cheese filling from Cheesy Apple Quesadillas would work well too!

Stuffed French Toast
1 loaf cinnamon chip bread(or your favorite bread), cut in thick slices
2 eggs
1 cup milk
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

Turn George Foreman grill on so it's nice and hot and ready for you!

Mix together eggs, milk, and spices.

Dip one side of the bread into the egg and place on grill. Place 1-2 slices of banana on bread, dip second piece of bread (only once side) and place on top. Continue until grill is covered. Lower lid and cook for about 4-5 mins.
You might want your "grease catcher" under it as it might leak, mine did not, but I see Hallee's did. She also flipped hers and mine did not need to be flipped. It did stick a bit so next time I might spray the grill.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tasty Tuesday-10/5

Katie's Chicken Curry Stew-$5 dinners
Cheesy Italian Chicken-gourmet mom on the go
Vanilla Chai Cupcakes-What Megan's Making
Double Apple Cookies-All Home Cooking.All year long
Cajun Chicken Pasta-Pioneer Woman
Pumpkin Spice Bagels-Apples to Zucchini via Debbi Does Dinner, Healthy
Homemade Fluff...without the hfcs!-Apples to Zucchini
Chicken Curry Cauliflower Casserole-Apples to Zucchini
Slow Cooker Chicken Curry-Apples to Zucchini
Caramel Glazed Apple Bread-Pillsbury
Buffalo Blue Cheese Meatloaf-Apples to Zucchini
Pear Balsamic Flank Steak-Crazy Jamie's Blog
Pancake and Sausage Muffins-Heavenly Homemakers
Pumpkin Butter-Gina's Skinny Recipes
Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte-Gina's Skinny Recipes
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal-Nightlife

Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday-Oct. 4

Look, its actually being posted ON MONDAY!! YAY!

So I am in the process of cleaning out the freezer this week, due to the fact that I am participating in another freezer cooking day on Sunday. Our last one we did in June and it was quite successful! I know Amy and I both wish we had a chance to do it before then, but our schedules haven't allowed! Perhaps now that summer is over it will. Menu will be coming soon...

For this week I want to attempt my very first apple pie. I found a recipe last weekend for a Maple Apple Pie and now that I have concurred my fear of making pie crust, I want to give it a shot! Now the decision lies who will get the rest...either it will go into work with K or I'll bring it to my son's preschool. We don't really need a WHOLE apple pie and I still have apples, so I'm sure an apple crisp will be in the future.

- Maple Apple Pie
-Baked Apple Oatmeal
-Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
-I also need something to bring into A's preschool for snack on wednesday...I want an impressive snack, but can't decide what! So if you have any ideas, feel free to pass them along. Last time I did cookies and perhaps something seasonal.

-Bleu Cheese Chicken Meatballs...either with a gravy or hot wing style
-Ginger Pork Chops
-Roast Chicken with Apple Cheddar Rice
-Tomato-y Beef and Pasta
-Baked Potato Soup(although I did use a different recipe this time)
-2 batches of chicken broth(cooking day)
-Cook 2 whole chickens(cooking day, but one is for dinner)
-Soak and cook black and white beans(cooking day)
-Roast 2 sugar pumpkins(cooking day)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apple Brownies

We are slowly using the apples up, this is one of my favorite ways to use them! I had never heard of apple brownies before, but a few years ago my friend Jen F. shared the recipe with me and here it is! Thanks Jen!

This makes an 8x8 pan, but I usually double it for a 9x13 pan.

Apple Brownies-shared from Jen F.
1 cup peeled, chopped apples
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat togther butter, sugar, and applesauce. Add in egg. Slowly add in flour. Followed by cinnamon and baking powder. Mix until combined. Fold in apples. Place in greased pan. Bake for 35-40 mins. Cool before cutting into bars.

**These are very moist and delicious! Yum!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apple Cheddar Soup

I've had this recipe for a few years...and this is the first time I made it! Not sure why I waited so long, but it was worth it! Sorry I can't give credit to who shared the recipe as I can't remember what magazine it was from!

I will say that I used the leftover broth from the Apple Braised Chicken, I didn't want to throw away all that goodness as it was quite a bit, so you can use that or follow this recipe!

Apple Cheddar Soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups apple cider
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cayenne(omitted by mistake)
1-2 apples, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a hot pan, melt butter and cook onions for about 5 mins. Stir in potatoes, cider, thyme, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins. Add in apples, simmer, covered for 5 mins or until potatoes are tender. In a small bowl combine milk and flour, stir slowly into soup. Cook and stir until bubbly. Slowly add in cheese, whisking until cheese is melted.

** Because I used the broth leftovers, I did add in some fresh apples. I also partly "baked" the potatoes in the microwave for about 5 mins. This was due to the fact that I didn't read the directions. I actually really liked the sweet/salty that the soup gave for flavor using the broth. I probably had more soup than the 2 cups of cider, so I did up the flour by about 2 tbsp. It thickened up nicely.

I did try this without chicken in it and then decided because I had so much chicken leftover to add it in. I liked it a lot better with out the chicken! But feel free to add it in especially if you want a bulkier soup! I may even make this again, as I pureed most of it for my mom.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cinnamon Chip Bread

A fellow blogger friend of mine, Hallee, always talks of cinnamon chip cookies and how she sends them over seas to her husband in Afghanistan. They are always a HUGE HUGE hit there! So one night while blog hopping I came upon 2 recipes using them that sounded wonderful! I of course did share them with her.

I had never seen cinnamon chips at the store before, but then again I never had looked either. So when I went back for groceries I looked and lo and behold there they were. So I picked up a package to try. This was the first time I used them and wasn't disappointed in them at all! I wasn't a huge fan of them alone, but inside baked goods they were delightful!

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Cinnamon Chip Bread-adapted from Lick the Bowl Good
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup ap flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp instant yeast*
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup cinnamon chips

In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, butter, and egg. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, beating until smooth. Let the batter rest at room temp for 1 hr, covered. Then stir in baking powder and chips.

*You can use regular active yeast, but if you do make sure you proof the yeast with the milk first for about 5 mins before adding it in.

Spoon batter into bread pan. Bake bread at 350 degrees for 35-40 mins, until it tests done. Remove bread from the oven, let it rest for about 5 mins. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool completely. This will allow it to cut better..

**Something happened with my it didn't seem to rise as well as the original loaf looked. I think this had to do with my milk not being warm enough so the yeast wasn't activated. So make sure your milk is around 110 degrees. The bread was pretty good, better if toasted. I ended up making stuffed french toast with it seen as it wasn't as "high" as it should have been. But it still tasted great!