Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chicken Noodle Bake

This recipe is really good chicken!  Or, in my case, really good turkey!  It's creamy, delicious, and very filling.  I served it with green salad, green beans, and grapes (red, not green).  I made a lot of changes to the recipe because I made it according to ingredients I had on hand.  I'm sure it would still be good if you followed the original recipe!  Mom and Dad, I think you would really enjoy this recipe (although you might want to half it; it makes a lot)!  The list of ingredients looks rather daunting, but the recipe is really quick and easy to make, especially if the chicken or turkey is pre-cooked and ready to go.

Chicken Noodle Bake
Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine Six O'Clock Solutions

1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese (I used non-fat)
1/2 cup tub-style light cream cheese (I used regular)
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise (I used light)
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream (I used regular, but if I had light I would have used it; I don't like fat free)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (I used a chopped red bell pepper from my freezer)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

2 T. stick margarine (I used butter, and I added an extra tablespoon)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup skim milk (I used 1%)
1 can (10 1/2 oz) low-salt chicken broth (I used water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt (I omitted completely because of the bouillon cubes)
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dash of garlic powder

6 cooked lasagna noodles, cooked without salt or fat (I used mini bow-tie pasta, 1/2 of a 1 lb package)
Cooking spray
3 cups diced cooked chicken breast, divided (I used leftover sweetheart roast turkey)

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used half of a hamburger bun and processed my own crumbs)
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients; beat at high speed of a mixer until well blended (I used my kitchenaid mixer).  Stir in onion, bell pepper, and 1/4 cup parsley, and set aside.
  3. Melt margarine over medium heat in a medium saucepan (I used a nonstick skillet).  Add flour, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Gradually add skim milk and broth, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; stir in poultry seasoning and next 3 ingredients.
  4. Arrange 3 noodles in a 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with half of cottage cheese mixture, half of chicken, and half of sauce.  Repeat layers, ending with sauce.  (I just mixed everything together in a big tupperware bowl and then dumped it all in the baking dish.)
  5. Combine breadcrumbs, 2 T. parsley, and paprika; sprinkle over casserole.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve immediately.
Yield:  8 servings.  As originally written, the recipe is 7 WW points and has 321 calories.  I'm sure as I made it, it was more calories and points, but it was delicious!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breakfast Potatoes from Our Best Bites

These breakfast potatoes (which we had for dinner) were delicious and easy!  I loved the method of par-boiling the potatoes first.  After that, the potatoes cook up so quickly that dinner (or breakfast) won't have to wait for the potatoes to get done!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Teresa's Quick and Easy Chili

(Based on Kendra's chili recipe from Sister Blakesley; I use less beans because I like a higher meat to beans ratio.)

This was a big hit last week with the neighbors and the missionaries, and again this week with my family!  I like to serve chili with shredded cheese, Fritos corn chips, and chopped onion.  Saltine crackers and scones are acceptable also.

Quick and Easy Chili
1 quart pinto beans*
1 quart tomatoes
2 T. chili powder
1 T. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. crushed basil
1 tsp. salt (wait until the end to add this; adjust amount as needed)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small or medium onion, finely chopped

Drain and rinse pinto beans and place in crock pot.  Use a blender to puree tomatoes and seasonings.  Add pureed tomatoes and seasonings to crock pot.  Cook ground beef and onion in a non-stick skillet, and then add to crockpot.  Cover crockpot and cook on high for 2-3 hours.

*I pressure-canned my own beans a few weeks ago.  If you don't have a quart jar of pinto beans in your storage, you can cook 1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans, use 2-3 cans of pinto beans, or use some beans leftover from Refried Beans Without the Refry.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Slow Cooker Applesauce

This past week I've been using my crockpot everyday. My kids love applesauce and I had some apples from Pettingills left over still, so I made this yummy applesauce. Shayne has been loving having it for breakfast all week. Oh, and the house smelled delicious all day!

· 8 medium apples (Use a combination of Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, etc.)
· 1 strips of lemon peel - use a vegetable peeler
· 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
· 3 inch cinnamon stick
· 5 tsp light brown sugar (unpacked) - or agave
Directions:Peel, core, and slice the apples
Place them in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel and brown sugar
Set crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours. Stir apples occasionally, apples will slowly become a delicious applesauce. Remove cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth or if you prefer a chunky sauce, leave sauce intact

3 Bean Turkey Chili

I have to say that I am not a chili person. In fact I don't think I've ever made chili. So when our ward was having a chili cook-off I went in search of a recipe to try. I found this recipe and I havae to say it was quite delicious! I especially loved it with the cilantro on top and that it was super easy to put together.

· 1.3 lb (20 oz) fat free ground turkey breast
· 1 small onion, chopped
· 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
· 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
· 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies, drained
· 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, undrained
· 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, undrained
· 1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, undrained
· 2 tbsp chili powder
· 1/2 cup chopped red onion
· 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for topping
· shredded cheddar to top (extra pts)
Brown turkey and onion in a medium skillet over medium high heat until cooked through.Drain any fat remaining and transfer to crock pot . Add the beans, chilies, chickpeas tomatoes, tomato sauce and chili powder mixing well.Cook on high 6-8 hours.Garnish with onions, cilantro and cheese and enjoy

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Split-Second Cookies

We made these yummy cookies tonight for Family Dinner (with Devyn and Derek and our cousin Brianna). Derek reminded me that these are just like thumbprint cookies, so you probably all already have a similar recipe, but we thought these were so good that I just couldn't not post them! The recipe came from one of my Taste of Home Cookbooks.

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raspberry jam (I used plum, since that's what I had on hand - it was SO yummy!)

1) In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

2) Divide dough into four equal portions (I needed a bit more flour to do this); shape each into a 12-in. x 3/4-in. log. Place 4 in. apart on two greased baking sheets. (I got all 4 of my logs to fit on 1 large cookie sheet.) Make a 1/2-in. depression down center of logs; fill with jam.

3) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes; cut diagonally into 3/4-in. slices. Remove from wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 5 dozen (the way I cut mine I got 4o cookies - just over 3 dozen)

Nutrition Facts: 2 cookies equal 99 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 19 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkins

I loved this recipe. However I pulled a Teresa and I used a sweet meat squash instead of pumpkins and I used ground turkey instead of the bison. It was delicious!

1 4-5 pound sugar pumpkin or 6 small sugar pumpkins
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs lean ground venison or bison
7 green onions, trimmed and chopped
4 cloves garlic passed through a garlic press
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
4 egg whites + 1 yolk, beaten
1 tsp dried sage, crumbled
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top from each pumpkin and remove seeds and strings. Prick the inside flesh with a fork. In a small bowl, mix the sea salt and dry mustard. Rub the interior of the pumpkin with this mixture. Set pumpkin aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add ground meat, onion and garlic. Saute over medium high heat until meat is browned. Remove from heat. Drain excess oil. Add cooked while rice, eggs, sage and pepper. Mix well with clean hands. Stuff each pumpkin with the meat/rice mixture.

Place the pumpkin in a shallow baking dish or lasagna pan. Add water until half of the baking dish is full.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until pumpkin is tender. If using individual pumpkins, cooking time may be shorter. If using a large pumpkin cooking time may be longer. When serving a large pumpkin cut it into six wedges and serve. When serving individual pumpkins, place on individual serving plates.

Nutritional Value: Calories: 345 Protein: 32 g Carbs: 30 g Total Fat: 11 g Fiber 2 g Sodium 665 mg

Cranberry Stuffed Apples

5 medium apples
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional
Core apples, leaving bottoms intact. Peel top third of each apple; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine the cranberries, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg; spoon into apples.
Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until apples are tender. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired. Yield: 5 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 apple (calculated without whipped cream or ice cream) equals 136 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 6 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 1 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fruit.

Whole Wheat Banana-Nut Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Kellogg's® All-Bran® Original cereal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1 medium banana, mashed (1/3 cup)
1/3 cup chopped pecans
- OR -
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Maple syrup
Banana slices (optional)
Chopped pecans (optional)

1. In large bowl combine flour, KELLOGG’S ALL-BRAN Original cereal, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

2. In medium bowl stir together egg, milk and banana. Add to flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in 1/3 cup pecans.

3. For each pancake, on hot, lightly greased griddle or large skillet pour about 1/4 cup batter. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown, turning when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry.

4. Serve with syrup, banana slices (if desired) and pecans (if desired).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Caramel Buttercream

I’m still not tired of pumpkin. As more leaves turn gold and red my craving for pumpkin just seems to increase. When trying to come up with a treat to give away, I kept coming back to pumpkin flavors. I decided to try our favorite pumpkin cake as cupcakes—and I was thrilled with the result. I didn’t actually taste one—I ended up giving them all away—but they baked beautifully and were shaped perfectly for topping with a swirl of buttercream. These cupcakes would also be great topped with cream cheese frosting if you’d prefer to go that route. However, I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Swiss-meringue style buttercream. At first I didn’t think it was sweet enough. Now, though, I enjoy the silky smooth texture and delicate flavor. With this version, if you want it sweeter just add more caramel. You can also add a pinch of salt to the sugar in the first step if you’d like. I prefer this type of buttercream served at room temperature—it tends to be too hard to enjoy when refrigerated. I just remove the cake from the fridge before dinner so the buttercream is softened by dessert time.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes:

3 cups (12 ¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ½ ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 scant cup (8 ounces) canned pumpkin
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin tins by lining with cupcake liners (this recipe should yield 24 cupcakes—I doubled it and got 48 cupcakes).

In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice; set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the water, pumpkin, oil, and vinegar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until the flour is well incorporated (about 2 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Do not overbeat. The batter should look thick and creamy. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins. Bake for 16 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack; let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from tins to cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature. You may refrigerate these if desired and frost them the next day.

Cinnamon-Caramel Buttercream

1 cup sugar
8 large egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 - 3 tablespoons Torani caramel-flavored syrup (the clear stuff—you’ll find it by the coffee supplies in the grocery store)
½ cup Torani caramel topping (or use ice cream topping—the caramelly-looking stuff—if using Torani brand it will be by the coffee supplies)—add more or less to taste

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until pale and fluffy; add cinnamon and beat well. In the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine 1 cup sugar and the egg whites. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

Attach bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue whisking until egg mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add beaten butter, about 1/4-cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and caramel flavoring.

With mixer on medium-low speed, very slowly pour in caramel; beat about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed, until caramel is fully incorporated. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Recipe source: Pumpkin Spice Cake adapted from King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet, Buttercream heavily adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Sorry, it was Halloween so I didn't get a picture of the soup. But, it was delicious! I got it from the Crock Pot Girls on Face Book.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, diced
1 quart chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Sauté onions and garlic in the butter before adding to the crockpot.  Cook on low about 8 hours (high for 4 hours).  Mash potatoes and then add evaporated milk and 1 cup cheese.  Serve with garnishes.
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Garnish: chives, sour cream, bacon, and cheese

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

If you're looking for a last-minute treat to give for Halloween, here are a couple of ideas. Alyssa and I put these together today for her and Joshua to give to their friends. It's just a cute way to package store-bought candy. If you're in a baking mood, you could put small homemade treats in the witch bags and something like a homemade granola bar in the bat. Fudge nut bars would probably work great--just cut them the size of a candy bar and wrap them in plastic wrap!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meatball Stew

I prepared this stew a few days ago using potatoes, carrots, and onion from mom and dad's garden.

It was smelling so yummy within 1 hour of putting it in the slow cooker. By the time supper rolled around, I was so ready to eat it. The first time I made this (the recipe is from an old Quick Cooking issue) I followed the recipe and put a note by it -- "yum, try cream of mushroom soup next time". So this time I tried Cream of Mushroom Soup rather than the tomato soup. It was very tasty. So if you prefer a non-tomato based stew, don't be too nervous about making a substitution.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Savory Pork Roast

I've never baked a roast in the oven because I'm too scared of making it too dry. Well, I finally got brave enough to try. This recipe was awesome! I found it in an old Quick Cooking magazine. I used some of the leftovers to make the Italian Pork Hoagies that was in the same issue. So here are a couple recipes that were tasty. Paige even like the roast, especially the edges with the herbs. I had to leave while it was baking and Bryce took it out of the oven, so he did great.

1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dried margoram
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage (which I didn't have so I used poultry seasoning)
1 boneless pork loin roast (4 pounds)

Combine the seasonings; rub over roast. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. (I put my little metal cooling rack in a glass baking dish and put the roast on that, as you can see in the picture.) Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Yield: 9-12 servings.

Italian Pork Hoagies

(The second time I made this I used sliced cheese, slightly heated the leftover pork in the microwave, and broiled the sandwiches until the cheese melted and the top bun was toasted. It was a little quicker and not as much cheese mess.)

6 hoagie buns, split
1/2 cup pizza sauce
12 slices cooked pork (1/4 inch thick)
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Open hoagie buns and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Spread pizza sauce on the bottom half of each bun. Top with pork; drizzle with salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and tops of buns are lightly toasted. Replace bun tops. Yield: 6 servings.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sensational Slush

Bryant made and we served this slush at his Homecoming 2011 dinner.  We had leftovers, which have kept well in the freezer.  Just use an ice-cream scoop to portion the slush in glassware, and then pour an equal amount of chilled soda over the slush.  This slush really is "sensational!"

Sensational Slush
from Taste of Home's More Fast Fixes with Mixes

1/2 cup sugar
1 package (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 can (12 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 can (12 oz.) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
2 cups cold water
2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and gelatin in boiling water.  In a blender, combine the pineapple juice and strawberries; cover and process until blended.  Add to gelatin mixture.  Stir in concentrates and cold water.  Cover and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove from the freezer 45 minutes before serving.  For each serving, combine 1/2 cup slush mixture with 1/2 cup lemon-lime soda; stir well.  Yield:  20 servings.

Editor's Notes:  I froze the slush in a 13x9 pan, because I thought it would freeze faster than in a bowl.  The slush doesn't require removal from freezer 45 minutes before serving.  I use an ice cream scoop, and it comes right out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fresh Herbs

My herb garden is doing REALLY well.  So well I don't know what to do with all the herbs growing like crazy.  We had Italian tonight, with fresh herbs in everything I made.  Everything was delicious!

Five Minute Marinara Sauce (from The Sister's Cafe)

Herb Foccaccia Bread (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

Sunday, September 25, 2011


You know it's a good recipe when the mashed potatoes are lumpy and you don't let the dough rise like the recipe says, but the end product is still delicious!

We grew up on these.  Every summer "we" (meaning Mom) would make dozens of them each week and sell them to farmers for their summer workers.  I don't remember what we were saving money for.  Does anyone else have memories about Spudnuts?

Mom's Spudnuts
2 cups milk, warmed
1 cup sugar
½ cup shortening
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 packets yeast dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water
3 eggs
½ tsp. nutmeg
8-10 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. salt

To hot milk, add sugar, shortening, potatoes, yeast mixture, eggs, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Add enough flour to resemble cake batter.  Let sponge until doubled.  Add remaining flour and salt to make a soft dough.  Mix and knead.  Let dough rise until doubled.  Punch down.  Let rise again. 
Roll out dough on floured surface about 1/3 – ½” thick and cut into doughnuts.  Let rise.  Deep fry in oil heated to 350 – 400 degrees (325-350 was plenty).  Dip in glaze when warm (3 cups powdered sugar, ½ cup water, ½ tsp. vanilla).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This time of year I start craving pumpkin-flavored baked goods. Luckily, Alyssa went on a baking spree recently and made these cookies for us. She used the muffin scoop for the cookies to make giant cookies. We loved them!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ cup granulated sugar (5 ¼ ounces)
¾ cup brown sugar (5 ½ ounces)
3 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ cups pumpkin, canned (14 ¼ ounces)
¾ cup vegetable oil (5 ¼ ounces)
7 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups pastry flour (1 pound 2 ounces)
1 ½ cups chocolate chips (9 ounces)
1 ¼ cups walnuts, chopped (5 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixer bowl mix together sugars, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin, oil, and eggs until well blended. In a separate bowl, blend baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour; combine with pumpkin mix. Mix together until well blended, then add chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or a well-greased pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Recipe Source: Lion House Desserts

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Boneless Pork Chops Parmigiana

This is a fun twist on Chicken Parmesan. Because the pork chops are thin, the meal comes together very quickly. It is delicious!

Boneless Pork Chops Parmigiana

2 pounds boneless thin-cut pork chops (about 8 small chops)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup fine dry unseasoned bread crumbs
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 teaspoons Creole Seasoning or Emeril’s Original Essence
½ cup olive oil
1 cup homemade or jarred marinara sauce, plus more (heated) for serving with pasta if desired
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Cooked pasta, for serving

Preheat the broiler, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Season the pork chops on both sides with the salt and pepper. Set three shallow pans side by side. Place the flour in one, the egg and milk in another, and the breadcrumbs and cheese in the third pan. Season the flour with 1 ½ teaspoons of the Creole seasoning, the egg-milk mixture with 1 ½ teaspoons of the Creole seasoning, and the breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon of the Creole seasoning. Stir the flour to incorporate the seasoning; beat the eggs, milk & seasoning to blend; and toss the breadcrumbs with the cheese and seasoning to combine.

Dredge the pork chops in the flour and shake to remove any excess. Working with one at a time, dip the pork chops in the egg wash to coat, then transfer them to the breadcrumb mixture and coat evenly, shaking to remove any excess.

Set a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, place half of the breaded pork chops in the pan and cook until golden brown, 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the browned pork chops to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pork chops.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the marinara sauce over each of the pork chops, and top each with ¼ cup of the grated mozzarella. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in spots and the chops are just cooked through. Remove from the oven and, if desired, serve over cooked pasta with additional marinara sauce.

Recipe Source: Emeril 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I like to make BIG batches of cookie dough.  I then bake a dozen or so cookies.  With the remaining dough, I make balls of dough and freeze them individually on a tray.  Once frozen, I move them to a Ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer.  It's super easy to make a batch of cookies whenever we want from the frozen balls of dough!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
(Adjusted from Taste of Home's More Fast Fixes with Mixes)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups quick-cooking oats
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (5.25 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped nuts, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egs and vanilla.  Combine the oats, flour, pudding mix, soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets*.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks.

*I've been using parchment paper sheets on my baking sheets.  It's super easy to clean up, and it keeps my pans looking brand new!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

A few months ago, Bart caught a glimpse of a television show about Junior’s Cheesecake. He loved the idea of a sponge cake crust underneath cheesecake, and he has been anxiously awaiting his birthday so he can try the combination and see if it is as good as it sounds. Luckily, I received a collection of recipes from Junior’s Cheesecake for Christmas, so Bart was able to peruse the collection and make a selection. He chose this pumpkin swirl cheesecake. The cheesecake was creamy and smooth. It tasted like a really creamy pumpkin pie. The sponge cake crust made cutting and serving the cheesecake very easy. The crust is delicious, and its tender, airy texture blends perfectly with the cheesecake. I’m excited to try more recipes from this collection!

Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust

1/3 cup sifted cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 extra-large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 drops pure lemon extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil (I use 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil), covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick, light-yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.

Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Now, blend in the melted butter.

Wash another mixing bowl and add the beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can prevent the egg whites from whipping). Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks from (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about one0third of the white into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks, as they’ll disappear during baking.

Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or stick), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it’s done. Watch carefully and don’t let the top brown. Leave the crust in the pan and transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the cheesecake batter.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

1 recipe 9-inch Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust (see recipe above)
Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs--at room temperature
¾ cup heavy or whipping cream--at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)--at room temperature
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling
1 recipe Decorator’s Whipped Cream (for garnish if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make and bake the cake crust as directed above and leave it in the pan. Keep the oven on. (Make sure outside of pan is wrapped well in aluminum foil.)

Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix.

Remove 1 ½ cups of the batter and set aside. On low speed, blend the pumpkin and the 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter. Gently spoon the pumpkin batter on top of the crust. Using a teaspoon, drop the white batter in small spoonfuls on top of the pumpkin batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a “figure-8” design, just until white swirls appear.

Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top has golden and tan swirls, about 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away—don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight, or at least 4 hours.

Release and remove the sides of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Pipe whipped cream rosettes around the top edge of the cake. Lightly sprinkle the rosettes with a little pumpkin pie spice if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate, or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

Decorator’s Whipped Cream

1 teaspoon unflavored granulated gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the gelatin in a heatproof measuring up, stir in the cold water, and let stand until it swells and thickens (this takes only about 1 minute). Cook the gelatin in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds or over a pan of simmering water for about 1 minutes, until clear and completely melted.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer on high until it thickens and soft peaks just begin to form. With the mixer still running, add the sugar and beat just until the cream stands up in peaks (don’t overmix or the cream will curdle). Beat in the vanilla. Now, add the melted gelatin all at once and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but not more than 1 hour. Use immediately as a cake filling or frosting or refrigerate.

To make whipped cream rosettes, fit a pastry bag with a large closed-star tip (#133) or large open-star tip (#199). Half-fill the bag with the whipped cream and pipe large rosettes all around the top or bottom edge of the cake. For smaller decorative stars and rosettes, use a medium star tip (such as #27, 31 or 35 for closed or #22 or 32 for open). The closed-star tips create deeper grooves and more details than the open-star ones, but both work fine. Put the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes to set the decorations. Transfer to the refrigerator until time to serve.

Recipe Source: Junior's Cheesecakes

White Chocolate-Sour Cream Blueberry Scones

These scones come together quickly if you have a food processor. If you don’t have one, go ahead and make the scones by mixing together the dry ingredients , cutting in the butter, then adding the liquid ingredients. I loved the flavor and texture of these scones—as well as the potential they hold for variations. Next time I’m going to try using dark chocolate and raspberries instead of the white chocolate and blueberries.

White Chocolate-Sour Cream Blueberry Scones


3 cups (13 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup (1 ¾ ounces) sliced or slivered almonds, blanched or unblanched
3 tablespoons (1 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
4 ounces (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup (5 ounces) fresh or fresh-frozen blueberries


1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Demerara or turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Briefly pulse together the flour, almonds, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mixture. Pulse until the butter is cut into very tiny pieces, about 30 seconds. The texture should be sandy with very tiny lumps throughout. Add the white chocolate chunks and pulse a few times to mix.

Using a fork, lightly beat the sour cream and egg together in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the food processor along with the blueberries and process until the dough forms itself into a ball, about 30 seconds.

Dust a large piece of waxed or parchment paper with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Pat the dough into a round or rectangle about 1 inch high. Use a 2 ½-inch round plain-edge cutter dipped n flour to cut out the scones. Cut straight down without twisting, which seals the edges and keeps the scones from rising. Transfer the scones to the baking sheets, leaving at least an inch of space between them so they have room to expand as they bake.

For the garnish, use a pastry brush to coat the top of each scone with cream, taking care that it doesn’t run down the sides and under the scones. If it does, wipe it up because it can cause the bottom of the scones to burn. Lightly sprinkle the top of each scone with Demerara sugar.

Bake the scones for about 15 to 18 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time, until scones are light golden.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer scones to racks to cool.

Serve the scones warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from: Intensely Chocolate (by Carole Bloom)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Amerikaner oder Teebotchen (Americaner Cookies)

This is a traditional German cookie recipe that Anthony learned on his mission. They taste kind of like sugar cookies, except that they are fluffier and have more of a vanilla taste to them. You can choose to frost the bottom-sides with chocolate frosting or eat them as-is. Yummy!
(P.S. Because the recipe was all in German and we had to translate it from grams into cups and teaspoons, the measurements are estimates... but we made them and they turned out really good!)

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup + 1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
a little salt (take a pinch)
1 T. + 1/8 tsp vanilla pudding mix
3 T. milk
2-1/4 cup flour
1 T. baking powder

1. Cream butter and sugar. Then add vanilla, eggs, and salt. (<-- This whole mixture is called Teig.)
2. In separate bowl, combine pudding mix and milk to make (really thick) pudding.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, pudding and Teig (the creamed mixture in step 1).
4. On greased cookie sheet, lay 2 T. of dough 1-2 inches apart.
5. Bake 10 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Take cookies out of oven and quickly brush them with milk.
7. Bake 5 minutes more until golden brown.

Icing is an option. You can make this sugar glaze if you like:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 T. warm water

...or spread store-bought chocolate frosting on, another flavor, or simply just eat them as-is. If you choose to frost them, flip them over and frost the bottom-sides. The bottoms are easier to frost. :)

Makes about 20 cookies. Recipe from Schwester Anton.

Chicken Spinach Pesto Soup

I don't have a picture of this, but IT IS SO GOOD! We got the recipe from some friends. It is a delicious soup with many good, hearty, healthy flavors. Yum-yum! Try it!

2 tsp EVOO
1/2 carrot or bell pepper, diced (I like more carrot, so I've been putting 2 carrots in it)
1 cubed chicken breast
1 clove minced garlic
5 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 tsp dried marjoram
6 oz baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 can (15 oz) great northern beans, rinsed (can also use kidney or navy beans, if preferred)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh is probably better, but we've been doing the shaky bottle kind)
1/3 cup lightly packed basil

1. Heat oil in large sauce pan. Add carrot/bell pepper and chicken. Cook 3-4 minutes until chicken begins to brown.
2. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and marjoram. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
3. Add spinach and beans. Boil gently 5 minutes.
4. Stir pesto into soup. Season with pepper to taste and garnish with croutons and/or cheese.

To make the pesto:
In food processor, combine ingredients into coarse paste, adding a little water and scraping sides as needed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Herb Roast Turkey

HERBED ROAST TURKEY from the episode:  One Great Thanksgiving—America’s Test Kitchen
Another recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is herbed roasted turkey.  We did this with a 9 pound turkey breast.  It had the bone in, but you can purchase turkey breasts without the bone and season it with herbs and bake. We did it in the 12” deep Dutch Oven.  It was absolutely delicious and you could cut the meat with a plastic fork!  We made half the paste recipe and put it under the breast skin, under the turkey breast, and over the turkey breast. We cut off the back part of the breast so that it would fit into a 12 deep Dutch Oven. We took the back part and simmered it in Chicken broth on the kitchen stove until we could remove the meat from the bone and used it in Turkey Noodle Soup. I placed 1 carrot, cut into 1” pieces, 1 celery stalk cut into 1” pieces, and 1 onion cut into eighths, onto the bottom of the Dutch Oven.  I placed the turkey, breast side up on the vegetables, covered, and put 24 briquettes on top and 10 briquettes on the bottom.  It took about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  (We added new charcoal to the lid at the hour mark.)  We baked it to 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast.  We let it sit for 20 minutes before carving into slices. 

Herb Paste  (For a turkey breast cut the recipe in half)
1 ¼ cups chopped fresh parsley leaves (roughly chopped)
4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (roughly chopped0
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)  (I just used an onion)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)  (I used ¼ teaspoon powdered garlic)
¾ teaspoon grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
¾ teaspoon table salt (we decreased this to about ½ teaspoon)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (we decreased this to about ½ teaspoon or less)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1-inch lengths
1 onion, halved and quartered
1 rib celery, chopped into 1-inch lengths

Pat the turkey breast dry inside and out with paper towels.  Place turkey breast side up on flat wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, 30 minutes. This dries out the turkey skin and will help it brown better.

For Herb paste:  Process parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, shallot, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in food processor until consistency of coarse paste, ten 2-second pulses.  Add mustard and olive oil; continue to process until mixture forms smooth paste, ten to twelve 2-second pulses; scrap sides of processor bowl with rubber spatula after 5 pulses.  Transfer mixture to small bowl.

To Prepare the Turkey:  Remove turkey from refrigerator and wipe away any water collected in baking sheet; set turkey breast side up on baking sheet.  Using hands, carefully loosen skin from meat of breast.  Using spoon (I used my hands), slip 1 ½ teaspoons paste under breast skin on each side of turkey.  Using fingers, distribute paste under skin over breast.  Rotate turkey breast side down and rub 1 tablespoon paste on the underside of the turkey cavity.  Apply half remaining herb paste to turkey skin; flip turkey breast side up and apply remaining herb past to skin, pressing and patting to make paste adhere; reapply herb paste that falls onto baking sheet.

To Roast the Turkey:  Place the chopped carrot, onion, and celery onto the bottom of the 12” deep Dutch Oven.  Place turkey breast side up on the vegetables.  Put 8 briquettes on the bottom in a circle and 24 briquettes on the lid.  Roast the turkey breast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  You will need to add more charcoal to the top and bottom at the hour.  Roast until thickest part of breast registers 165 degrees   (Confirm temperature by inserting thermometer in both sides of bird.)  Transfer turkey to carving board; tent with foil and let rest 20 minutes.  Remove meat from the bone and slice the breast and serve.

French Chicken in a Pot

I saw this a few years ago on America’s Test Kitchen.  It seemed to me to be a very good way to get baked chicken without a lot of fuss.  I use my porcelain Dutch Oven.  I can always get a whole chicken whereas I have to travel to Pocatello to get a rotisserie chicken.  I usually purchase two chickens at a time and cook them both in one day, just before garbage day.   (That way I have the mess in one day and can have the garbage pickup the next day.)  I remove the meat from the bones, divide it up in quart sized freezer bags, then put it in a gallon freezer bag and label for future use.  I use it in casseroles, in soups, and in sandwiches.

(From America’s Test Kitchen)
Serves 4
1 whole roasting chicken (4 ½ to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped medium (about ½ cup)  (I use a whole onion and just chop it into 8ths.)
1 small stalk celery, chopped medium (about ¼ cup)
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed  (I generally don’t have garlic cloves, so I omit this part)
1 bay leaf
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
½ to 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon

    Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 300°.   Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking.  Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken.  Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.  Remove Dutch oven from heat; place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid.  Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160° when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175° in thickest part of thigh, about 1 ½ hours.

    Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids (you should have about ¾ cup jus).  Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan and set over low heat to reduce it.  Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan.  Stir lemon juice into jus to taste (about ¼ teaspoon lemon juice for every ¼ cup).  Serve chicken, passing jus at table.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Diaper Cake

You don't eat a diaper cake!  You give it as a gift or use it as a centerpiece at a baby shower.  Super easy and really fun to make!  I followed the directions at

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dipped Gingersnaps

These are the gingersnap cookies I brought to Heather and Anthony's wedding reception, except I didn't dip them.  I made them again today and was reminded how delicious they are.  This time, I even had some vanilla baking chips, and they are delicious dipped!

Dipped Gingersnaps
(From 1998 Taste of Home Annual Recipes)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 T. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Additional sugar
2 packages (12 oz. each) vanilla baking chips
1/4 cup shortening

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and oil; mix well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in molasses.  Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Shape into 3/4" balls and roll in sugar.  Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Melt vanilla chips with shortening in a saucepan over low heat.  Dip the cookies halfway; shake off excess.  Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets to harden.  Yield:  about 14 1/2 dozen cookies

Fresh and Easy Alfredo Sauce

I got this recipe from Valerie a few years ago, and we LOVE it!  Cream and butter... what's not to love?

Fresh and Easy Alfredo Sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (probably from 1 lemon)
6 T. unsalted butter, no substitutes
1-2 tsp. grated lemon zest
pinch freshly grated nutmeg (I leave this out because I don't like it)
9 oz. fresh fettucine (I used a 12 oz. purchased package rather than homemade)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (if you were wondering, the stuff in the green canister is NOT fresh!)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly chopped basil, garnish

In a large, heavy skillet, mix 1 cup cream and lemon juice.  Whisk together.  Add butter (in 1 T. pats).  Heat over medium heat until butter just melts.  Stir in zest and nutmeg.  Remove from heat.

To skillet, add cooked pasta, remaining cream, parmesan cheese, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Toss over low heat until sauce thickens slightly (about 1 minute; salad tongs work great for this).  Taste to adjust seasoning.  Garnish with freshly chopped basil, if desired, but HIGHLY recommended, especially if you've got some growing in your garden! Serve immediately.  Makes 6 first-course servings.

Note:  I added 1 grilled and sliced chicken breast (seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning), but 1 1/2 - 2 breasts would have been better.  For seafood lovers, grilled shrimp would also be a  delicious addition.

And, if you'd like to try your hand at making fresh pasta, here's one of Valerie's recipes for that:

Homemade Pasta
2 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
water (1/2 tsp. at a time, add just enough until dough forms a ball)

Mix ingredients in a food processor or by hand.  Once dough forms a ball, wrap ball of dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes to 2 hours.  Divide dough into 4 sections, thinly roll out each section, cut into desired shape/size, and cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  Serve immediately with desired sauce.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LaBrea Bakery Telera Rolls

This isn't a recipe, but a must-try item from Costco.  I recently purchased a 12-pack of LaBrea Bakery Telera Rolls (used in Mexican Tortas) and am SO happy I did!  I thought they would be perfect rolls for sending sandwiches to school.  I was right.  But then I started thinking about how good they would be as panini sandwiches, specifically Cafe Zupas panini sandwiches.  I don't have a panini press, so I ended up using my griddle to first heat the rolls, and then heat the meat and cheese, and then topped the sandwich off with the fresh vegetables.  Mmmm!  You must try any of the following sandwiches with one of these amazing rolls!  I made the Milano (with cheddar rather than Muenster) and it was delicious!  I've also tried the Turkey Spinach Artichoke at the Cafe and loved it.

Turkey Cranberry:  Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Sprouts, Muenster Cheese, and Honey Mustard
Honey Bacon Club:  Turkey, Bacon, Ham, Tomatoes, Muenster Cheese and Honey Mustard
Milano:  Ham, Tomatoes, Muenster Cheese, and Pesto Spread
Boston Crab Melt:  Crab Salad, Celery, Red Onions and Muenster Cheese.
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken:  Barbeque Chicken, Sliced Pineapple and Muenster Cheese
Ultimate Grilled Cheese:  Cheddar Cheese, Muenster Cheese, Tomatoes and Pesto Spread
California Turkey:  Turkey, Avocado, Tomatoes, Sprouts, Muenster Cheese and Ranch Dressing
Turkey Bacon Avocado:  Turkey, Bacon, Avocado, Tomatoes, Muenster Cheese, and Honey Mustard
Turkey Spinach Artichoke:  Turkey, Spinach Artichoke Spread, Muenster Cheese, Tomatoes, and Pesto Spread

Oh, and here are some links to the traditional Mexican Tortas...
Egg and Chorizo Breakfast Torta
Grilled Chicken and Chilies Torta

Happy Sandwich Creating!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zucchini Cake with Sour Cream Frosting

I love that the zucchini in this recipe is pureed!

Zucchini Cake with Sour Cream Frosting


2 1/2 C flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1 1/4 C sugar
1/2 C butter, melted
1/2 C milk
2 eggs, beaten1 large zucchini, enough to make 1 1/2 C puree
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/3 C sour cream, room temperature
1/4 C butter, softened
3/4 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
  1. Peel the pretty green off of your zucchini.2. Chop that zucchini all up into chucks.3. Put the chunks into your blender and blend. Now. Don't be disappointed, but they may not blend up all at once. I generally have to stick a wooden spoon into the top and gently push the chunks into the blade. Careful now. Don't let the spoon get chopped. Just push down on the top a bit and soon you'll have a nice smooth consistency. You need 1 1/2 C of zucchini puree.4. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate well.
5. In a separate bowl combine the melted butter, milk, sugar, eggs and zucchini. 
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
7. Beat with your electric beaters, or in your Kitchen Aid for about 2 minutes, or until nice and smooth.8. Spray your bundt pan generously with cooking spray. Pour the batter in and get this baby into the oven. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.Stick a knife or toothpick into the center of the cake to be sure it comes out nice and clean before you take the cake out of the oven.
9. Let your cake cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then set a plate over the top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Let the cake cool completely.
10. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine all frosting ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy.
11. Pour over the top of your cooled cake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No Bake Cookies

Here's our favorite no bake cookie recipe.  They are such favorites that we don't have any around to take a photo of.  We ate them!

2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 cube butter or margarine
3 cups oatmeal
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Mix sugar, cocoa, milk, butter and vanilla in pan and boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and add oatmeal, peanut butter and salt.  Mix until batter is thick.  Drop by spoon onto wax paper.  Let cool and enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Zucchini Bread (2 versions)

We planted 1 hill of zucchini.  Of course, you know what that means!  We have more zucchini than we know what to do with.  I made two different versions of the Lion House Zucchini Bread (adapted recipes for less oil).  They both turned out delicious!  The only problem now is that I'm pretty much home alone for the weekend.  I hope my men return soon to help me eat it!

Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Lion House
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or plain yogurt
2 cups sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 cup walnuts, chopped, optional

Grease well 2 large 8x4" loaf pans.  Set aside.  In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In separate mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and foamy.  Add oil, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini; mix well.  Add flour mixture and mix just until moist. (overmixing causes tunnels and a course texture.)  Fold in nuts.  Pour into prepared pan or pans.  (Pans should be about 2/3 full.)  Bake at 350 for approximately 60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Do not overbake.  Serves 10-12.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Lion House
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups zucchini, grated
3 cups flour, all purpose
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare two 8x4" loaf pans by greasing and flouring or by lining with parchment paper.  Melt unsweetened chocolate and set aside.  Wash and grate zucchini; set aside.  Measure flour, salt, soda, baking powder, and cinnamon into a bowl, stir, and set aside.  Place eggs in mixing bowl and beat.  Add the sugars, oil, melted chocolate, and vanilla; beat until creamy.  Add the zucchini and stir together.  Mix in dry ingredients until incorporated.  Add the chocolate chips and mix in.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oven-Roasted veggies

This is a recipe that Bryn and Bryce and I really like. It is my adaptation of the recipe on the back of the Lipton onion soup mix box. We cook it in the oven and we cook it in the dutch oven. Yummy!!

1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
potatoes, washed & cut into bite size pieces
carrots, peeled & cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the potatoes and carrots in a gallon size ziploc bag. I usually cut enough to fill the bag at least 1/2 to 3/4 full. (You need room to shake everything together.) Dump in the oil (sometimes I use vegetable oil and sometimes olive oil, depending on what I have). (I actually don't usually measure the oil, so I might not even use a full 1/4 cup.) Sprinkle in the onion soup mix and garlic powder. Zip the bag shut and shake to cover the veggies with the seasoning. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and then spread the veggies on it. Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender and golden brown.

Superior Meat Loaf

Have any of you tried the meat loaf recipe on the back of the Lipton onion soup & dip mix box? Well, this is it. I thought it was very tasty. If Devyn likes meat loaf, this may be a good one to try.

1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
2 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I used Italian because that is what I had the most of)
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Shape into loaf in 13 x 9 inch baking or roasting pan. Bake uncovered 1 hour or until done. Let stand 10 minutes. (8 servings) (I use diet lean ground beef, so I didn't have too much "fat" in the pan. I know mom has mentioned cooking meat loaf on a rack placed in the pan so it's not soaking in its juices, so people could try that approach.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Anniversary Chicken

This chicken dish is simple to make and very flavorful.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki basting sauce
  • 1/2 cup Ranch-style salad dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 (3 ounce) can bacon bits
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned.
  3. Place browned chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce, then spoon on salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions and bacon bits.
  4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice

1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb. chicken breasts, diced into cubes
1 tablespoon oil
1 package frozen stir-fry vegetables
Sauce of choice--teriyaki sauce, orange sauce, etc.

In a saucepan, combine rice, water and salt.  Bring to a boil; cover with lid and reduce heat to low.  Cook rice covered for about 20 minutes or until water has absorbed and rice is tender.

While rice is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan.  Add chicken pieces and stir and cook until chicken is no longer pink.  Add frozen vegetables and continue stirring to cook until they are warmed up.  Add some sauce of your choice to add flavor and "yummy"ness.

Serve stir-fry over cooked rice.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Coffeecake Muffins

The other day I had a sudden, intense craving for a baked treat with cinnamon. I couldn't decide what would fit the bill, so I went about my day. Meanwhile, Alyssa went through some of my cookbooks and found that I had marked this recipe. She prepared the muffins for me and I was able to meet my craving with these delicious muffins we served as dessert for dinner.

Coffeecake Muffins

½ cup toasted walnut pieces, coarsely ground
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (divided into 3 tablespoons + 5 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt (divided into ¼ teaspoon + ½ teaspoon)
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 cups (8 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare muffin tins by spraying with Baker’s Joy or lining with paper muffin cups.

To make the filling for the muffins, stir the ground walnuts, 3 tablespoons melted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl until well blended. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites in a second medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff but moist peaks form, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt until uniform. Set aside as well.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, the remaining melted butter, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until moistened. Then gently fold in the beaten whites just until no streaks of white are visible.

Fill the prepared muffin tins halfway with batter, smoothing it out to meet the sides of the indentations. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon and walnut mixture. Divide the remaining batter equally among the tins, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the muffins are well browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out with a few mosit crumbs attached.

Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently rock each muffin back and forth to release it. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool for 5 minutes more on the rack before serving.


- Add ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips to the batter before stirring in the flour mixture.

- Dip top of each baked muffin in Vanilla Dip. To make Vanilla Dip, stir together 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons light corn syrup, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan until the salt dissolves. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer without stirring. Once it simmers, remove at once from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir in 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar in ¼ cup increments until the dip is smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

- Top the muffins with Nut Crunch Topping before baking. To make Nut Crunch Topping stir together ½ cup (3 ¾ ounces) light brown sugar with 3 tablespoons melted & cooled unsalted butter. Add 1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour. Stir until the mixture can be pressed together into clumps between your fingers. Before baking, sprinkle the topping evenly on the muffin tips by squeezing and crumbling the mixture between your fingers, using approximately 1 ½ tablespoons per muffin.

Recipe source: The Ultimate Muffin Book

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friendship Brownies

This recipe is designed to be a brownie in a jar gift mix.  You just layer the dry ingredients in a quart jar and attach the "To Prepare Brownies" directions.  And they are all ready to give to a friend.  But you can be like us and forgo the jar.  Just mix them up, bake them and enjoy them right now.
Friendship Brownies Recipe
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

3 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the flour into a 1-qt. glass canning jar.  On top of the flour, layer the brown sugar, salt, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, chocolate chips and nuts (do not mix--you are layering them).  Cover with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

in a bowl, beat the eggs, oil and vanilla.  Add the brownie mix; stir well.  Spread into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 34-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool.  Yield:  16 brownies.