Monday, December 31, 2012

Hot German Potato Salad

Growing up, my grandma would make hot german potato salad.
I found this recipe after a lot of googling and made it for Christmas to pair with a ham and beans.
My dad liked it better because it was milder than my grandma's, my mom is a fan of the more intense flavor of my grandma's.
I still think it was a hit! Be prepared -- it makes A LOT of potato salad.

10 slices bacon, diced
1C sugar
1C distilled white vinegar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp prepared mustard (I used Nathan's)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
10 large potatoes, boiled and diced
1 medium onion, sliced

  1. Fry bacon in a large pan.
  2. In a small bowl, add eggs, salt, mustard, vinegar, and cayenne pepper; beat well.
  3. Remove bacon pan from heat, pour egg mixture into pan stirring until thickened.
  4. Add potatoes and sliced onion.
  5. Mix until potatoes are well coated.
  6. Enjoy! 

Beer Cheese Dip

I made this recipe for a Sunday football party, paired with pretzels (both thin and soft).
I think it was a great party dip, without the same old run of the mill taste.

2 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2C ranch dressing
2C shredded cheddar
3/4C beer (I used an Oktoberfest)
4 green onions, chopped

  1. Beat cream cheese and ranch dressing in a bowl, until well blended.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, beating until well combined.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter 7 Layer Bars

I found this recipe via Pinterest.
I made them to go along with my Meaty Pizza Casserole for football Sunday.
These were a BIG hit! They are a little rich, but indeed very delicious.

1 box Devil's Food Cake cake mix.
1 egg, room temperature
1/2C butter, melted
1C coarsely chopped pretzels
1C peanut butter chips
1C Reeses pieces
1C honey roasted peanuts
1 7oz can sweetened condensed milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Liberally grease 9x13 pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, egg, and pretzels.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly along the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from the oven.
  7. Sprinkle peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, Reeses pieces, and peanuts in the pan.
  8. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk on top.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Cool completely before cutting.
  11. Enjoy!

Meaty Pizza Casserole

I found this recipe via Pinterest.
I made it for a Sunday football gathering, with 8 people and there was plenty for everyone plus leftovers!

1lb pasta (I used medium shells because I think they hold sauce/substance better)
1lb sweet Italian sausage, chopped into pieces
1 white onion, diced
2 26oz jars of spaghetti sauce (I used Wegmans Tomato & Basil)
1lb ham steak, cubed
1/2-1lb sliced pepperoni
16oz bag of shredded mozzarella
6 tbs grated parmesan cheese
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente.
  3. Cook sausage, onions, and garlic in a pan until any excess liquid is evaporated and the sausage is cooked through.
  4. In a lightly greased 9x13 pan, pour 1/2 jar of sauce to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Layer ingredients in the order listed below, spreading to evenly cover pan.
  6. 1st layer: 1/3 pasta, 1/2 jar of sauce, 1/3 mozzarella cheese, 2 tbs parmesan cheese, sausage and onions.
  7. 2nd layer: 1/3 pasta, 1/2 jar of sauce, 1/3 mozzarella cheese, 2 tbs parmesan cheese, ham.
  8. 3rd layer: remaining pasta, remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese, remaining parmesan cheese.
  9. Place pepperoni on top to your desired coverage. (I overlapped the slices of pepperoni so the entire top was just a sheet of pepperoni).
  10. Bake for 45 minutes.
  11. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  12. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

I tried the Cheesecake Factory holiday cheesecake around Thanksgiving and fell in love.
I spotted this recipe on Pinterest and was sucked in by the picture of the Cheesecake Factory's deliciousness.
Unfortunately, this wasn't a copy cat recipe and the picture was a total scam, BUT! fortunately the recipe was delicious.
Different than Cheesecake Factory's, but delicious nonetheless.

I only put crust on the bottom, but if you would like crust on the sides as well make sure to double the crust recipe.

1 10oz box of Chocolate Teddy Grahams
6 tbs butter, room temperature
1/3C sugar
1/8 tsp salt

5 8oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
5 eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4C sugar
1/8C all-purpose flour
1/4C heavy cream, room temperature
1 12oz bag of white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
red food coloring

chocolate ganache
6oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbs powdered sugar
4 tbsp COLD butter, cut into small cubes
crushed peppermints or candy canes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind up Teddy Grahams in a blender or food processor.
  3. Mix crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.
  4. Press into the bottom of a 10" springform pan.
  5. Bake crust for 10 minutes, remove from oven to cool.
  6. Turn oven off.
  7. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
  8. Add sugar, flour, and heavy cream, mixing until smooth.
  9. Melt white chocolate chips according to directions on the package (I used the microwave).
  10. Mix melted chocolate into the batter.
  11. Transfer 1/3 of batter to a small bowl.
  12. Stir in peppermint extact and red food coloring (I added a lot to make it red, but the amount you add depends on the shade of pink or red you desire) to the separated batter.
  13. Pour 1/2 of remaining undyed batter into springform pan.
  14. Drop spoonfuls of peppermint mixture into pan.
  15. Pour the rest of the remaining undyed batter into the springform pan.
  16. Drop spoonfuls of the rest of the peppermint mixture into pan.
  17. Swirl a knife through the batter to distribute the red mixture.
  18. Place cheesecake in the middle of the top rack of the oven.
  19. Turn oven to 400 degrees, and bake for 10 minutes.
  20. Turn oven down to 200 degrees, bake for 3 hours.
  21. Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly.
  22. Leave cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour.
  23. Refrigerate cheesecake after removing it from the oven.
  24. to make ganache: melt bittersweet chocolate according to package directions (I used the microwave) and let stand for 3 minutes.
  25. Using a small whisk (or a fork), stir in powdered sugar until combined.
  26. Stir in pieces of cold butter until fully melted and incorporated.
  27. Pour chocolate mixture on top of cheesecake, using a knife or spatula to spread out evenly.
  28. Sprinkle crushed peppermints over the chocolate.
  29. If serving right away, let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  30. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve.
  31. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie

I found this recipe via Pinterest, and with my plethora of homemade pumpkin puree I decided to give it a whirl for Christmas.
This is one of the best textured and spiced pumpkin pies I've had in a while.

8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
2C pumpkin puree
1C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg + 2 egg yolks, room temperature & slightly beaten
1C half-and-half
1/4C butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 premade pie crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place premade pie crust into a 9" pie pan, press down along the bottom and all sides.
  3. Pinch and crimp edges of crust together to make your desired pattern.
  4. Place pie weights (or if you don't have any, like me, put a round baking dish that fits on the flat part of the pie pan) on the pie crust, place crust shield (or aluminum foil) around the edge.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove weights (or pyrex dish) and bake for 10 more minutes.
  7. While crust is baking, beat cream cheese with mixer in a large bowl.
  8. Add pumpkin and beat until combined.
  9. Add sugar and salt, beat until combined.
  10. Add egg & yolk mixture, half-and-half, and melted butter, beating until combined.
  11. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, beat until incorporated.
  12. Pour filling into warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until center is set.
  13. Place pie on wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  14. Enjoy!

Oreo Cheesecake

I found this recipe via Pinterest and made it for Christmas Eve.
To be festive, I used the holiday red creme oreos. This cheese was delicious, but I did end up with the dreaded crack in the middle of the cake.
You will need 1 package of Double Stuf Oreos.

20 Double Stuf oreo cookies, finely chopped
2 tbs melted butter

1.5lb cream cheese (3 - 8oz packages), room temperature
1C sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/4C flour
8oz sour cream, room temperature
5 Double Stuf Oreo cookies (coarsely chopped for the batter)
remaining Double Stuf Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped for topping

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. for crust: Mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs and press in the bottom of a 9" spring form pan. (Press crumb mixture ~1.5inches up the sides of the pan if you wish).
  3. Beat cream cheese with mixer, on low until fluffy.
  4. Slowly add sugar to cream cheese and continue beating until well mixed.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, until well blended.
  6. Add vanilla, mix until combined.
  7. Add salt, mix until combined.
  8. Add flour, mix until combined.
  9. Add sour cream and beat until well combined.
  10. Stir in the coarsely chopped Oreos.
  11. Pour cheesecake mixture into the springform pan, on top of the crust.
  12. Sprinkle coarsely chopped Oreos on top of cheesecake.
  13. Place pan on the top rack, in the middle, of the preheated oven.
  14. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  15. Turn off oven and open oven door slightly.
  16. Let cheesecake stay in the oven for 1 hour.
  17. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  18. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  19. Enjoy!

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

I found this recipe via Pinterest and made it for Christmas morning.
I prepped the casserole on the night of December 23rd and cooked it on Christmas morning -- it held up just fine, so prepping ahead is a plus!

1 loaf challah bread
8 whole eggs
2C half-and-half
1/2C heavy whipping cream
3/4C sugar
2 tbs vanilla
1/2C all-purpose flour
1/2C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed

  1. Grease a 9x13 pan (I used Pyrex).
  2. Tear bread into chunks and put into pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, half-and-half, cream, sugar, vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture evenly over bread.
  5. Cover pan and refrigerate over night (or nights).
  6. In another bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  7. Using your (CLEAN!) hands, crumble the butter into the mixture until it resembles small pebbles.
  8. Place mixture in a bag and refrigerate until ready to use.
  9. When you are ready to eat: preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Take out your 9x13 pan and sprinkle the bagged crumb mixture over the top of the bread.
  11. Bake for 1 hour, or less if you like soggier french toast.
  12. Serve with butter or syrup or both!
  13. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Grand Marnier Fruit Dip

2C sour cream
1/4C brown sugar
4 tsp Grand Marnier

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
  3. Serve with fresh fruit. 
  4. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

This recipe is perfect for a football watching gathering, but it also disappears SUPER quickly.

2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbs butter
2 lbs pizza dough (I used Wegmans Pizza Shop Pizza Dough)
6oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
48 slices of pepperoni
2-3C marinara, warmed, for dipping

  1. Heat garlic and butter over medium heat, until the garlic begins to brown.
  2. Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan with garlic butter.
  3. Pull off marble sized pieces of dough, flatten, and top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.
  4. Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.
  5. Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter, and place into bundt pan.
  6. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  7. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  9. Bake ~35 minutes until the top is very brown, but not burnt.
  10. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
  11. Flip over onto a plate or platter, and serve with warmed marinara.
  12. Enjoy!

Winter Sangria

I used this recipe as a guide, but could not find sparkling cranberry juice ANYWHERE!
It was delicious and a perfect drink for a holiday party (in my case, a Christmas cookie swap).

1 33.8oz bottle of Wegmans Frizzante Cranberry Lime Soda
1 bottle of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 apple, thinly sliced (I used Pink Lady)
1/2C fresh cranberries

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher/bowl/dispenser.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until ready to use.
  3. Enjoy!

Baked Brie

This was my first attempt at baked brie, it turned out pretty good!
I didn't let it rest at all before cutting into it, so it did leak out a little bit but it was delicious nonetheless.

8oz wheel of Brie (I used Woolwich Dairy Triple Creme Goat Cheese Brie)
1 tube of crescent rolls
raspberry preserves

  1. Preheat oven according to crescent rolls directions (mine was 350).
  2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.
  3. Roll the crescent dough out to create one large rectangle piece.
  4. Spread a thin (or thick!) layer of preserves over the dough.
  5. Place the brie in the middle of the dough. (I did not remove the casing, but that is a personal choice)
  6. Carefully wrap the brie with the dough, delicately crimping or overlapping the edges to keep in place.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crescent dough begins browning.
  8. When finished baking, transfer brie to plate or serving dish using a spatula.
  9. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Serve with crackers.
  11. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze

Made these for a cookie swap, ended up with about 48 cookies.
SO delicious & the consistency was perfect.

**This will result in more salted caramel glaze than you need for the cookies unless you really want to smother them, the original recipe for the caramel was huge and I quartered it but didn't want to go much less than that. Have no fear -- salted caramel glaze is deeeeeeelicious on everything, including on spoons by itself.

for cookies
3C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2C salted butter, room temperature
1.5C sugar
1C pumpkin puree
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5C Heath toffee bits

for caramel
1.5C sugar
3 tbs butter, room temperature
1C heavy cream, room temperature
1 tbs sea salt flakes

for glaze
2C powdered sugar
2 tbs heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or a Silpat, but I don't have one of those).
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), beat butter and sugar until creamy -- about 3 minutes.
  5. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
  6. Slowly add in the flour mixture, mix until combined.
  7. Mix in Heath bits.
  8. Using a cookie scoop or spoon (I used a 1 tbsp measuring spoon), drop dough onto baking sheet about 1" apart.
  9. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.
  10. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack.
  11. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze.
  12. for caramel:  Make sure to have all your ingredients ready, as caramel is EASY to burn.
  13. Heat sugar over medium-high heat in large sauce pan.
  14. When sugar starts to melt, start whisking the sugar - the sugar will clump up, but keep whisking.
  15. When the sugar is totally melted, you can stop whisking.
  16. Continue cooking sugar until it is an amber color -- this happens quick so pay attention!
  17. As soon as the sugar reaches an amber color, add the butter and whisk until the butter is melted.
  18. Remove the pan from heat and carefully pour in the heavy cream (it will bubble up).
  19. Whisk until the cream is incorporated and the caramel is smooth.
  20. Whisk in sea salt flakes.
  21. Let caramel cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a bowl or jar.
  22. Let cool to room temperature (I waited about 15 minutes).
  23. for glaze: In a medium bowl, combine salted caramel, powdered sugar, and heavy cream.
  24. Whisk until smooth.
  25. When cookies are cooled, drizzle glaze over the cookies.
  26. Let caramel harden, or don't -- I waited over night so that they were less messy and easily stacked.
  27. Enjoy!

Blackberry Balsamic Pork Chops

I have more than my share of Tastefully Simple spices and mixes.
I also have more than my share of Pampered Chef products.
I found this recipe on Tastefully Simple's website, thought it sounded delicious and went home intent on cooking it for dinner.
What results, based on what was in my house, was equally delicious but did not adhere to the recipe (or brand).

2 pork chops
4 slices of bacon (I used maple)
Pampered Chef Blackberry Balsamic Sauce
Tastefully Simple Onion Onion

  1. Brush pork chops with Blackberry Balsamic Sauce. (I prefer to brush liberally, if you only want a little sauce that works too!)
  2. Liberally sprinkle Onion Onion over the pork chops.
  3. Wrap 2 strips of bacon around each pork chop, secure with a toothpick if needed.
  4. Place pork chops in a baking dish (I used Pyrex).
  5. Broil for ~10 minutes, until bacon and pork are cooked.
  6. Enjoy! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Muffins

I had almost a full container of buttermilk leftover from Thanksgiving that was going to go bad if I didn't use it.
These muffins were delicious, the flavors were so different and interesting than any regular chocolate  chip muffins I've ever had. 
Definitely try these! 

1.5C flour
3/4C sugar
2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
1/4tsp cinnamon
Finely crated zest of 1 orange
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4C buttermilk
2/3C vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla
3/4C semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Lightly grease muffin tin. 
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl and whisk to blend. 
  4. Stir in chocolate chips. 
  5. Combine the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in a large measuring cup or a bowl and whisk until well blend. 
  6. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, stir and fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened and the batter is well blended and smooth. 
  7. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes until muffins are puffed, golden, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  8. Carefully remove each muffin out of tin and allow to cool on rack. 
  9. Enjoy!

Garlic Kissed Pork Chops

This recipe is from Tastefully Simple, as I love my TS spices and mixes.
I had to modify it slightly based on what I had in my house.
It smelled amazing and tasted the same.

1/2tsp Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt
2tbsp+1/2tsp Tastefully Simple Smoked Paprika and Garlic Dip Mix
1tbsp soy sauce
1/4tsp black pepper
4 pork chops

  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a Ziplock bag. 
  2. Add pork chops to the bag, and shake to coat pork chops. 
  3. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 
  4. Broil chops 6 minutes on each side. 
  5. Enjoy!

Banana Buttermilk Muffins

I found this recipe while googling for things to do with my soon-to-expire buttermilk, they were a huge hit.
A definite do for breakfast!

1/2C butter, softened
1C sugar
2 eggs
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1tsp vanilla
2C all-purpose flour
1tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1C buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. 
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. 
  4. Add bananas and vanilla, mix well. 
  5. In another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. 
  6. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk.
  7. Grease muffin tins. 
  8. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. 
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. 
  10. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hatch Chile Salsa Verde

A few months ago, a friend from New Mexico urged me to pick up some hatch chiles from Wegman's during their Hatch Chile Fest.
I did, I roasted and peeled the skin off of them and then put them in the freezer because I wasn't quite sure what to do with them.
I found this recipe via Pinterest, modified it a little based on the quantity of ingredients I had and the salsa turned out quite delicious! It was definitely mild, but so, so flavorful.

10 tomatillos
2 hatch chiles
1 jalapeno pepper
1/4 of medium white onion
1 clove garlic
dash of sea salt
handful of fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced

  1. Set oven to broil. 
  2. Prepare tomatillos by removing husks and rinsing the stickiness from the skin.
  3. Arrange tomatillos and peppers on a roasting pan or cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the skins start to bubble.
  5. After removing peppers from onion, remove the tops and seeds from the pper and peel skin off.
  6. Add onion, garlic, salt, and tomatillos to a food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds.
  7. Add cilantro and peppers to the food processor.
  8. Add lime juice and mix well.
  9. Enjoy!

Crockpot Pumpkin Bread

I found this recipe via Pinterest, after a semi-failed attempt (and 8 hours instead of 2.5-3) I successfully made the pumpkin bread which is SO flavorful and moist.

1/2C oil
1/2C sugar
1/2C brown sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2C pumpkin puree (I used fresh pumpkin puree, but a 15oz can would do)
1.5C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda

  1. Blend the oil and both of the sugars in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in beaten eggs and pumpkin.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased or oiled bread pan (**Only if your bread pan can fit completely into the crockpot, otherwise use a round baking dish that can fully fit into the crock pot).
  5. Add 2C water to crockpot and place pan into the crockpot.
  6. Cover the top of the crockpot with 8-10 paper towels to trap condensation and keep the bread from becoming mushy. 
  7. Place the crockpot lid on top of the crockpot (making sure the paper towels are taut and not hanging down into the batter) and bake on high 2.5-3hours.
  8. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Streusel Pudding Cookies

I found this recipe via Pinterest and made these cookies for a cookie swap, they are easy to make and absolutely delicious to eat.
I doubled the recipe and ended up with 82 cookies.

1C + 2tbs butter
1C + 2tbs brown sugar
6tbs sugar
1 5.1oz box vanilla pudding mix (dry, do not prepare)
3 eggs
1.5tsp vanilla
1.5tsp baking soda
3.25C + 2tbs all-purpose flour

streusel topping
1C + 2tbs butter, cold
1C + 2tbs sugar
1C + 2tbs brown sugar
1/2C all-purpose flour
3/4tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make streusel topping: sift together sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  3. Cut in cold butter until small crumbs form. Set aside.
  4. To make cookies: Cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar together in a large bowl.
  5. Add in dry pudding mix and beat until well combined.
  6. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
  7. Add flour and baking soda, beat until well combined.
  8. Roll dough into 1" balls.
  9. Gently press some of the streusel topping onto the tops of the rolled dough balls.
  10. Place them on a greased baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are set but not brown.
  12. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Turkey Clafouti

I cooked a very large turkey (for the amount of people at dinner) this year, and therefore had a lot of extra turkey.
I got tired of eating the same old, same old turkey every day and a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of clafouti.  More specifically, this recipe.
I was a little hesitant of how this would taste, but it was actually delicious!

3 eggs
3 tbs butter, melted
2C cooked, chopped turkey
1 tbs Pampered Chef Smoky Barbecue Rub
1/4C + 2tbs half-and-half

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a glass baking dish, I used a Pyrex 3qt.
  3. Whisk together eggs, butter, and half-and-half until frothy.
  4. Mix in chicken and spices.
  5. Pour into baking dish.
  6. Bake about 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
  7. Enjoy!

Chicken Bolognese

I found this recipe on page 47 of the December/January issue of Taste of Home magazine.
It was for beef bolognese, but I don't particularly care for beef.
It was also for 18 servings, I 1/3'd the recipe (shown below) and ended up with 6 hearty servings.
The recipe called for serving over linguine, I had bucatini on hand. I liked the bucatini but the sauce was too chunky to utilize the hole in the middle of the noodle.
1lb ground chicken (I used Wegman's organic)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 tbs tomato paste, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs dried parsley flakes
1.5 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dired basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/12 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (really, just a sprinkle)
1/2C dry red wine
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2C chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1C half-and-half
1/4C grated parmesan cheese

  1. In large stockpot, cook chicken over medium heat for ~10 minutes until it is no longer pink.
  2. Remove chicken with slotted spoon, set aside.
  3. In the same stockpot, heat oil over medium heat.
  4. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook and stir until tender.
  5. Stir in 2 tbs tomato paste, cook 3 minutes longer.
  6. Add garlic, seasonings, and chicken.
  7. Stir in wine, bring heat to high and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes, stock, and bay leaves. Bring to boil.
  9. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
  10. Stir in half-and-half.
  11. Simmer for about ~1 hour, or until desired consistency is reached.
  12. Remove bay leaves.
  13. Stir in cheese and remaining tomato paste, cook for 5 more minutes.
  14. Serve over pasta and, if desired, more cheese.
  15. Enjoy!

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Phew. That's a mouthful!
I found this recipe via Pinterest and it can be summed up in 1 word: YUM!

2 sticks butter
4oz cream cheese, softened
3/4C brown sugar
3/4C sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4C all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2C chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan until browned, set aside to cool. (*make sure to watch your butter because it can go from browned to burnt VERY quickly)
  3. Cream butter, sugars, and cream cheese together until smooth.
  4. Add eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda until just combined.
  6. Add chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated.
  7. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  8. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Roll 1/4C size balls of dough and place on trays. Flatten slightly.
  10. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
  11. Enjoy!

Inside Out Stuffed Peppers

I found this recipe via Pinterest.
It was relatively healthy, very filling, and very delicious!

4 chicken sausages
1 medium green pepper, sliced
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2/3C frozen corn
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3C cooked barley (about 1C uncooked barley)

  1. In skillet over medium heat, cook pepper and sausage until sausage is browned.
  2. Add tomato sauce, corn, and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer 15 minutes, or until sausage is fully cooked.
  5. Serve over barley.
  6. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Herbed Dinner Rolls

I found this recipe on page 89 of Taste of Home Bet Holiday Recipes issue.
I made these rolls to go with my Thanksgiving spread, while I didn't think the went particularly well with everything else I made I do think they would taste good with different dinner dishes.

1.5C all-purpose flour
4.5 tsp herbs de Provence
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1C buttermilk
1 tbs butter, melted
1/2 grated Romano cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, herbs de Provence, baking powder, and salt. 
  4. In another bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter. 
  5. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened. 
  6. Fill greased muffin cups half full.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese. 
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  9. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. 
  10. Best served warm. 
  11. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

I'm not a huge sweet potato fan, but I had my first exposure to sweet potato casserole last Thanksgiving and I actually enjoyed it.
This is my fiance's Aunt Pat's recipe from last year, I made it this year and it turned out great.

4 huge sweet potatoes
2 yams
1C sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1C milk
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

for topping
1C brown sugar
1C walnut pieces
2/3C flour
2/3C butter

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roast the whole sweet potatoes and yams on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet at 425 degrees until soft, about 45-60 minutes. Peel and cool until ready to use. 
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  4. Grease a 2qt casserole dish. 
  5. In a medium bowl, stir together yams, sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, butter, salt, and vanilla  until mashed and smooth. 
  6. Put mixture into greased dish. 
  7. To make topping - in a small bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, flour, and butter with you (clean!) fingers until crumbly. 
  8. Sprinkle over top of dish. 
  9. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until browned on top. 
  10. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 
  11. Enjoy!

Copycat Chickfila Nuggets

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and I can honestly say that I believe that these nuggets are BETTER than Chickfila nuggets

1 package of chicken breasts (~1.25 lbs) cut into bite size pieces
3/4C milk
1/4C pickle juice (I just used what was in my Claussen jar)
1 egg
1.25C flour
2 tbs powdered sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1C peanut oil

  1. Whisk together milk, pickle juice, egg and put into a gallon sized Ziploc bag.
  2. Add chicken pieces to Ziploc bag and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pepper in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Shake to combine.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade bag and add to flour bag.
  5. Seal and shake flour bag until all pieces are coated.
  6. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Gently place chicken in skillet with tongs (to not splash yourself with oil), in multiple batches as to not overcrowd the pan.
  8. Cook chicken ~3-4 minutes on each side.
  9. Remove chicken from skillet and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.
  10. Enjoy!

Copycat Chickfila Sauce

I LOVE Chickfila sauce.
I no longer eat at Chickfila because I feel like I can't support an organization that gives money to such despicable causes.
That being said, I have looked around for substitute/copy cat recipes.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and it is SPOT ON.

1/2C mayonnaise (I use Dukes)
2 tbs yellow mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs vinegar
2 tbs honey
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. In a small bowl combine all ingredients.
  2. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!

Corn Bread Stuffing

I got introduced to corn bread stuffing last year when my Dad made it for Thanksgiving.
This year, I googled around to find a similar recipe to use this year and settled on this one.
I don't like the idea of stuffing a turkey, something about it touching raw meat just doesn't sit right.
It is perfect -- so delicious and dangerous!

1 pan of cornbread (I used Penguin boxed mix)
1 loaf of crusty French bread
1 stick butter
1 medium white onion, diced
2C celery, chopped
4C chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

  1. Chop the corn bread and French bread into cubes, spread them out on a baking sheet to dry out for about 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Grease 9x13 baking dish.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
  5. After butter is melted, add the onion and celery to the skillet and cook until the onions are almost translucent.
  6. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  7. Add basil, thyme, and rosemary and stir until combined.
  8. Place bread chunks into a large bowl and mix them up a little bit.
  9. Ladle broth mixture into bread bowl, tossing lightly as you go.
  10. Place into baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes until brown on top.
  11. Enjoy! 

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

I made these mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and they were delicious, they also (and very helpfully) did not take up any stove or oven space. On top of being creamy and delicious, they were ideal for prepping in a small kitchen.

5 lbs Russet potatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1.5C chicken broth
1/4C butter, cut into small chunks
1.25C sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3C half-and-half
2oz cream cheese

  1. Peel and cube potatoes.
  2. Put potatoes, chicken broth, and butter into crock pot.
  3. Turn crock pot on high and cook for 4.5 hours.
  4. Roughly mash potatoes.
  5. Add garlic, sour cream, salt, pepper, half-and-half, cream cheese.
  6. Finish mashing until smooth.
  7. Enjoy!

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

I made this pie for Thanksgiving, to me it is the perfect marriage of apple butter and pumpkin -- both things that I love.  My fiance said that it was good, but that he would prefer more pumpkin.

I found this particular recipe in a Dixie Crystals Sugar ad in a magazine.

for pie
9" refrigerated pie crust
3 large eggs
1C pumpkin puree
1C apple butter
1/2C sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch nutmeg
1/4C half-and-half

for topping
3/4C all-purpose flour
1/4C + 1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick cold salted butter
1/2C walnut pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare pie crust in pie pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until combined.
  4. Add pumpkin, apple butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and whisk until well combined.
  5. Stir in half-and-half.
  6. Pour into pie shell.
  7. Prepare topping by combining flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
  8. Using a cheese grater, grate very cold butter into small pieces directly onto flour mixture.
  9. Rub between your (clean!) hands to turn into small lumps and consequently into crumbles.
  10. Stir in walnuts.
  11. Sprinkle topping over pie.
  12. Apply pie crust shield (or aluminum foil) and place in oven.
  13. After 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  14. Bake until center of pie no longer trembles and has set, about 45-50 minutes.
  15. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator.
  16. Enjoy!

Apple Crumb Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

I made this recipe as a Thanksgiving dessert -- it isn't too sweet, but it is delicious.  It could probably make for a decadent breakfast food as well.

1 stick salted butter
1.5C brown sugar
2 large eggs
2C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt 
1C sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped (I used my Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor)

crumble topping
1/2C brown sugar
1/2C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbs salt butter, softened

brown sugar glaze
1/2C brown sugar 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 tbs water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. Add dry mixture to butter, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla.
  7. Stir in apples.
  8. Pour batter into prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.
  9. To make topping - combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter. Mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  10. Sprinkle topping over cake and bake until golden brown and set, about 45 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and left cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
  12. To make glaze - combine sugar, vanilla, and water, mixing until smooth.
  13. Drizzle glaze over cake and let harden. 
  14. Enjoy!

Herbed Corn

I printed out a recipe from AllRecipes a while ago (I'd venture to say 2-3 years ago) and did not gotten around to making it until Thanksgiving. It is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish -- delicious, doesn't take up oven space, and easy to prepare!

When trying to find the recipe online, it seems to no longer exist.

The original recipe uses a lot of fresh herbs -- I kill everything, and therefore I use dry herbs.

12C frozen corn
1C water
1 stick butter, cubed
2 tsp dry parsley
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 dry thyme

  1. In a large saucepan, combine corn and water.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4-6 minutes until corn is tender.
  4. Drain.
  5. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  6. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sauteed Kale

I found this recipe from Bobby Flay, I made some alterations based on what I had and personal taste.
I typically eat my kale raw, but this particular batch was so bitter I couldn't do it.
Sautéing it was the answer!

1.5 lbs of kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2C vegetable stock
1.5 tbsp garlic infused red wine vinegar

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook until soft but not colored.
  3. Raise heat to high, add stock and kale and toss to combine.
  4. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add vinegar, toss to coat.
  7. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats

1/4C salted butter
10.5oz bag mini marshmallows
6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  1. Spray 9x9 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In pot over medium heat, melt butter.
  3. Once melted, keep an eye on butter - cook until browned and slightly nutty (** be careful you can burn it really quick if you're not watching)
  4. Add marshmallows and pumpkin pie spice.
  5. Stir until marshmallows are melted.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in cereal.
  7. Spread the krispy mixture into your prepared pan.
  8. Let cool / harden before cutting.
  9. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pumpkin Soup

As I've said before, I love pumpkin everything.

This year, I am trying my hand at cooking and baking with a real pumpkin --- not just the cans of pureed pumpkin that line my pantry.I am also trying to branch out and give soup a try, I have never been a soup fan but I am coming to learn that homemade soup is far and above the soup that comes in cans.

I found the following recipe in the November 2012 issue of Women's Health Magazine, the article is called "Tastes Better Together: Butternut Squash + Cayenne". I made a few substitutions based on what I had and I also cooked it a little longer to blend the flavors.

It was awesome, made about 4 servings and is pretty healthy for you. I served it with cornbread, which was a great complement to the soup.  I would definitely suggest giving it a go!

1/2C chopped white onion
1 tbs butter
3C cubed pumpkin, rinds on
1 Granny Smith apple - cored, peeled, and chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 3/4C chicken stock a la Book of Jimmy
1/2C fresh apple cider

  1. In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and reduce heat to medium.
  3. Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Transfer back to the saucepan and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I have a love affair with chocolate chip cookies -- the dough, the cookies, the ice cream. All of it.
I found this recipe on Pinterest. I overcooked the cupcakes, so I adjusted the time.
I made few substitutions -- my favorite part is the frosting, and these were a hit with my volleyball team.

for cupcakes
3 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1.5C brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 2/3C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1C coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1C semisweet chocolate chips

for frosting
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
6 tbs brown sugar
1C + 2 tbs all-purpose flour
7oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

for cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners (recipe makes 24 cupcakes)
  3. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add dry ingredients to mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk.
  7. Mix until just incorporated.
  8. Blend in vanilla.
  9. Fold in chocolate chips.
  10. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Fill these to the top -- don't be intimidated, the batter has the consistency of cookie dough and it won't explode like regular cupcake batter.
  11. Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Let cool.
for frosting
  1. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until creamy.
  2. Mix in confectioner's sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in flour and salt.
  4. Mix in milk and vanilla until smooth and well blended.
  5. Pipe frosting on to completely cooled cupcakes.
  6. Enjoy!

Oreo Truffle Brownies

I found this recipe via Pinterest.
It tastes like heaven.

2 sticks butter, softened
2C sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2C unsweetened cocoa
1 1/3C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 package Double Stuf Oreos
8oz cream cheese, softened
10oz chocolate almond bark (or regular melting chocolate)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer), cream butter and sugar together.
  3. Add vanilla, salt, cocoa, and flour until just combined.
  4. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Crush Oreos until finely ground by either blending in a food processor, or place into a Ziploc bag and beat it with a mallet.
  8. Using your hands, mash crushed Oreos and cream cheese until well combined.
  9. When the brownies have completely cooled, add Oreo truffle layer on top of brownies.
  10. Melt chocolate and pour over truffle layer.
  11. Cover and place in fridge until chocolate is completely set.
  12. Enjoy!

Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

I love mac n cheese. I love homemade mac n cheese more than any other kind of macaroni and cheese.
I found this recipe via Pinterest, to make it even more delicious I added bacon to it.

1 lb medium shell noodles
1/2 stick butter
1/4C flour
2.5C skim milk
2C shredded cheese -- I used a mixture from Giant super market called "Mac & Cheese Blend" -- it is a mixture of sharp cheddar, american, and swiss cheese.
1/4C cream
salt & pepper to taste
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

  1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Stir in flour to make a roux.
  4. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Let roux cook for 1 minute, then add milk.
  6. Whisk until slightly thickened.
  7. Remove saucepan from heat.
  8. Add cheese and cream, stirring until cheese melts.
  9. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
  10. Stir in crumbled bacon.
  11. Combine noodles and cheese sauce.
  12. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Dump Cake

I love pumpkin. I love fall. I love fall and pumpkin together.
I found this recipe via Pinterest, but had to modify it based on allergies and what I had available in the house.
It was amazing, it made a ton, & I have already gotten requests for the recipe and to make it again.

1 box yellow cake mix
15oz can of pumpkin puree
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1.5C chopped hazelnuts
2 sticks butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  3. In medium bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Pour mixture into pan.
  5. Sprinkle entire box of yellow cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture.
  6. Top with hazelnuts.
  7. Drizzle melted butter over hazelnuts.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.
  9. Enjoy!

Apple Streusel Pie

I found this recipe via Pinterest. I made minor adjustments to accommodate what I had (and to use the pie crust I made).
I had to use an 8x8 glass Pyrex dish because my pie pan was in use for pumpkin pie, it was still a HUGE hit.

unbaked pie crust or a refrigerated crust from the store

for filling
1/4C sugar
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp allspice
6 macintosh apples, cored and chopped into small pieces (I used an apple slicer and then put the pieces into my Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor)
1 tbs vanilla extract

for streusel
1/2C all-purpose flour
1/2C brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 tbs salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

for filling
  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and allspice.
  2. Mix in apple slices and vanilla extract.
  3. Toss until apples are well coated and no excess mixture remains.
for streusel
  1. In food processor, process flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon until combined.
  2. Add butter pieces and process about 1 minute, until butter is well combined.
the pie
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Roll out dough disk on floured surface, until it is about 13" round.
  3. Transfer to a 9" pie pan (I had to improvise and use an 8x8 glass dish).
  4. Pour in apple filling as evenly as possible to prevent spill over.
  5. Evenly sprinkle streusel topping over the apples.
  6. Bake about 45 minutes, until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.
  7. Enjoy!

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

I have never, ever made anything with an actual pumpkin before. I have always used canned pureed pumpkin.
This year, I made it a point to buy a pumpkin whose only purpose was to be cooked with.
I didn't buy a special kind of pumpkin, I bought an 8 lb pumpkin from the farm.
I used this recipe, the only modification being I used my own crust instead of a pre-made one and it was a huge hit!

Unbaked Pie Crust, or a refrigerated crust from the store.
2C freshly prepared pumpkin (see below for instructions on how to prepare pumpkin)
1/4C brown sugar
1/2C white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, beaten slightly

how to prepare fresh pumpkin
*I found out the hard way, that it takes about 3.25 cups of raw pumpkin chunks to turn into 1 cup of prepared pumpkin puree. So make sure you have about 6.5 cups of pumpkin chunks!
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut pumpkin around the middle  (think like it's wearing a belt).
  3. Clean out the pumpkin gunk and seeds.
  4. Cut pumpkin into smallish chunks.
  5. Cut rind off of pumpkin.
  6. Place pumpkin chunks into a greased 4.5 liter (or larger) dish -- I used a glass Pyrex dish.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, until pumpkin is tender.
  8. Remove dish from oven, and put pumpkin immediately into a blender or food processor.
  9. Puree pumpkin until smooth.
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients.
  3. Pour into pie shell.
  4. Cover crust with pie crust shield or with pinched aluminum foil, to avoid burning.
  5. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
  6. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, bake for another 55 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. 
  7. Enjoy!

Pie Crust

I often buy the pre-made, refrigerated pie crusts from the grocery store.
This weekend, not wanting to leave the house to avoid hurricane crazed shoppers, I made my own crust.

I used this recipe, modified slightly to accommodate what I had in the cabinets.

This recipe is 1) delicious and 2) makes enough for 2 pies (or 1 pie with crust on the top & bottom).

I used this crust to make both a pumpkin pie and an apple streusel pie.

2.5C all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
20 tbs (2.5 sticks) cold salted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4C Whipped Cream Vodka
1/4C cold water

  1. Process 1 1/2C flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined.
  2. Add butter and process until dough starts to clump (about 15 seconds).
  3. Spread dough evenly around the food processor blade, add remaining flour, and process until dough mixture is evenly distributed around bowl.
  4. Empty dough into medium bowl.
  5. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture.
  6. With a rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.
  7. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4" disk.
  8. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes (and up to 2 days).
  9. Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Apple Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I found this recipe via Pinterest.
I changed a few things, as I liked salted caramel better than regular caramel.

Helpful Tip: I made the caramel (for the buttercream and the drizzle) while the cupcakes were cooking so that it would be sufficiently cooled by the time I needed to use it!

3C all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, room temperature
1C sugar
1C brown sugar
1/4C orange juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1C canola oil
1 Fuji apple, grated (use the bigger slots, the small graters just juice it.)
1 Granny Smith apple, grated

salted caramel buttercream
1C + 2tbsp sugar
1/4C water
1/4C heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt
3 sticks butter, softened
4 egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

salted caramel drizzle
1/4 + 1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tbsp sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease or line (with cupcake liners) muffin pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl (I used my KitchenAid), beat eggs and sugars together until creamy.
  5. Add orange juice, vanilla, and canola oil at medium-low speed until combined.
  6. Slowly add flour mixture until well mixed.
  7. Fold in grated apples.
  8. Bake ~25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean & let cool.
caramel buttercream
  1. Bring 1/2C + 2 tbsp sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Swirl pan occassionally, until caramel is a dark amber color. BE CAREFUL not to let it burn.
  3. Immediately remove from heat, slowly add cream, sea salt, and 1 tsp vanilla.
  4. Stir with a silicone spoon (I find its easier to get caramel off silicone than wood).
  5. Let cool. (at least 15 minutes)
  6. In medium bowl, beat butter with mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. ~3minutes.
  7. Place eggs whites and remaining sugar in double boiler (or heatproof bowl over pot of simmering water).
  8. Whisk until sugar dissolves (I don't have a candy thermometer -- so I just kept an eye out).
  9. Remove from heat and transfer to large bowl (I used my KitchenAid with wisk attachment).
  10. Whisk on medium (6 on KitchenAid) speed for 5 minutes.
  11. Increase speed to medium-high (8 on KitchenAid) for 6 minutes.
  12. Reduce speed to medium (4 on KitchenAid) and add butter, a little bit at a time.
  13. Whisk in vanilla.
  14. Switch to paddle attachment.
  15. With mixer on low speed (2 on KitchenAid), add caramel and beat for 5 minutes.
  16. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
salted caramel drizzle
  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Swirl pan occassionally, until caramel is a dark amber color. BE CAREFUL not to let it burn.
  3. Immediately remove from heat, slowly add cream, sea salt, and 1 tsp vanilla.
  4. Stir with silicone spoon.
  5. Let cool. (at least 15 minutes).
  6. Transfer to pastry bag (or ziploc), snip corner and drizzle onto buttercream in whatever pattern your heart desires.
  7. Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Buttercream

I found this recipe via pinterest. It sounded heavenly, and it definitely delivered!
I changed some ingredients around based on what I had / trying to be healthier and cheaper.
This made 32 cupcakes. I also had to adjust the cooking time, but that could be my finicky oven.

for the cupcakes
2 sticks butter, softened
1.5C sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 egg whites, room temperature
3 1/3C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1C plain greek yogurt
1/3C skim milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1.5C frozen blueberries (they hold up better in batter)

for buttercream
1 stick butter, softened
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/3C maple syrup (less if you're not using the pure, real thing...otherwise it will be REALLY sweet)
5.5C powdered sugar

for decoration
3 fresh blueberries per cupcake
cinnamon sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.
  2. Line pans with cupcake liners (or spray the pans if you don't want to use liners).
  3. In large bowl (I used my KitchenAid) beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. On low speed, add eggs and egg whites one at a time until well combined.
  5. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  6. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the wet (greek yogurt, vanilla, coconut water) until fully combined.
  7. Fold in frozen blueberries.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for ~28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (The recipe recommended 18 minutes but mine were still batter at that point)
  10. In large bowl (I used my KitchenAid), beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
  11. Add maple syrup and powdered sugar little by little (unless you want a powdered sugar cloud then add it all at once!).
  12. If the frosting is too thick, add a little bit of milk until the texture is more to your liking.
  13. Pipe buttercream onto  cooled cupcakes.
  14. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of buttercream.
  15. Top wtih 3 blueberries.
  16. Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Last Minute Pumpkin Muffins

Found this recipe on Pinterest, it is a super quick and easy way to make pumpkin muffins when you are in a time crunch.

I had all but 1/4C of the can of pumpkin left, so I used the remainder of the can of pumpkin + 1/4C of plain greek yogurt. Turned out delicious, and super moist!

Don't be alarmed that the batter looks thicker than normal, everything turned out fine.

Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
15oz can of Pumpkin

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin pan (or use liners!).
  3. Combine can of pumpkin (or pumpkin/yogurt mixture) with cake mixture.
  4. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  5. Bake 25 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pumpkin Poppers

I woke up this morning dreaming of pumpkin muffins and pumpkin coffee.

I scoped my Pinterest "Recipes to Try" board, and found this recipe. I mostly followed the recipe, just substituting what I had vs what was listed.
They were delicious.

For Poppers:
1.75C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3C canola oil
1/2C brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4C pumpkin
1/2C coconut milk

For Coating: 
1 stick butter, melted
2/3C sugar
2 tbs cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease mini muffin pan.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a bowl.
  4. In another bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer), mix oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and coconut milk until well combined. 
  5. Add flour mixture little by little until well combined.
  6. Fill mini muffin pan almost to the top. 
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes.
  8. Melt butter in small bowl for coating.
  9. In separate bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.
  10. After the poppers cool for a few minutes (or right away if you don't mind burning your fingers!), dip the poppers in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  11. Enjoy!

Nutella Pound Cake

Found this recipe via Pinterest.
It is AMAZING, perfectly sweet and Nutella-y but not overwhelmingly so.

I used a 8.5x4.5 inch loaf pan, which nearly doubled my cook time -- so use a 9x5, and/or do what I did and keep checking on it every 5 minutes after the 1 hour and 10 minute listed time.

1.5C flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1.25C sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
13oz jar of Nutella

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour 9x5 loaf pan.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In large bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer), beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Lower speed to medium and add eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  6. Lower speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 parts until just blended.
  7. Spread 1/3 batter in pan, then spread 1/3 Nutella on top. Repeat until all batter and Nutella is gone.
  8. Take a knife and swirl through the pan to slightly mix the Nutella and batter.
  9. Bake about 70 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  (For the 8.5x5.5 pan, it was about 110 minutes.)
  10. Allow cake to cool for ~20 minutes, then remove from pan.
  11. Allow to cool before cutting (or risk the crumbling!).
  12. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

I made chicken stock using directions from my fiance's cousin.
Then I need to do something with the stock, I was feeling like junk and decided upon chicken noodle soup.
I found this recipe via Pinterest and modified based on my patience and my ingredients.

2 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8C chicken stock (I'm sure store bought stock or broth would be fine)
2C wide egg noodles
4 tsp dry parsley
1lb chicken, chopped into small pieces

  1. In a large pot, combine all ingredients except the noodles.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Add noodles and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Pineapple Lemonade Sangria

I found this recipe via Pinterest & made it for a party. MAJOR hit -- perfect combination of sweet and light without being overly tangy.

750mL bottle of chardonnay
12oz can frozen lemonade
1/2C light rum
1/2C triple sec
3/4C simple syrup (1/2C water & 1/4C sugar boiled (stirred constantly) until sugar is dissolved & mixture is clear. Let cool before using.)
20oz can chunks or rings of pineapple WITH juice (I used crushed -- bad idea, it clogged up the spigot on my dispenser)
1 apple, unpeeled, cored, and cut into chunks (I used pink lady)
1 orange, sliced thin
1 lemon, sliced thin
1 can Sprite (or other lemon-line soda)
8 strawberries, cut in half with stems removed

  1. In large pitcher or dispenser, combine all liquids but the Sprite. Stir well.
  2. Add fruit. Stir.
  3. Refrigerate for several hours (I did it overnight).
  4. Just before serving, add Sprite and stir well.
  5. Enjoy!

Snickerdoodle Blondies

My fiance LOVES snickerdoodles. He could probably live on them for the rest of his life.
I found this recipe via Pinterest and it was a huge hit!

for batter
2 2/3 all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2C brown sugar
1C butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

for topping
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
  3. Combine first 5 batter ingredients and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer), beat butter and brown sugar together for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  5. Mix flour mixture into bowl a little bit at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Spread batter evenly in pan.
  7. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  8. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tooth pick comes out clean.
  10. Enjoy!

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip

I am currently doing a 30 day ab challenge that involves a diet of no dairy, white flour, or added sugar.
On our most recent girls' night, my friend Maria suggested we try this dessert because it is only minimally cheating :)
It was pretty tasty -- definitely not as tasty as the real deal, but for being made of chickpeas it was definitely worth it. We ate ours with a spoon, I suppose you could use graham crackers but a spoon did just fine!

I'm listing the ingredients we used, we followed the recipe for the most part.

16oz can of chickpeas
1/8tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4C almond butter
2 tbs coconut milk
2/3C brown sugar
3 tbs oats
1/2C chocolate chips

  1. Add all ingredients minus chocolate chips to a food processor and process about 4 minutes until smooth (I had a few rogue chickpeas that escaping smushing).
  2. Mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Stick in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Overnight Cinnamon Roll French Toast

Don't think about the calories, just think about the heaven in your mouth.
Promise you, it's worth it.

1 can (12.4 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
4 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons salted butter

  1. Bake and ice cinnamon rolls as directed on can.
  2. While they're baking, spray an 8x8 baking dish (I used pyrex) with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, half and half, corn syrup, and vanilla.
  4. When rolls are done baking, with a serrated (and sharp) knife, cut each baked cinnamon roll from top to bottom into thirds.
  5. Arrange pieces in baking dish at a slight angle to fill dish with centers of rolls exposed slightly. (I started in a corner and went out from there to the corner across from it diagonally.
  6. Pour egg mixture over rolls.
  7. Cover dish with lid or plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, easiest to do it overnight.
  9. To serve, heat oven to 400 degrees.
  10. Uncover the bakin dish, bake 25 minutes.
  11. Cool for a few minutes before serving, or burn your fingers/mouth - I don't judge.
  12. Enjoy!

Strawberry Crumb Bars

I found this recipe via Pinterest.
I made some modifications based on what I had in the house, and it was awesome.
A perfect summer dessert, I brought it to a 4th of July BBQ.

1½ cups sugar, divided
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 sticks (½ lb) cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tbs lime juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. 
  2. Grease a 13×9 inch pan; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and flour.  Mix in the salt, stir together with a fork.  Cut in the butter and egg with a pastry blender (or two knives if you don’t have one) until the largest chunks are about pea-sized.  The mixture should be crumbly without much loose flour.
  4. Spread about half of the dough mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to form the bottom crust.
  5. In another bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, cornstarch and lime juice.
  6. Gently mix in the strawberries with a rubber spatula until combined.  
  7. Spread the berry mixture evenly over the bottom crust.  Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the berries. 
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Breakfast Potatoes

Sea salt
Ground pepper
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 stick salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 mediumish yellow onion, finely diced (really, if you like onions add more -- if you don't, add less)
1 tsp dry rosemary

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook potatoes until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.
  3. Let potatoes dry 10 minutes, then spread in an even layer in a baking dish (I used a 9x13 pyrex because I love pyrex - if you don't love it, use something different).
  4. Drizzle potatoes with oil, and dot with butter. Taste a potato for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary, and season with pepper.
  5. Roast potatoes until beginning to turn golden, 30 to 35 minutes. (I like things crispier, so I did 35). 
  6. Distribute onion and rosemary evenly over potatoes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees, and roast until potatoes are golden and onions are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!


Sorry for the five (sheesh) month absence everybody.
Midterms, schoolwork, work work, finals, traveling, graduating, getting engaged, & wedding planning have crowded my plate.
I promise to be a more frequent updater, because people need to eat tasty things!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Raspberry Whipped Cream

I have used this as a topper for cheesecake with oreo cookie crust.
I have used this as frosting on chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes.
I could eat this right out of the bowl.

1C heavy whipping cream
1/2C raspberry preserves (with or without seeds, up to you!)
2tbs sugar

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cream & sugar until peaks begin to form. (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer).
  2. Add preserves.
  3. Whisk for 2-3 minutes until well combined and well whipped.
  4. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it for our Superbowl party.
I had way too many of them...they are delicious.

32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2C heavy cream
3/4C butter, melted
3/4C brown sugar
1C flour
1C old-fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
3/4C semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine caramels and heavy cream in small saucepan over low heat, stir until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, & baking soda.
  4. Press 1/2 of the oatmeal mixture into an 8x8 pan.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust.
  7. Pour caramel over chocolate chips.
  8. Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.
  11. Enjoy!

Bacon Cheese Dip

I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it for our Superbowl party.
I really only changed how I did the bacon & I left out horseradish because I didn't have any, otherwise followed her directions.

6 slices of bacon
8oz cream cheese, softened.
1C finely shredded cheddar cheese (I used mild)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs mayonnaise (I used Duke's)
1/3C light sour cream
2 scallions, sliced

  1. Cook strips of bacon in skillet until browned, move to paper towel lined plate.
  2. Place cream cheese, cheddar cheese, worcestershire, mayo & sour cream into a food processor.
  3. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add scallions.
  5. Crumble bacon over dip.
  6. Mix well to combine scallions and bacon into mixture.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
  8. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I made these for a friend's party, with raspberry whipped cream frosting.
They are delicious, very chocolately without being overwhelming.

1/2C butter, softened
1 1/4C sugar
2 eggs
3/4C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2C cocoa powder
1/2C milk (I used organic 1%)
1 tsp vanilla
2/3C mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 4 minutes in a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer).
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mix until combined.
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder until well combined. (use slow speed at first to avoid chocolate cloud).
  5. Add vanilla and milk.
  6. Add flour, a little bit at a time.
  7. Add chocolate chips, mix until well combined.
  8. Fill cupcake liners until 1/2 full.
  9. Bake for ~23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Crock Pot Candy

Made these for a potluck at work - it is super easy and pretty tasty.

I found most of the ingredients in the sizes listed below - if something was a little off from the Pinterest recipe, I just found the next closest size.

16 oz unsalted peanuts
16 oz salted peanuts
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz milk chocolate chips
24 oz peanut butter chips
2 lb white almond bark (aka vanilla candy coating)

  1. Layer ingredients in crock pot in the order listed.
  2. Turn crock pot on low & cover with lid.
  3. After 2 hours, remove lid and stir ingredients.
  4. Replace the lid and wait 45 minutes.
  5. Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
  6. Stir ingredients and spread candy onto wax paper.
  7. Allow candy to harden for at least an hour (I put it in the fridge).
  8. Break into pieces.
  9. Enjoy!

Cookie Dough Dip

Made this for New Years Eve, served with cinnamon graham crackers, and it was DELICIOUS!
I used regular chocolate chips which worked, but I think for dipping purposes that mini chocolate chips would be better.
I found the original recipe on Pinterest, but modified it slightly.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter, softened
1 C powdered sugar
2 tbs brown sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla
2C mini chocolate chips

  1. Cream together butter and cream cheese.
  2. Combine all additional ingredients.
  3. Enjoy!