Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting- TRY

Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cream sugars and butter.  Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.  Add remaining ingredients.  Drop spoonfuls onto non-greased cookie sheet.  Cook at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.
Boil 3 T. butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar until mostly smooth. (Approx. 2 to 3 min.)  Cool and add 1/4 cup milk and 2 cups powdered sugar or until desired consistency, and whip with hand mixer or whisk until smooth. Spread onto cookies.

These were amazing.  Addicting.  Flavorful.  SO good.  

EASY Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili and Taco Filling

Southwest Beans 

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can refried beans
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 envelope ranch dip mix

Combine all ingredients in crock pot on low 2-3 hours or until beans soften.  Great as a dip, chili, burrito or taco filling.

Yum!  We loved this!  We used it as a burrito filling and surprisingly the kids ate it up (with ketchup and sour cream).  I liked it plain, too.  So healthy and easy.  Just open can after can and you're done.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Red Hot Cinnamon Popcorn

Red-Hot Cinnamon Candy Popcorn
  • 8 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 package (9 oz size) red cinnamon candies
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup and candies; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat.
  • Transfer to two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from pans and place on waxed paper to cool. Break apart; store in airtight containers. 
Fun!  It's not too hot, but it is a nice change from typical popcorn flavors.  Addictive.

Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate chip cookie layer:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake layer:
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla, salt and vinegar. Beat in the egg, then the baking soda and flour. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide the dough into two equal portions and set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl cream the cream cheese with the sugar until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. 

3. In a 9x13 pan, spread 1/2 of the cookie dough mixture evenly across the bottom. (This is somewhat tricky to do. I find it easier to add dollops of cookie dough throughout the pan and then spread all the dollops together. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the top of the cookie dough. With the remaining cookie dough, flatten chunks of dough between your hands into discs, and then place on top of the cream cheese mixture. (The dough discs don't have to touch, just place them near each other so they cover the surface as well as possible.) 

4. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is brown and cooked through. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator.

(To make this in a sheet pan double the recipe and press into a 12x17" sheet pan. The cooking time is slightly shorter.)

Of course these are yummy!  And easy to make and very fun.  

Comforting food- Chicken Pot Pie Crumble

Chicken Pot Pie Crumble
  • 1 1/2 Lbs chicken (to save time I used my pre-cooked shredded chicken)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 c. celery, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. frozen peas

Crumble Topping:
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbsp unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 c. heavy cream (I used half & half)
FOR THE CHICKEN: Bring chicken and broth to simmer in covered Dutch oven over medium heat (If you don't have a dutch oven, just use a stock pot). Cook until chicken is just done (8 to 12 minutes). Transfer cooked chicken to large bowl. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup and reserve. Do not wash Dutch oven.

FOR THE TOPPING: Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl. Sprinkle butter pieces over top of flour. Using fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in Parmesan. Add cream and stir until just combined. Crumble mixture into irregularly shaped pieces onto a baking sheet (I just spooned it onto the baking sheet, cooked it, and crumbled it onto the chicken in the baking dish- easier!). Bake at 450-degrees until fragrant and starting to brown (10-13 minutes). Set aside.

FOR THE FILLING: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender (about 5 minutes). While vegetables are cooking, shred chicken into small bite-size pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken; set aside.

Heat butter in empty Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in reserved chicken broth and milk. Bring to simmer and stir until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir chicken-vegetable mixture and peas into sauce.

Pour mixture into 9x13 pan (or if you have small individual-sized oven-safe dishes, you can use those-- see picture above). Scatter crumble topping evenly over filling. Bake on rimmed baking at 400-degrees sheet until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned (about 12-15 minutes). Serve hot and enjoy!

This was a little complicated to make- it took a couple readings of the recipe to get what I'd be doing when, but next time will be even faster.  The recipe is so good, and it tastes clean, you know?  No canned stuff.  No cream of chicken stuff...FRESH.  And simple flavors.  But good.  The biscuit topping adds a lot too, and there is plenty of that on top!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chocolate Cream Angel Food Cake

Chocolate Cream Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Angel Food cake, baked and cooled completely
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds (I didn't use these)

  1. In a large glass bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken. 
  2. Carefully add the powdered sugar and cocoa gradually and continue whipping. The cocoa will look like it is separating and lumpy but continue to beat until stiff peaks form and by then, the cocoa should be evenly combined. (If you are worried about lumps you can sift in the cocoa and powdered sugar with a fine mesh sieve.) The frosting should be thick and spreadable - but not overly whipped or it will look a bit curdly. Just beat to stiff peaks.
  3. When the angel food cake has been baked and cooled completely, cut the cake in half to form two round circles. Lay the top half to the side and gently remove pieces of the angel food cake to form a ditch in the bottom portion of the cake (taking care not to dig all the way to the bottom of the cake, you want a layer of cake on the bottom underneath the ditch). Spoon frosting into the ditch you made and lay the top circle of cake back on top. Frost the sides, top and middle of the cake. Top with toasted almonds. Refrigerate until time to serve. A serrated knife works best to cut the cake into slices.
I have had this recipe on my to-make list forever, but I should have trusted myself and made it way sooner than now!  Totally delicious....not hard to figure out why.  Real whipping cream, chocolate flavored?  Winning combo.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Low-fat EASY Vanilla Ice Cream- surprisingly great!

  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • (from

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Combine milk, sugar and vanilla in freezer canister of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  Makes 1/2 gallon.

I was not sure this would turn out well!  I have the kitchenaid ice-cream attachment bowl, and I love how easy and fast it is to make your own ice cream.  This recipe had great reviews at, and I decided what the heck...we'll try it!  It whipped up quite nicely, though it was very soft-serve, which I prefer anyway.  After being frozen over-night, it was a little more icy than normal ice cream, but still delicious.  A great guilt-free recipe.  It will be fun to try add-ins, or making this with chocolate milk.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

Pumpkin Cream Cheese  Bread

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cup(s) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
Cinnamon Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons half & half or heavy cream
  • 1/2  to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pans.
  2.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  3.  In a large bowl, blend 1  2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside. 
  4. In another medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs and sugar; beat at medium speed for 5 minutes (color will change slightly when ready). Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture just until combined. 
  5. Pour half of the pumpkin bread batter evenly into the two prepared loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter layers in each loaf pan and then spoon or pour  on the remaining pumpkin batter (if you don’t have enough pumpkin batter to cover the cream cheese layer entirely, that’s okay, because you’ll be swirling them together anyway). Take a knife and stick straight down into the top pumpkin batter layer and middle cream cheese layer; swirl the knife around in these two layers, creating a marble effect; this will give the cream cheese filling a nice swirly shape as it bakes.
  6. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes; remove to a rack to cool completely. While waiting for the bread to cool, mix your cinnamon glaze: combine powdered sugar and half & half, blending well; then add cinnamon and mix until smooth and creamy.  Drizzle over completely cooled bread loaves and then sprinkle on nuts for garnish.  Refrigerate.  I think this bread tastes better after a day!  
I know it takes a few bowls and a little more time but honestly not that much!  You don't need the glaze, the bread is great without, but extra great with the glaze. Who doesn't love a little more sugar?  Such a flavorful, delicious bread, more decadent because of the cream cheese addition.  Pumpkin bread lovers should really enjoy this!  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My new Chicken Corn Chowder recipe

Chicken Corn Chowder
(adapted from
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, color of choice, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and membrane removed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or chopped ham or Canadian bacon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14 oz cans chicken broth or 3 1/2 cups water and 3 bullion cubes
  • 3 T. flour
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I skipped and didn't need it!)
  1.  Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute celery, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno until softened. 
  2. Stir in garlic and ham; cook for another 3 minutes. 
  3. Whisk the broth with the flour in a large bowl then stir into soup. Stir in corn and chicken. 
  4. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. 
  5. Add cream cheese and let it melt in, then add milk along with the salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Simmer until ready to serve.
I liked this recipe better than the other corn chowder recipe I had on my blog so I replaced it with this one.  It is a great soup, and we enjoyed it a lot.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Two great Chicken Cordon Bleu recipes

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
*Serves 6
For the Cordon Bleu:
  • 3 large chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise (to form two thinner chicken breast cutlets)
  • 12 slices deli ham
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I used Special K crushed flakes--tasted good to me!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 to 1/2 pound thinly sliced swiss cheese

For the Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube, crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Set aside.
Lay the cut chicken breasts in a single layer in the 9X13-inch dish. Layer each chicken breast with two slices of ham and top with 2 slices of swiss cheese, shingling across the chicken breast to make sure the entire chicken breast is covered with ham and cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken.
Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden.
While the chicken bakes, in a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly, while cooking the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken bouillon granules and salt. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking.
Serve each chicken cordon bleu portion with warm sauce.

This was so easy and delicious!  Way better than the recipes using cream of chicken soup as the sauce, and not as hard as the list of ingredients and long instructions would lead to you to believe!  I enjoyed the simple prep for the chicken, ham and cheese and not having to roll it up like normal cordon bleu.  The sauce has such a great flavor and it's yummy on it's own.  My kids all ate it, and thought it was good.  Try this!  

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bread Bowls
*Note: if you don't have apple juice on hand, you can omit the apple juice and increase the chicken broth to 1 3/4 cups.
*Serves 4-6
For the Chicken and Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed (about 2-3 chicken breasts) ((to save time I used ready-cooked chicken and just added it to the sauteed garlic and onions))
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 cups broccoli florets
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

To Assemble:
4-6 medium round regular or sourdough bread bowls or big rolls
8-10 thin slices smoked ham
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.
Place the broccoli florets in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tight fitting microwave-safe lid. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until tender but still bright green. Remove the plastic wrap and set aside.
In a 10- or 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute until the chicken begins to brown but isn't cooked all the way through, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened (when chicken is still slightly pink), about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken/onion mixture and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring, constantly for one minute.
Gradually add the chicken broth and apple juice, stirring constantly to avoid any clumps from forming. Stir in the cream, Parmesan cheese, mustard and thyme. Simmer for about 5-6 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in the broccoli; season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Hollow out the inside of the bread bowls by cutting off the tops and tearing out the insides. I like to leave about a 1/4-inch edge along all sides of the bread bowl. Compress the remaining bread together to firm up the sides and make room for the filling. Place the bread bowls on the prepared baking sheet and toast them for about 5 minutes in the preheated oven.
Remove the toasted loaves from the oven and arrange the ham slices in the bottom of each loaf. Using a slotted spoon, divide chicken mixture evenly between loaves, reserving about 1-2 cups sauce in the pan for serving. Top the chicken mixture in each loaf with shredded Swiss and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Bake the bread bowls until the cheese melts, about 10-15 minutes. Serve each bread bowl with reserved cream sauce.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Super easy dessert

Easy Cherry Cobbler Dump Cake
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 package yellow or white cake mix
  • 1½ cube butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 cake pan. Dump pineapple, juice and all, in the bottom of pan and spread as evenly as possible. Spread pie filling evenly over pineapple. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over the fruit. DO NOT STIR… Slice 1 1/2 cubes of butter thinly or melt and drizzle the butter over cake mix. Try to cover mix. Never mix this cake. Bake 45 minutes. Serve with whip topping or ice cream. Change flavors by changing the flavor of cake mix or pie filling.

Blueberry Dump Cake
1 package yellow cake mix
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Same instructions as above, only mixing sugar and cinnamon in with blueberries, placing on bottom of dish, followed by cake mix and butter.  

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

  • 1 lb. mahi mahi, tilapia, whatever you like
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. diced jalapeno
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • pinch oregano 
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 flour tortillas (soft taco size)

Garnish options:
Shredded cabbage
Hot sauce
Sour cream
Thinly sliced red onion
Sliced green onion
Chopped cilantro leaves
Pico de Gallo
Cotija (or feta) cheese

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place fish in a medium size dish and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, jalapeno, garlic, oregano and cilantro and pour over the fish. Let marinate for about 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the marinade place onto a hot grill (flesh side down if flesh is still on). Grill the fish for 7-8 minutes on the first side (or until fish is just opaque) and then flip for 30 seconds and remove. Let rest for 5 minutes then flake the fish with a fork.

Place the tortillas on the grill and grill for a few seconds. Place fish on tortillas and garnish with any or all of the garnishes.

We used tilapia because it was the best price at Sam's Club, and we really liked these tacos.  Very light.     You  can definitely just bake in your oven or cook on your stove as well.  I used tinfoil on the grill because the fish falls apart easily.