Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Desserts

I just love this time of year! I absolutely love spending all day in the kitchen! Below are two of the desserts I am making this year for Thanksgiving. One is an old favorite, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll, and the other a new recipe, Apple-of-Your-Eye Cheesecake (from the Taste of Home Most Requested Recipes Cookbook). I believe you need a little bit of pumpkin at Thanksgiving and since I don't care for pumpkin pie, I make this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll. I know some of you who have never made a rolled cake of any sort may be hesitant to make this, but it is really easy. The key is to not over bake your cake and to roll it up as soon as you get it out of the oven. If you do that, it will turn out perfect! I also believe there needs to be something apple at Thanksgiving. Just another one of those fall harvest fruits that needs to be represented. So this year I changed it up a little and instead of doing an apple pie I decided to try an apple cheesecake... the best of both worlds... 2 amazing desserts in one! Haven't tasted it yet, but it looks and smells amazing! Hope you have time to incorporate these 2 desserts into your Thanksgiving meal! Happy Thanksgiving!
This is only half of the roll. I cut it in half and froze the other half because with our small family of 4 I don't think we need that much dessert!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

Powdered sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
3 Large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15x10 inch jelly roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour wax paper. Sprinkle towel with powdered sugar. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixing bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Beat in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in small mixing bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. ( The roll can also be frozen and enjoyed later!) Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving!

Apple-of-Your-Eye Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 16 squares)
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. finely chopped pecans
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup butter, melted

3 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

2 ½ cups chopped peeled apples
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp. caramel ice cream topping, divided

Sweetened whipped cream
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans

In a bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, pecans and cinnamon; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a lightly greased 9 inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack (leave oven on).
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust. Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon; spoon over filling. Return pan to baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edges of pan to loosen. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons caramel topping. Cool for 1 hour. Chill overnight.
Remove sides of pan. Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream. Drizzle with remaining caramel; Sprinkle with pecans. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Southwestern Eggrolls

I found this recipe when I was looking for meals to freeze before baby Titan arrived. I made a large batch of them and we had a few for dinner that night while the rest were frozen for a future meal. (which I am looking forward to) I chose to bake them instead of deep fry them just to make them healthier. The ingredients in the eggrolls are fairly healthy, so I didn't want to ruin them by deep frying them, though I am sure they would have been good! They were a huge hit at our house! Matias devoured them in no time! I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do!

Southwestern Eggrolls
4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
3 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 Tbsp green onion, minced
6 Tbsp Red pepper, minced
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 Tbsp jalapeno pepper, minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas
If frying: Oil for deep frying (I baked them)

Sour cream & Salsa for dipping

Cook chicken breasts in 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, approximately 5 minutes per side or until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil to medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender.

Dice chicken and mix into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.
Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each tortilla. Fold ends of tortilla, then roll tightly around mixture. If you are going to deep fry them: Arrange in a medium dish, cover with plastic and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours. In a large deep skillet, heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees. Deep fry frozen stuffed tortillas 10 minutes or until dark golden brown. Drain on a paper towel before serving.
If you are going to bake: Place stuffed tortillas onto a backing sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom and slightly crisp.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lemony White Chocolate Cheeksecake

Peter's Birthday was September 13th so of course I had to make him a special dessert! Even though I am 8 1/2 months pregnant, I just couldn't resist making a new decadent dessert. My back, legs and feet were all hurting by the time I was done, but it was totally worth it! This dessert is amazing... a little heavy and very indulgent, but for a special occasion it is perfect! I saw this recipe in Taste of Home Magazine a long time ago but had never made it. I figured it was the perfect time to try it out!

Lemony White Chocolate Cheesecake
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 tsp. grated lemon peel

½ cup cold butter, cubed


4 packages cream cheese, softened

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 eggs, lightly beaten

10 squares (1 oz. each) white baking chocolate, melted and cooled

2 tsp. grated lemon peel

Place a 9 inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Securely wrap foil around pan; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar and lemon peel; cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cream and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs: beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in white chocolate and lemon peel. Pour into crust.

Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 65-85 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull,

Remove pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate over night. Remove sides of pan before slicing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

4 Cheese Chicken & Broccoli Fettuccine

As I have mentioned before, we aren't big on pasta in our family. However, we do like pasta with white sauce... or pretty much any other sauce but red sauce. We do not like red sauce! So this dish is perfect for us! It is so easy! And I just love one dish meals! Just serve it with a salad and garlic bread and you have a meal! Hope you try making this for your family! They will love it!

4 Cheese Chicken & Broccoli Fettuccine

8 oz. fettuccine
1 cup frozen broccoli
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. cream cheese cubed
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
2 1/2 cups cooked cubed chicken

1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook until pasta is tender. Meanwhile, combine soup, cream cheese, cream, butter and garlic powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add all of the cheese to the cream mixture; cook and stir until melted. Add cooked chicken and heat through. Drain fettuccine and broccoli, add to sauce. Transfer to  a greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Combine topping ingredients, sprinkle over chicken mixture. Cove and bade at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until top is golden brown. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chicken Nacho Bake

I had to clean out all of the cabinets before we could start our kitchen remodel. So before I put everything back into the cabinets I wanted to go through and get rid of things I didn't really need anymore. I had a ton of recipe magazines! So I went through all of them and pulled out recipes I thought I might like to try sometime and then threw out the rest. All that said... this is where I got the idea for this recipe. I have modified the original recipe so much that it's really not even the same thing. So I renamed it and am calling it my own!
This is before I baked it and topped it with the melted cheese.
Chicken Nacho Bake

2-3 cups cooked shredded chicken
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
6 oz. tortilla chips
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. lime juice
8 oz. velveeta cheese, cubed
1 Tbsp. milk

Stir barbecue sauce into shredded chicken. Place tortilla chips into a greased 9x13 baking dish; top with chicken mixture. Combine corn, black beans, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice; spoon over chicken mixture.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt cheese with milk. Drizzle cheese over nachos.

Serve with taco sauce or salsa. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Garlic Asparagus and Squash in Lemon Cream Sauce

So as all of you saw last week, I have a lot of pasta to use over the next few months. As I have mentioned before, we do not really care for you typical pasta recipes... mostly recipes with red sauce. So I was searching for some recipes that we would like and came across this one. I made a few changes to it (as usual) and it turned out great!

Garlic Asparagus and Squash in Lemon Cream Sauce

12 oz. Ronzoni Garden Delight Rotini Pasta
1 lb. asparagus spears trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small yellow squash
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup whipping cream
3 tsp grated lemon peel
Salt to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to saucepan. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook asparagus, squash and garlic in hot butter for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender, stirring frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to pasta. Combine whipping cream and lemon peel in the same skillet you cooked the vegetables in. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until slightly reduced. Pour cream mixture over pasta. Add salt to taste.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chicken & Asparagus Kabobs

My Mom recently gave me a new cookbook titled Taste of Home Most Requested Recipes. I really had not taken the time to dive into this book and try new recipes... but now I am hooked! I have made 4 recipes out of this book this week and all of them have been equally AMAZING! Around here, we love asparagus! And thankfully Matias does too! This recipe only calls for 1 pound of asparagus. But I actually bought 2 pounds. I used one pound on the skewers and then blanched and chilled the other pound and served it along with the dipping sauce. Matias ate 8 pieces of the blanched asparagus dipped in the sauce! He would have ate more if I would have let him! I also only made half the amount of dip it called for and we still have some left even though all of the asparagus is gone. So I will give you the halved recipe for the dip! This is a great easy healthy recipe! Let me know what you think!
Ok, so this is before we cooked them. I forgot to take a picture after they were cooked and we devoured them all so there are no leftovers!

Chicken & Asparagus Kabobs

Dipping Sauce: (this is the halved recipe. If you like lots of dip, double it!)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1-1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced fresh gingerroot
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
2 pounds fresh asparagus, divided (1 pound cut in 2-inch pieces: 1 pound trimmed, blanched and placed in an ice bath, served cold)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl combine the dipping sauce ingredients. Cover the sauce and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. 

Bring water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Once boiling add the uncut asparagus. Return to boil and boil for only 2 minutes. You do not want to over cook them! Place asparagus directly into ice bath when finished cooking. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, water, sesame oil, pepper flakes and ginger. Add the chicken; seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Drain and discard marinade. In a large bowl, toss the 2-inch pieces of asparagus with olive oil and salt. On six metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread one chicken piece and two asparagus pieces.

Grill over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until chicken is not longer pink and asparagus is crisp-tender. Serve with dipping sauce.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Edamame Garden Salad

I found this recipe about 2 years ago when Peter was gone to Korea ....or the Philippines ...or maybe Thailand... somewhere! When Peter is gone, I do not cook much. Mostly because when I have no one to enjoy the food I am preparing (besides myself) it just isn't as fun! So when I really want to cook, I usually invite someone over for dinner. And this particular time I invited Gina Higgins over! Gina lived on the same floor as us in the towers in Okinawa. Of course her husband was gone as well... so why not have dinner together? Anyway, this was just the side dish, but I must say that it took the show! I believe that Gina still uses this recipe to this day! (and so do I) It is an easy yet fresh and healthy recipe that I think you all will enjoy!

Edamame Garden Salad

3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 (1 pound) package frozen shelled edamame
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

In a medium serving bowl whisk together vinegar, EVOO, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, salt and garlic. Set aside. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add the edamame and boil for 3 minutes. Add the corn and boil for 2 minutes. Drain very well and pour into the bowl with the dressing. Gently mix in cherry tomatoes, green onions and black beans. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to chill and marinate the flavors. Serve as a side dish or you can serve it as a dip with tortilla chips!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Arugula, Bacon and Mushroom Pizza

PIZZA!!! I love homemade pizza! I have a lot of recipes for different kinds of homemade pizzas and I make them often. A homemade pizza just tastes SO much better than store bought! I will admit that I keep a store bought pizza in the freezer at all times for a quick weekend meal when needed, but most of the time the pizzas at our house are homemade (including the crust). So here is one of our favorites! I hope you enjoy it! There will probably be many more pizza recipes to come!

Arugula, Bacon and Mushroom Pizza

Pizza dough from bread maker or store bought
3-4 slices center-cut bacon
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 (8 oz.) package whole button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 Tablespoon EVOO
Minced garlic
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
2 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
4 Tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Prepare dough in bread maker. Allow 1.5 hours.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, reserving 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender and moisture evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Press dough onto baking sheet. Drizzle EVOO over dough and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and fresh minced garlic. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from oven; spread ricotta evenly over crust, leaving a 1/2 inch rim. Arrange onion mixture and arugula evenly over ricotta. Sprinkle with bacon, mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake additional 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"No Veggie" Burritos

I recently visited my friend Amanda Templeton for a few days. She made this dish for lunch while we were there and it was soooo good and yet soooo easy! Lately Matias has been refusing to eat green vegetables! I know, he is only 11 months and it has already started! Anyway, this recipe has a "hidden" green veggie that you can't even taste! Amanda's daughter, Abby, swore that she saw some vegetables in the burrito and therefore refused to eat it. Amanda tried to convince her it was just the salsa, but she was not having it! So in honor of Abby, I am naming this the "No Veggie" Burrito! This is a great recipe for those of you who are trying to get your kids to eat some green veggies! Matias loves this burrito! Thanks for the recipe, Amanda!

“No Veggie” Burrito

¼ cup minced onion
1 small zucchini, diced
¼ cup red pepper, minced
¼ cup yellow pepper, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
½- ¾ cup salsa

Sour Cream
Shredded Cheese

Sauté onions, zucchini, red and yellow pepper in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add black beans and salsa, cook until desired texture. Serve on a tortilla with sour cream and shredded cheese. Enjoy!

Messy, but yummy!

What? There are green veggies in here! No way!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pot Roast Meat Loaf

I love this dish because it is a fix it and forget it meal. I usually make a salad to go along with it, but other than that, the rest of your meal is in one LARGE pan, which means fewer dishes to wash! Those of you who know me well know that I DESPISE, washing dishes! I have always told Peter I want to hire someone to come in and clean up the kitchen after I finish cooking a meal. How much do you think that would cost me?... Ok, sorry about my dish washing rant. Anyway, I love this recipe. Let me give you a couple of tips to make it a little easier:
1.Take your ground beef out of the fridge about an hour before you start mixing your meat loaf. Otherwise your hands will be freezing while you are mixing the meat. I learned this the hard way. My fingers were so cold they were hurting!
2. Buy a 10.5 x 14.75 glass baking dish! Otherwise you will not be able to fit all of the potatoes, onions and carrots you will want to eat around the meat loaf. 
Pot Roast Meat Loaf

1.5 lbs. ground beef
1/3 cup bread crumbs or 6 saltine crackers
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp. worchestire sauce
4-6 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
small bag of baby carrots

1/2 cup ketchup
1-2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Using your hands, mix ground beef, bread crumbs, salt, milk, pepper, ketchup and worchestire sauce. With wet hands, shape into a loaf in the center of a 10.5 x 14.75 glass pan. (You can use a 9 x 13 but you will not be able to fit as many potatoes, onions and carrots around the meat loaf. So I recommend using a larger pan.) Slice 2 medium onions, set aside. Peel and slice 4-6 medium potatoes. Place slices of potatoes, onions and carrots around the meat, starting with potatoes first. Sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper. Pour about 1/2 cup (1/4 cup if using 9 x 13) of water over the potatoes, onions and carrots. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Remove meatloaf from oven and uncover. Mix 1/2 cup ketchup and 1-2 Tablespoons of brown sugar. (I kind of eyeball this, so if you think you need more sauce or would like it to be sweeter just adjust it to your taste.) Spread over meatloaf and bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

I love corned beef! I also love cabbage! Therefore, this dish is one of my absolute favorites! Some of you may have never heard of corned beef, let alone actually eaten it. But don't turn your nose up too soon, just give it a try! With Saint Patrick's Day approaching, this dish should be a great representation of Irish cuisine! I hope you broaden your palate and give this dish a try!

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

1 (4 lb) Corned Beef Brisket with Spice Packet
1 large onion, sliced
8 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 (14 oz) can beef broth
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 small cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

Trim fat from brisket. Place onion and carrot in a 6-quart slow cooker; place brisket on top of vegetables. Sprinkle bay leaves and garlic slices over brisket. Combine spice packet from brisket, beef broth, brown sugar, mustard and caraway seeds; pour over brisket. Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW and cook 8 hours. Add cabbage and cook on LOW an additional 1 1/2 hours or until cabbage is tender. Remove and discard bay leaves. Cut brisket across grain into slices; serve with cabbage, carrots and onions. Makes 6-8 servings.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

White Chocolate Cranberry Bars

Have you ever just had a day when you really just wanted to bake something? You wanted something sweet and delicious, but you had minimal ingredients and did not want to go to the grocery store. Well I was having one of those days when I found this recipe! This recipe is supper easy and has very few ingredients. It is a great quick dessert. It doesn't even require a mixer! Just stir it all together by hand! I hope this recipes comforts your sweet tooth!

White Chocolate Cranberry Bars

1 box White Cake mix
1/3 cup butter or margarine,  melted
1 Tbsp water
2 eggs
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate baking chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 9x13 pan with shortening and lightly flour. In a large bowl mix cake mix, butter, water and eggs with spoon until dough forms. Stir in cranberries and baking chips. Spread evenly in pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Penne With Pumpkin Sauce

I know I said that we do not eat pasta often, but lately I have found some pasta recipes we actually really enjoy! So I might be posting a few more pasta dinners over the next few months. At first glance this recipe did not sound like something I would normally make, but I thought I would give it a try. It turned out to be amazing! It is also a very affordable dinner. Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and pasta kind of sound weird together, but I promise you it will be a huge hit! I hope you step out of your comfort zone and give it a try!
Penne with Pumpkin Sauce
Penne With Pumpkin Sauce

2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup canned solid-packed pumpkin
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup water
2 Tbsp heavy cream
dash of Ground Nutmeg
¼ tsp Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ pound penne pasta
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Over moderate heat, melt butter in a large deep skillet. Add onion, pepper and garlic, stirring until softened. Stir in pumpkin, broth, water, cream, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, cook the penne in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add penne to the sauce, cook the mixture over moderate heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring and thinning the sauce as desired with the reserved cooking water. Stir in parsley. Remove from heat. Divide between 2 plates and top with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I would love to know if you have tried any of my recommended dishes! If so, please make a comment and let me know! I would love to know if you liked the recipe and if you made any changes to the recipe! Thanks for reading!

White Chicken Chili with Pine Nuts

I know, I know, I'm posting another soup. Being that it is winter and we were just blessed with our biggest snow of the season so far, I just couldn't resist! I love eating a warm bowl of soup on a cold snowy day. This recipe is very easy and very tasty! For those of you who are making baby food, throw in an extra chicken breast. Blend the chicken breast with some of the onions and add some curry powder. Matias loves it! The toasted pine nuts add a nice touch to this dish, so don't leave them out! I hope this dish warms you up on a cold wintry day!
White Chicken Chili With Pine Nuts

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3 cans great Northern beans, drained
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chilies
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 can chopped tomatoes and green chilies, drained
Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)
Shredded Cheese (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Place chicken and onions in a large pot with water to cover. Add salt and pepper. Boil until chicken is cooked and tender. Remove chicken, leaving onions in pot. Allow chicken to cool and cut into ½ inch pieces. Drain broth, reserving onions, into a separate container and reserve both (broth and onions). Return chicken to pot with onions; add soup, beans, and next 6 ingredients, stir to blend. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Add reserved chicken broth until you reach the desired consistency. Reduce heat to low at least 30 minutes or in a crock-pot for several hours.  Top with toasted pine nuts, sour cream, cheese and salsa! Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi

Sorry I am posting my recipe of the week so late this week! I didn't make this recipe until last night and I would never post a recipe that I had not tested first. So here it is! Peter and I are not big fans of pasta or Italian food. However, Peter had a Gnocchi soup a few weeks ago at The Olive Garden. It was his first time eating Potato Gnocchi and he really liked it. So when we were shopping at Sam's Club last week we bought a 3 pound package of Potato Gnocchi, hence, the following recipe! For those of you who do not know what gnocchi is, I will give you a very basic explanation. 

Gnocchi: In Italy, dumplings are collectively known as gnocchi and are made in several different styles. The most common way to prepare gnocchi is to combine potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed) with flour to form soft bite-size lumps of dough. Each gnocchi is ridged along one side. This gives the sauce a surface to cling to when eating. Most gnocchi recipes require cooking similar to pasta, but quicker. There are several varieties of pre-made gnocchi in supermarkets. Gnocchi goes well with just about any sauce and can be served in place of a pasta dish.

I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as we did! It is a great alternative to pasta!

Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi

Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi 
1 pound refrigerated Gnocchi
5 cups fresh spinach
1 pkg. mushrooms, sliced
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
4 Tbsp. Shallots, chopped, divided
8 ounces Fontina Cheese, cubed
1/2-cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook as package directs. Drain and set aside. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add 2 Tablespoons of shallots and sauté for a few minutes. Then add mushrooms and sauté until almost tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside. Start the sauce. Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter (Be sure to use unsalted butter. Otherwise it will turn out too salty.) in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes, until tender. Stir in cream and heat to almost boiling. Gradually mix in Fontina and Parmesan cheeses being careful not to boil. Stir until smooth. Place gnocchi, spinach and mushrooms into a large serving dish. Spoon the sauce over them. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tequila Lime Fajitas

This is one of our absolute favorite dishes! I would love to claim this as my own creation; however, I have to admit that my dear friend, Michela McKenna, gave this recipe to me. Thank you, Michela, for allowing me to share this dish with everyone, including Paige Potter. (Only a few of you will get that joke.) This recipe requires quite a bit of slicing and dicing, but the rest of the preparations take no time at all! I just love all of the fresh, healthy ingredients in this dish! Hope your family enjoys it as much as we do! Below are the recipes for the Fajitas and Salsa, but the Margarita recipe will always remain a secret!
Tequila-Lime Fajitas with Guacamole Salsa and a Margarita!
Tequila-Lime Fajitas
4 chicken breasts (sliced) or chicken tenders
1 Red Pepper (sliced)
1 Yellow Pepper (sliced)
1 Green Pepper (sliced)
1 Onion (sliced)

¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup of Tequila
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Grill Mates Chicken Seasoning (I use Garlic & Onion or Montreal seasoning)

10 Large Flour Tortillas

Combine all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Close and turn a few times. Let marinate for at least 1 hour or all day. Grill or cook on the stovetop in a shallow skillet over medium heat until Chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Serve on tortillas with sour cream and cheese.

Guacamole Salsa
2 Lg. Tomatoes (seeded and finely diced)
1cup corn kernels (frozen and thawed)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Jalapeño chilies (seeded and finely chopped)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 can of Rotel tomatoes (original or mild)
3 Ripe (but still somewhat firm) Avocados, chopped
Salt  & Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except avocado in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. About 30 minutes before serving, add avocados to tomato mixture. Add salt to taste and enjoy!

Velvety Squash Soup

 I discovered this soup about 3 months ago and it has become a favorite around here! Matias loves butternut and acorn squash. I was tasting his pureed version and it was pretty good! So I decided to find a recipe that I could make for us and this is what I found. For those of you with little ones who eat baby food, you can puree some of the squash after it is done roasting for your little one. It is very convenient! I also make grilled cheese to go along with the soup. It is a great soup and sandwich dinner. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

Velvety Squash Soup with Grilled Cheese.
Velvety Squash Soup

1 (3 lb) butternut squash
1 (2 lb) acorn squash
cooking spray
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 teaspoons canola oil
5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup apple cider ( I used Apple Juice)
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2/3 cup half and half

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut each squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place squash, cut sides down, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Combine onion and oil, tossing to coat. Spread onion mixture onto pan around squash. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until squash and onion are tender. Cool slightly. Scoop out squash pulp from skins; discard skins. Place onion and squash pulp in a dutch oven. Stir in broth and the next 5 ingredients (through red pepper); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Place half of squash mixture in food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour into large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan; stir in half-and-half. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.