Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Favorites

Happy Halloween! I don't know why, but I just love Halloween so much! Not the gorey grave yard, blood and guts side, but just the crazy dressing-up, get-together side. I think it is because Mom and Dad always made Halloween so fun with a big batch of chili, homemade root beer, homemade doughnuts, good company, and lots of games and laughter. We love to watch Wait until Dark or the Ghost of Mr. Chicken. I'll take that over just "trick-or-treating" any year! It is just killing me that I can't join them this year!

Here are some of my Halloween favorites:

Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

Snuggle up to this delicious soup on a cold day! Found it in my favorite Simple and Delicious. It was so surprisingly good- it exceeded my "cauliflower" expectations! I also added zucchini to make it stretch a little further, and I think it gave it a good texture. (I think the pureed soups are sometimes a labor of love, so why not make them last a little longer.) I think you'll like this one though. It was surprisingly filling!

Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup
1 medium head cauliflower (2 lbs.) cut into florets
1-2 large zucchinis, peeled, cubed, and steamed as well
2 cups half-and-half cream, divided
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese (I ended up using mozzarella and Parmesan)
1/2 tsp. salt (or more)
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 to 1 cup water
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Place cauliflower in a steamer basket; place in a large saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. (Way too complicated- just nuke 'em in the microwave covered for about the same amount of time.)

Place cauliflower and 1/2 cup cream in a food processor; cover and process until pureed. Transfer to a large saucepan. (This is when those immersion blenders you hardly ever use really come in handy.)

Stir in the cheese, salt, nutmeg, pepper and remaining cream. Add enough water to reach desired consitency; heat through. Sprinkle each serving with bacon. (Yield 4 servings.)
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Curried Chicken Salad

You are going to love me for posting this one! This chicken salad by Ellie Krieger made such a delicious fresh lunch with so much flavor, and I didn't have to feel guilty at all. It just tasted healthy and delicious! I didn't know curry could be so good! It really didn't take long to assemble, because I took a short cut and used some bottled chicken breast that I had put up with my mom this year. You could just use some canned chicken to speed up the process, or just follow her instructions. Either way, I hope you'll give this one a try. I don't think you will be disappointed! Here is a link to the video if you would like to watch her make it:

Curried Chicken Salad

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, no more than 3/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 cup halved red grapes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces mixed greens (about 5 cups lightly packed))
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Bring the broth and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add chicken to broth and simmer, covered, for 8 minutes. Turn the heat off and let chicken stand in the cooking liquid, covered, until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and cool completely in the refrigerator. Cut into 1/4-inch dice. Toast the almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and beginning to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and curry powder. Fold in the chicken, grapes and cilantro and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the greens with the oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the greens on 4 individual plates, top with a scoop of the chicken salad and sprinkle with the almonds.

I liked her idea of just laying it on a bed of fresh greens- it made me think, who needs the tortilla, or crescent, or pita or anything else?

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Slow-Cooker Lasagna

I found this one on the Kraft site. (You know how I love the crockpot- this one just called out to me.) I loved the idea. I have to say that I did feel it lacked some flavor- I would definitely add some Italian seasoning, oregano, and basil, plus salt and pepper. I think that would have helped- I'll do that the next time I make it, which I definitely will! Note- don't over cook tit or the noodles get soggy- 4 hours is about right.
Slow-Cooker Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
1 container (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg. (7 oz.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 egg
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

BROWN meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Mix ricotta, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, egg and parsley.

SPOON 1 cup meat sauce into slow cooker; top with layers of half each of the noodles, broken to fit; and cheese mixture. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles, broken to fit; cheese mixture and meat sauce. Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; let stand, covered, 10 min. or until melted.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Better Burger with Green Olives

This is another one by Ellie Krieger. It was terrific!!! I thought it was better then a regular burger! The fresh parsley really makes a differnce! I was surprised at how easy it was to mix together and how well it held together, too- and so much less grease! I just grilled it up on my George Foreman Grill, but you can fried it up in a pan too. This is definitely one I will make again! It was a hit with all of us!

Better Burger with Green Olives
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef (at least 90 percent lean)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives (2 ounces) (I don't care for green olives, so as you can see, I used black. They were delicious.)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • I also added a pinch of salt and hamburger seasoning

Combine the turkey or beef, olives, parsley, cumin, and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated. Shape into 4 burgers.

Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over a medium-high heat or prepare an outdoor grill. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Serving suggestion: Serve on whole-wheat buns, garnished with slices of tomato and lettuce, with ketchup and mustard on the side.

Serving size 1 burger

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Stir Fried Rice

I tried something new with My Ham Fried Rice. I made it in the same way, but this time, I made it more of a stir fry, because Doug doesn't like peas very much. Here is a list of some of the new things I threw in:

Stir Fried Rice
4 grated carrots
green onions
bean sprouts
water chestnuts
1 yellow bell pepper
(I still put some chopped ham in it)

I fried it up the same way, I just had to steam the veggies a little longer.
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Perfectly Pink Smoothie

We came up with this yummy smoothie for our family night treat. We thought it was pretty tasty!

Perfectly Pink Smoothie
1 tray of ice
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup strawberry yogurt
1/2-1 cup milk
2 T sugar

Mix in a blender.

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Sauteed Filet Mignon Recipe

Well, I tried it. I have always wanted to try out filet mignon. It just sounds so fancy, I wanted to see if I could do it. It really was delicious, but I also discovered was that I can't handle pink- my meat has to be cooked through. I really tried, but I had to put it back in the pan twice. I don't like the over done, but no pink. :) Sure had a yummy flavor. I got these on sale, but I think this would be a yummy sauce for any steak. Bacon is just a good idea in general!

Sauteed Filet Mignon Recipe

Prep Time: :5

Cook Time: :10


  • 2 (1-1/4 to 1-1/2-inch thick filet mignon steaks (1 to 1-1/2 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth (Just left it out.)
  • 1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Season the filet mignon steaks generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the rosemary.

In a medium, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Put in the filet mignon steaks and fry them for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare (the internal temperature should be 120 to 130 degrees F.). Remove and cover loosely to keep them warm while you prepare the sauce.

To make the Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce:
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, leaving any meat juices in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and saute the garlic for 15 seconds, stirring. Add the vermouth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Raise the heat to high and reduce the vermouth to a syrup. Pour in the stock, soy sauce and vinegar. Boil until the sauce just reduces to a syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, if you wish. (It adds fat but gives the sauce a velvety texture.) Taste for salt and pepper. Pour over the filet mignon steaks and serve.

Yield: 2 servings
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Oatmeal Pancake Mix

I found this great recipe for pancake mix on My Kitchen Cafe. I have loved having the mix handy in my fridge. All you have to do is take 1 cup of mix and add an egg and a cup of buttermilk. It is great! (I tried both ways too, and I think the buttermilk is definitely the best!)

Oatmeal Pancake Mix
*Makes 10 cups of dry mix

3 1/2 cups rolled (quick) oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixer with a paddle (or by hand). With mixer on slow speed (or gently by hand), drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it stays together, it is just right. If it is still crumbly, add another tablespoon of oil at a time until the consistency is correct (I've never had to add additional oil). Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make the pancakes: whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup buttermilk (a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk will also work), and 1 egg. The mixture may seem thin at first but the oats will soak up the milk as it stands while the griddle preheats. Heat a griddle and drop the batter onto it. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface and don't break, turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side. As a side-note, buttermilk can be frozen indefinitely for future batches of pancakes, so it's worth keeping it around!

*1 cup of mix will make about 6-7 4-inch pancakes.

Recipe Source: Adapted from King Arthur Flour The Baker's Companion
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chunky Guacamole

I watched a video clip of Ellie Krieger making this, and I just had to try it because it looked so fresh and good. I wasn't disappointed! It had a yummy taste- I really like onions, so it was fun to use them in a way that made the avocados go a little further (they can be a bit pricey!), but fresh onions can be pretty strong. My avocados were super ripe, so I ended up just mashing them, instead of dicing like she says to do. It was a really yummy snack though. I like watching her, she just inspires me to eat a little better and make things fresh. I'm trying! :)

Chunky Guacamole Ellie Krieger
2 firm-ripe avocados, diced (1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt (to taste)

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss gently to combine.
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Corn Bread Chicken Casserole

I tried a new casserole I found in 101 things to do with a casserole. I thought it turned out pretty good, but the creamed corn is pretty strong, and we thought maybe we would half it next time so it doesn't totally dominate the flavor, unless of course you are a huge creamed corn fan. :)

Corn Bread Chicken Casserole
4 cups uncooked egg noodle (be so proud, I used whole wheat! :)
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cans (10.75 oz each) cream of celery soup
1 can (15 oz.) cream style corn
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 package corn bread mix (8x8-inch pan size)

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil noodles 5-7 minutes, or until cooked. Drain and mix with chicken, soup, corn, and cheese. Pour noddle mixture into a greased 9x13 inch pan.

In a bowl, mix cornbread according to package directions. Spoon corn bread batter over noddle mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until bread top is golden brown.
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Triple-Chocolate Brownies

I found this yummy brownie recipe in a Family Circle magazine. It was actually just Double-Chocolate, but I made it have chocolate and half white chocolate. Doug said these were his new favorite brownies. I really liked the cashews in it to give it some crunch!

Triple-Chocolate Brownies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 bag chocolate chips (1 cup)
1/2 bag white chocolate chips (1 cup)

Heat oven to 350. Spray 9x13 baking dish.

In large glass bowl, heat butter and chocolate about 2 minutes and stir until smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Whisk in sugar, eggs, flour, and vanilla. Stir in pecans and half of the chololate chips. Tranfer batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle iwth remaining chips.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes until top is dry to touch. Let cool completely on pan on wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Creamy Vegetable Pasta Skillet

Did you make to much spaghetti and not enough sauce (that happens to me every time- I just can't seem to get the proportions right). Well, if you did, that is just perfect!!!! I came across this delicious recipe last night on the Kraft Food blog. I love that you can just type in a couple of ingredients you have on hand to find a recipe that works. I think that is such a handy feature! I wish I could include it on mine, but alas, I am not so "techno-savvy". But I will include this AMAZING recipe! This was so delicious! I just added some sliced ham to make it a meal and it turned out great- a big hit with everyone, and it took me no time to put together!

Creamy Vegetable Pasta Skillet
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1 zucchini, sliced
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) Cream Cheese
1/2 cup fat-free milk (Ok- I'm terrible, but rather than fat-free, I used heavy cream- perhaps that was why it was so good.)
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves (I just used dried oregano and basil)
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper
7 oz. spaghetti, cooked, drained
About 1 cup sliced ham

COOK and stir vegetables in hot oil in large skillet on medium heat until crisp-tender.

ADD reduced-fat cream cheese, milk, Parmesan and seasonings; mix well. Cook on low heat until reduced-fat cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently.

DRAIN hot spaghetti; place in large bowl. Add sauce; toss to coat.

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Chicken Enchilada Bake

I'll stand by Doug's favorite enchiladas, but I really liked the difference that the corn tortillas made in this one.

Chicken Enchilada Bake
4-1/2 cups cubed cooked rotisserie chicken
1 can green enchilada sauce
1-1/4 cups (10 oz.) sour cream
9 corn tortillas (6 in.) cut into 1-1/2 in pieces
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a greased 13x9 inch baking dish, layer half the chicken, enchilada sauce, sour cream, totillas, and cheese. Repeat layers. Cover and bake 375 for 40 minutes. Uncovered;bake 10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches

This was "The Ultimate Doug Sandwich" for sure! We both love sauteed mushrooms and onions, so this was a hit.

Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches - "The Ultimate Doug Sandwich"
1 loaf (10 oz.) frozen garlic bread
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
2/3 cup sliced onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 tbs. butter
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. shaved deli roast beef
6 or more sliced Colby cheese

Bake garlic bread according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic in butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.

Layer each half of garlic bread with roast beef, mushroom mixture, and cheese. Return to oven; bake 1-2 minutes longer or until cheese in melted. Slice and serve immediately. (I made the mistake of putting everything on one with a lid like the picture and it was good, but pretty messy and hard to bite into. I think you could make it go further using both top and bottom.) Yield: 6 servings
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting

We made a pumpkin cake for Autumn's birthday party. I just used a bunt cake pan and a regular white or yellow cake mix. I dyed the cake orange for fun, and made a big batch of cream cheese frosting. I separated about 1/2 cup for the green stems, and colored the rest orange. I just used an ice-cream cone for the green stems.) It was easy to make and it made for a fun "Autumn" theme. :)

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened'
1/2 cube butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together until all the powdered sugar in smooth.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Old Fashioned Applesauce Spice Cake

I discovered a fun new site with good recipes for cakes and cookies and such: That was were I found this yummy recipe for a spice cake. I thought they have some fun ideas on there. I plan to make that pumpkin for my daughters birthday party.

Old Fashioned Applesauce Spice Cake
  • 1 pkg Spice Cake Mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 container Creamy Home-Style Classic Vanilla Frosting
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Grease and flour 13x9-inch pan.
  2. Combine cake mix, eggs, applesauce and oil in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in nuts. Pour into bake pan.
  3. Bake at 350 ºF for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling rack. Turn right-side up. Cool completely.
  4. For frosting, combine frosting and cinnamon;. Stir until blended. Spread over cooled cake.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cheese-Topped Lemon Montreal Chicken

This made some delicious chicken dish! I found this in Simple and Delicious, and I added the Montreal seasoning and it really added to it, but its ok if you don't have it. The Italian zucchini skillet made a great side dish too.

Cheese-Topped Lemon Montreal Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-2 tsp Grillmates Montreal chicken seasoning (I added this, and you don't have to use it, but it sure gave it a good flavor!)
3 T butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T soy sauce
3/4 cup shredded Colby Cheese

Sprinkle chicken with seasonings. In a large skillet, brown chicken in butter on both sides over medium heat. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or until meat juices run clear.

Remove from heat. Sprinkle each chicken breast with cheese. Cover and let stand for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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Teriyaki and Ginger Pork Tenderloins

This was actually a "grill-meal" but I turned it into a crockpot. Feel free to grill it though, just marinate the pork in the sauce and grill.

Teriyaki and Ginger Pork Tenderloins
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
4 tsp brown sugar
2 pork tenderloins (or other cut)
2 tsp. minced fresh gingerroot
3/4 tsp. pepper

In a small bowl, whisk the teriyaki sauce, oil, brown sugar, and ginger. Place pork in crockpot and sprinkle with pepper. Pour sauce over top and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
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German Noodle Pudding

I forgot to take a picture of this (I found this one online). We started up our cooking group this last month, and the theme was Pasta and/or Cheese, and I thought we would probably get a lot of main dishes, so I decided on a dessert. This was really interesting! I found it in a pasta cook book, and I thought it was fun. I don't know if it is one that I'll make often- just not quite up there with "brownies" or "pie," but I did think it was pretty tasty and it fit the theme well! :)

German Noodle Pudding
- serves 4

4 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
6 ounces ribbon egg noodles
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3/8 cup dry white breadcrumbs
sugar, for dusting

Grease an ovenproof dish with butter. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add the noodles and cook until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
Beat together the cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time. Stir in the sour cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and lemon rind, and fold in the noodles. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and smooth the surface.

Melt the butter in a skillet, add the almonds and fry, stirring for about 1 1/2 minutes, until lightly colored. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir the breadcrumbs into the almonds.
Sprinkle the almond and breadcrumb mixture over the pudding and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 40 minutes, until just set. Dust with a little confectioners sugar and serve immediately.

Variation: Although not authentic, you could add 3 tbsp raisins with the lemon rind, if desired.