Monday, October 31, 2011

Iced Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Happy Halloween! I wish you could come over to our house for some of my "Prize Winning Chili" and homemade donuts and rootbeer! But these yummy little cookies might make you feel better if you have other plans. :) They are good with or without the frosting. Happy Halloween!

Iced Cinnamon Chip Cookies (Taste of Home)

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (10 ounces) cinnamon baking chips (I actually used butterscotch chips and it was yummy.)

  • ICING:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in cinnamon chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients; beat on high speed for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy. Spread over cooled cookies. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 158 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 23 mg cholesterol, 148 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicken and Cheese Noodle Bake

I have WISHED for a mini-freezer for years, and this last Christmas, I was finally "good enough" to get one from Santa... although it came a bit late- as in, by my birthday a few month later--Santa got some serious millage off of this one. BUT that is ok with me, because I have a cute little freezer! It is pretty small, but it works perfectly for out little family, and I have really enjoyed finding freezer meals that give me a break every now and then on a busy night. I think my favorite is still the mini-cheddar loaves just because you can heat them up so fast in the microwave, but this noodle bake made a nice big batch! I was able to freeze 2 medium round and 1 large aluminum casserole pans, in addition to the large casserole dish we enjoyed for dinner that night. (I think I doubled and already "double-batch". :) It was a lot, but so nice for a busy night or if I ever need to take a meal to someone. (Plus, relatively inexpensive--always a bonus. :)

Chicken and Cheese Noodle Bake (Simple and Delicious, Taste of Home)

  • 1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti, broken
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk

  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken (I did it crockpot style and put it in that morning.)
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken and mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, saute the onions and green and red peppers in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the chicken, soups, sour cream, celery salt and pepper.

    Drain spaghetti; add to sauce mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly.
  • To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup equals 509 calories, 24 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 102 mg cholesterol, 691 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 29 g protein.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apple Pie Crumble Bars

I kind of did my own twist on this, and I was happy with the results. I have a yummy Taste of Home cookies recipe book, and I came across "Chocolate-Drizzled Cherry Bars" but for lack of cherry pie filling, we turned it into a fun harvest dessert and I used the pie filling that I put up last year. It was pretty delicious--a lot like a pie--and I liked the crumbles on top!

Apple Pie Crumble Bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 jar/can of apple pie filling
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar and butter until crumbly. Set aside 1-1/2 cups for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
  • Carefully spread pie filling over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until edges and topping are lightly browned.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: 3 dozen.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

This is just to say... (Plum Syrup)

This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I have always loved that poem. (My brothers even wrote a song about it.) So simple, and yet, I can just almost taste those delicious plums as I read it. Well- that was what I was thinking about as I made my delicious plums into plum syrup. I had a friend share two bags that were fast ripening. I didn't follow an exact recipe, but it was pretty simple and has been absolutely delightful on pancakes (heated up with just a little cornstarch). I've also used it occasionally to flavor smoothies- a little bit goes a long way.

You can find more specific instructions here, but here is the gist of what I did:

Homemade Plum Syrup
1. Rinse the plums and cut off any bad parts.
2. Have jars and lids sanitized and ready.
3. Put plums in a large pot at turn on medium heat.
4. I think I added about 3-4 cups of sugar my large pot.
5. Bring to a boil and stir frequently.
6. I used my immersion blender to blend it all up- peels and all, but you can blend it before heating in a regular blender.
7. There were still some peels that I strained out after heating.
8. Pour in jars, screw on lids, and water-bath (with water boiling) for about 15 minutes.
9. Pull jars out and let them fully seal and cool. (Listen for the pop, and clap when you hear it- that is literally what we do. :)
Now you have yummy plum syrup you can enjoy all year!!!
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Puffed French Toast

What I just made for breakfast should probably be considered illegal for two reasons. ONE: The process involves DEEP FRYING WHITE BREAD, and TWO: Because it is SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS! I don't know what possessed me. This was purely an act of rebellion, because my dear mother would NEVER approve. I don't even remember seeing a loaf of white french bread or wonder bread in our home growing up. SHAME ON ME... and yet... Mmmmm. Just for "special occasions" mind you. (Although I'm not sure what that was for us this morning beyond the out of this world breakfast item.)
Puffed French Toast (Our Best Bites)
print recipe text only

2 eggs
2 ½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
12 slices Texas style toast, cut in half diagonally

In a large skillet or frying pan, heat about 1/4″ of vegetable oil (not olive oil) over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, flour, and baking powder. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the frying pan. If it pops, reduce the heat. If hardly anything happens, turn up the heat. If it sizzles, it’s just right.

Working quickly, take each 1/2 slice of bread and soak it both sides in the milk/egg/flour mixture. If you leave it in too long, it will get soggy, but you want to make sure enough of the egg mixture has soaked into the bread. Gently shake to remove excess batter and place in hot oil. Cook until puffed, golden brown, and a nice, crispy crust has formed on each side (probably 3-5 minutes per side; you really need to babysit them and make sure they’re cooking correctly) and then remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. While cooking remaining French toast, keep cooked pieces warm in an oven set to the lowest temperature it will go.

When ready to serve, roll each piece in cinnamon sugar.

If you’re feeling extra naughty, go ahead and drizzle a little maple syrup, buttermilk syrup, strawberry syrup or scoop some honey butter on there. You can email me later and tell me how bad you feel about yourself, but I guarantee that it’ll be worth it!

Golden and crispy on the outside with a sugary crunch, and heavenly soft in the middle.Slice the bread into strips for great french toast dippers. Kiddos love these- or talk about killer party food! You could pile them high on a platter and then serve next to ramekins filled with different dipping sauces. Ie: Maple syrup, Buttermilk Syrup, Strawberry Sauce, etc. (As you can see, all these babies needed for me were some cut up strawberries.)

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Friday, October 7, 2011

"TLC" Teacher Gift Idea

So, I'm feeling like Kashi should be paying me for advertising. :) I came across their "TLC" line and had a great idea for a little teacher gift for my daughter's teacher this year. I thought the cookies, crackers and granola bars would make good snacks for her. Then I found a metal waste basket at the dollar store to put them in. I also found a cute jar that was perfect for my "Happy Pill" idea. I think this would make a fun gift for a friend or anyone who is needing a little happiness and some tender loving care. :)

TLC Gift Basket:

Kashi "TLC" cookies, granola bars, and crackers
metal waste basket
tissue paper
personalized note and a cute ribbon to attach
Happy Pills
Lemon Heads
Cute Jar
Prescription Info Paper (*See picture)
Packing Tape
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fresh Mexican Corn Soup

After seeing all that corn I froze, I felt like I needed to feature it in a dish, and this is the yummy recipe that I found. This was a fun soup, and a great way to use up some of my frozen corn. I thought it had a good flavor. I actually came across it first by watching her video- that is always my favorite, because they make it look so easy and do-able.

Fresh Mexican Corn Soup
(Ingred Hoffmann, Foodnetwork)
4 ears fresh or 3 cups frozen, thawed corn kernels
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 slices thick cut bacon
1/2 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup queso fresco, fresh farmer's cheese, feta cheese, or sour cream, optional
Tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips, optional

If using fresh corn, scrape kernels from cobs using small sharp knife or spoon. Place half of the corn kernels in blender with tomatoes, 2 cups of broth, and oregano. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon, turning once until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Add onion to bacon fat in saucepan and cook, stirring frequently until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and stir for another minute.
Add tomato-corn puree to saucepan with remaining 2 cups of broth. Bring to a low boil and add remaining whole corn kernels. Simmer over medium-low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and remove any foam as it develops with a large flat metal spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix in half of the parsley and cream, if desired, and heat through.To serve, garnished with crumbled bacon, remaining parsley, crumbled cheese and tortilla chips or strips.
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