Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Here's the Dinner in a Pumpkin recipe our family likes. We've been making this since we got married. It makes for a fun October tradition! (sorry I don't have a picture of the inside...)1 small to medium pumpkin. Cut off top and clean out.

Lightly brown 1 lb. of ground beef

½ c. chopped celery
½ c. chopped onion
¼ c. diced green onion
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper

Cover and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender.

2 c. cooked rice
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
½ c. chopped or sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2-4 tbsp. soy sauce

Put mixture in pumpkin, replace lid, place on baking sheet in oven at 400 degrees. Bake until pumpkin is tender (about 1- 1 ½ hours). Scoop out to serve, scraping sides of pumpkin to get the cooked pumpkin in the mixture. Mmmmm!

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Whole Wheat Bread

I've been making my own bread for awhile now. I've tried a ton of recipes and this is my favorite whole wheat one. There's nothing like the smell of baking bread!!

Whole Wheat Bread

1 cup hot water

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

2 TB. dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 TB. honey or sugar

3 cups warm water

4 tsp. salt

6 cups white flour

6 cups whole wheat flour, approx.

1 cup cracked wheat (optional)

In large mixing bowl combine 1 cup hot water, molasses, and sugar; stir and let stand.

In small bowl combine yeast, 1 cup warm water, and honey; stir and let stand.

Add 3 cups warm water, salt, white flour, and yeast mixture to the first mixture and beat well. Stir in wheat flour and cracked wheat, then knead {by hand or with stand mixer with dough hook}.

Cover. Let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour). Punch down. Shape into loaves, place in greased bread pans and let rise until double.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Makes 4 loaves

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Homemade Graham Crackers

I tried these today & they were a hit. Super simple to make & the kids really liked them! I think I'll be making these instead of buying from now on.

Homemade Graham Crackers
1/8 cup dry milk (or 1/4 cup evaporated milk)
1/4 cup water
1 TB. lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used light brown)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups whole wheat flour

1. Mix together dry milk, water, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, honey, oil, vanilla and egg and beat well.

2. Add in salt, baking soda, and flour and beat until well combined. Divide into 2 equal parts. Place each on a greased and floured cookie sheet and roll to about 1/8" thick. Prick all over with a fork.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for bout 15 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven and cut in squares immediately.

*I used the bottom of my cookie sheets because mine are not flat. Make sure you grease and flour them well so the graham crackers don't stick. Cut and REMOVE them immediately- they harden quickly & are difficult to get off without breaking if you wait too long. Also, I added a few TB. of ground flax seed to mine. I've been adding it to pretty much everything I make lately since I found a huge thing of it at Costco! What the kids {and the husband} don't know won't hurt them, right? In this case, it's good for them!!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

Another yummy pumpkin recipe! I can't get enough!!

Pumpkin Muffins
from Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup moist, plump golden raisins (I used regular raisins)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
About 1/3 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds, for topping (I used walnuts)

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds on a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both the sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after the eggs are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla. Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. To avoid overmixing, you can stop the machine early and stir any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula. Stir in the raisins and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle a few sunflower seeds over the top of each muffin.
3. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove each one from its mold and finish cooling on the rack.

*Dorie suggests a little butter and a lot of orange marmalade or apricot jam, but they're super just plain, too.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ghostly Shepherd's Pie

Ghostly Shepherd's Pie
1 lb ground beef
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 bag (12 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
2 C. diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 jar (12 oz) beef gravy
1 3/4 C. water
2 Tbsp. butter/margarine
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. milk
2 1/4 C. Potato Buds mashed potatoes (dry) or any other dried potatoes
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Add beef and onion; cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.
2. Set 12 peas (from frozen vegetables) aside for garnish. Add remaining frozen vegetables, tomatoes and gravy to beef mixture. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
3. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat water, butter and garlic powder to boiling. Remove from heat; add milk. Stir in dry potatoes and cheese. Add egg; blend well.
4. Spoon beef mixture into ungreased 2 - 2 1/2 quart baking dish. With large spoon, make 6 mounds of potato mixture on top of beef mixture to resemble ghosts. Place 2 reserved peas on each mound to resemble eyes.5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are set and mixture is thoroughly heated.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Perfect Fall Cookie

I noticed cinnamon chips at the store the other day {how have I missed their goodness for so long?!} and went looking for a recipe to use them. I found this one on Picky Palate & it's super good!! Tastes just like fall.

Chocolate and Cinnamon Chip Crunchy Granola Crispers
2 sticks softened butter
¾ Cup brown sugar
¾ Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ Cup whole wheat flour
1 Cup all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 oz package Oats and Honey Crispy Granola Bars, crushed with rolling pin
1 Cup chocolate chips
1 Cup cinnamon chips (or other chips of choice if cinnamon is not available)

1. In a stand or electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined, scraping edges of bowl. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, soda and crushed granola bars. Slowly add to wet ingredients then add chips only until just combined. ***CHILL dough for at least 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes.***
2. Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a medium cookie scoop, arrange onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are just barely golden around edges. Remove and let sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

About 36 Cookies

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's A Chili {and chilly} Day

It's snowing here! Unbelievable!! Good day to make some chili.


1-2 cups dry red beans, rinsed

1 small onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. salt

dash of pepper

1 quart tomato juice

1 (10 1/4 oz) can tomato soup

1/2 cup catsup

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. cumin

1-2 tsp. chili powder

1 bay leaf

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

Soak beans in several inches of water overnight in a large soup pot. The next morning, add more water to cover beans. Add onion, cover and simmer for 3 hours (check water level periodically to make sure there's enough). Add salt, pepper, tomato juice, tomato soup, catsup, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, bay leaf and ground beef. Simmer 1 hour.

Serves 6-8

*perfect for a cold day, and also a good way to use your food storage beans!!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Extra Produce?

If you planted a garden you most likely have some zucchini and tomatoes ready to be used. If not you can buy some because this soup is super good!

Zucchini Cheese Soup

2 medium zucchini
1 medium onion
2 T. fresh parsley or ½ T. dried
1 t. dried basil
1/3 C. butter
1/3 C. flour
1 t. salt
¼ t. pepper
3 C. water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 t. lemon juice
1 can diced tomatoes or 2-3 fresh
1 can evaporated milk
¼ C. grated parmesan cheese
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Sauté zucchini, onion, parsley & basil in butter until tender.
Stir in flour, salt & pepper. Gradually stir in water. Add bouillon & lemon juice; mix well. Bring to a boil, cook & stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cheese just before serving. Continue stirring until cheese is melted.

(I did not peel my zucchini. It was more colorful with the skin and still tasted great. However, you may have more luck convincing your kids to eat it if it does not have the skin on.)

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You have to try .....

One box Pillsbury "pudding in the mix" yellow cake mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup Rice Krispies
Blend all ingredients together. Dough will be crumbly. Form into tight 1-inch balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes. Give them a try, you won't regret it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Apple Dippers

We were just in Pittsburgh, PA and the home grown apples were for sale everywhere. Everyone loves to dip and here is something a little different and extra yummy!

Cream Cheese & Toffee Fruit Dip

2 (8oz.) cream cheese
1-2 t. vanilla
½ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag toffee chips

Soften cream cheese, stir in other ingredients. It is fun in the Fall to serve with apples. It is also good with bananas and grapes too.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soup's On!

Fall is in the air and I am getting very excited to cook lots of soup! I have been pulling together all the recipes that I have found over the last year to share with all of you.

Pumpkin Soup

8 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1 can (32 ounces/907 g) packed pumpkin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the bacon in a heavy pot. Remove from heat, crumble, and set aside. In the same pot, mix the oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 15 minutes. Stir in water, bouillon, pumpkin, sugar, thyme, and crumbled bacon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.

2. Pour the soup in batches into a blender and puree. Return to the pot. Mix in the milk, nutmeg, and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with cheddar and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 4.

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Buttermilk Cookies

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. For the frosting, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, milk or buttermilk and vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth (you may have to add more milk to get it to the right consistency). Frost the cookies when cooled.

* I found this recipe on Mommy's Kitchen. They were a huge hit with the fam. I ate WAY too many!!

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Amazing Chicken Tacos!

Black Pepper and Ginger Chicken Taco with Red Curry-Peanut Sauce and Peanut Relish
(courtesy of Bobby Flay and Food Network)

Chicken marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts

Red Curry-Peanut Sauce:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Peanut Relish:
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chopped pistachios (I didn't use these)
Salt and pepper (or these)

8 blue corn tortillas, (6-inches each)
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Cilantro, for garnish

For Chicken Marinade:
Whisk together soy sauce, oil, ginger, garlic and black pepper in a medium shallow baking dish. Add the chicken breast and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Heat a large grill pan over high heat until smoking. Remove chicken from marinade and season with salt to taste. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes, slice each breast on the bias into 6 slices.

For the Red Curry Peanut Sauce:
Heat peanut oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the curry taste and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the soy sauce, coconut milk and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the peanut butter and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Peanut Relish:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

To Assemble:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay tortillas out on a flat surface. Divide both of the cheeses among the tortillas. Top the cheese with 3 slices of the chicken, some of the red onion and ilantro. Fold the tortillas over to form a half moon and brush the tops with peanut oil. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese melts. Serve 2 on a plate, drizzle with the red curry-peanut sauce and sprinkle with peanut relish and cilantro.

*These were devoured in minutes!! The kids preferred hard shell tacos and no sauce, but us adults were in love! I liked the sauce so much that I used more on the side for dipping.

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