Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ground Beef Enchiladas

I usually prefer a Chicken Enchilada, but I was trying to find more uses for ground beef.

The only thing I did differently from her, was that I have a major fear of frying. I'm quite terrified of burning my house down in an oil fire, so I don't fry. I simply steamed my tortillas in the microwave for a couple of seconds and then dipped them in the sauce before filling them.

PW’s Favorite Enchiladas
from Pioneer Woman

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large (28-ounce) can enchilada or red sauce
2 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a past, cooking for 1 minute. Pour in other red sauce, chicken broth, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 4-ounce cans diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.

10 to 14 corn tortillas
½ cup canola oil

Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas oil until soft, not crisp—about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.

Sauce (above)
Meat (above)
Tortillas (above)
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped black olives
1 cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking pan. Spread to even out.
Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubble. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over enchiladas before serving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cake Pops of Joy and Love

These have been widely blogged about, but I finally got around to trying them. I thought they were delicious, but my friend Melinda thought they were too sweet. Too sweet? Is there such a thing?

You really need to check out this stream on Flickr to see all of Bakerella's incarnations of these. She's amazing.

Cake Pops

from Bakerella

1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake) - I used a Red Velvet cake.
1 can frosting (16 oz.)- I used cream cheese frosting.
Wax paper
candy melts in assorted colors (1 lb. pkg.)
Lollipop sticks - You definitely want the shorter skinnier sticks.
Any other sprinkles, etc you want to decorate with.

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon)Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50).
4. Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.)
5. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)
6. Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up.
7. Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don't tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.
8. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

I made some of my cake pops square, instead of round, for fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Butter

This was absolutely fantastic on toast. I had it every morning for breakfast and a few times in between for a snack because it was so yummy.Pumpkin Butter

From: The Pioneer Woman

1 cup plain yogurt (vanilla works too)
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used pumpkin that I had cooked and pureed and the texture was awesome)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup powdered sugar, heaping

In a small bowl add together all ingredients. Add more pie spice if desired. Serve over hot buttered toast.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet & Spicy Chicken for Tacos

These were so amazingly delicious. My children each had two. And begged for more. Next time I make them, I'm definitely doubling the recipe and freezing what is leftover, if any.

And in lieu of a picture of the food, you get a lovely picture of my stuffing my face with the food. Lucky you!

Sweet and Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken
from Prudence Pennywise

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used 1/4 teaspoon)

Coat the inside of your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Chicken will absorb liquid after it is shredded.) Serve in tacos or however your little heart desires.

Personally, I like olives, green onions, lettuce, cheese, and lots of sour cream.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

From: Dozen Flours

4 cups flour
2 Tbs. cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup shortening, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs. mild flavored molasses
2 Tbs. real maple syrup
1/2 cup full fat sour cream, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature, slightly beaten
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups solid packed pumpkin

1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup water, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract (can use clear if you want the filling to be super white)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 8 0z. pkg. cream cheese, softened and cut into several pieces
1/2 cup light corn syrup

In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, combine butter, shortening, brown sugar, molasses and maple syrup. On medium speed, beat until well blended and lightened, about 2 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least one time. Reduce the mixer speed slightly and add the sour cream, egg and vanilla, beating until very light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer.

Beat in about half of the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times so release the little pockets of dry ingredients. Beat in the pumpkin just until it's smoothly incorporated. The batter will be very thick. Take your time to beat or stir in the remaining flour mixture, looking for flour pockets. Mix until smoothly incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Refrigerate dough for 20-30 minutes, or until slightly firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease large baking sheets with Pam. Scoop about 1/4 cup of dough onto your cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 4" apart. Spray a 3" round cookie cutter with pam and place it over the cookie dough. (I thought that this made way too big of cookies. They were just a little bit smaller than my entire hand! So, I started using about a 1 1/2" cookie cutter and less dough and it was perfect.) With one hand firmly hold the cookie cutter in place while you use your other hand to gently spread the dough out to meet the sides of the cookie cutter. Gently twist and lift the cookie cutter up and away. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until tinged with brown al over and just firm when lightly pressing the center. Transfer the sheets to wire racks and let them cook for at least 2 minutes to firm up slightly. Using a spatula, transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.

In a small measureing cup, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Let stand, stirring once or twice until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

Fit mixer with whisk attachment.

In a heavy 2 qt. saucepan, over medium high heat, stir the white sugar, corn syrup and hot water until well blended. Continue stirring and raise the heat to hight; bring to a full boil. Boil for 30 seconds. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture until it dsolves completely.

VERY cafefully transfer the mixture to your mixer bowl and add the vanill. On medium speed beat for 20 seconds. (I draped a dish towel over my mixer to prevent hot splashes). Gradually raise the speed to higha nd beat until the mixture is stiffened, very white, voluminous and cooled to barely warm. This should take 5-15 minutes. Reduce the spped to low and slowly beat in the powdered sugar.

On medium speed gradualy add the cream cheese, beating just until the mixture is completely smooth. If the filling seems to runny to spread, cover and stick in the fridge until it firms up.

Lay one cookie upside down and spread some of the filling on top. Top with a second cookie, pressing down lightly so that the filling almost squeezes out the sides. This makes a ton, so after giving a bunch away, I wrapped several in wax paper and then stuck them in plastic bags and through them in the freezer. Jason just loves them still frozen, although they can be thawed before being eaten.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Italian Bread Bowls

So, this past week I decided to make the Creamy Broccoli Soup that Jenny raves about. And I just had to have bread bowls. So, I attempted my own. I have to admit that I'm not normally a bread-maker. But I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I'm not sure what I did wrong with these, but they didn't rise as tall as I'd hoped and were therefore not all that great for bread-bowls. But the bread itself was delicious. I think if you're better at making bread than I am, they'd turn out not only tasty, but also functional.

Italian Bread Bowls
adapted from

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups).

When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with half of this egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lemon Herb Chicken Ring

Isn't it pretty?Delish!
Lemon Herb Chicken Ring

From: Delectable Delights: A Second Helping of SAA Favorites

2 cups cooked chicken, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
3 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped, divided
1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan, divided
2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Zest lemon to equal 1 tsp. of zest. Cut lemon into thin slices and set aside for garnishing. In a medium bowl mix lemon zest, red pepper, 2 Tbs. parsley, garlic, mozzarella cheese, mayo, Italian seasoning and all but 2 Tbs. of the Parmesan. Add chicken to mixture.

Unroll crescent dough and separate into triangles. Arrange triangles with wide ends slightly overlapping, in a circle on a large pizza stone with wide ends 4 inches from the edge of the stone and points extending off of the edge of the stone. using a small rolling pin, roll the wide ends of dough toward the center of the stone to create a 5 inch opening in the center. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over dough around the circle. Bring points of the triangles up over the filling and tuck under the dough at the center to form a ring. The filling will show. Sprinking the remaining Parmesan and parsley over the ring.

Bake for 28-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Garnish with fresh squeezed lemon juice from your lemon slices.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cranberry Orange Relish

I'm not really a big fan of the solid tube of cranberry goo. That's an understatement, but I won't go into it.

But I am a HUGE fan of Cranberries. My mom made this recipe last year for Thanksgiving and it will be a permanent fixture in our Thanksgivings from now on.

Cranberry Orange Relish

1 bag whole cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, seeds and core removed (with peel)
1 large seedless Navel Orange (with peel)
1/2 to 3/4 c sugar

In a large food processor (or in batches) add all ingredients and process till finely chopped. Serve chilled.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fusilli alla Caprese

Fusilli alla Caprese

From: My Kitchen Cafe

1 lb. Fusilli pasta
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (1 pint)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
1 1/4 cups fresh mozzarella, diced (I just used shredded because it was what I had)

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta into a large bowl, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style sauce, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add the basil leaves and mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

The cheese was just oozing out of these. And in my book, oozing cheese is always a good thing. This recipe came from a cookbook the Student Advocate Association (SAA) put together. This is the spouse's group that I am a member of.Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

From: Delectable Delights: A Second Helping of SAA Favorites

3 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I subbed in 1/4 cup of plain yogurt)
8 oz. colby jack cheese
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
French bread
2 Tbs. butter

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, shredded cheese and garlic salt. Beat until smooth. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread cheese mixture on a slice of french bread and top with the other slice of french bread. Place sandwiches in the skillet and grill until golden brown on each side and cheeses are melted.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast with Peaches

This was amazing. We occasionally like to have breakfast for dinner and this one was perfect for it.
Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast with Peaches


8 fresh peaches
1/2 cup sugar
4 pinches ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 loaf french bread
1 cup mascarpone cheese
6 Tbs. powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested
6 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. butter, or as needed
2 tsp. vegetable oil, or as needed

Peel peaches and slice into a heavy saucepan, catching all of the juices. Stir in sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon; cook over medium heat until bubbly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the sauce reaches a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cut off and discard the ends of the bread. Slice bread into 1 1/4" thick slices. Lay slices flat on your cutting board and slice a pocket in each, leaving 3 of the sides intact.

Stir together the mascarpone, powdered sugar and lemon zest until smooth. Scoop mixture into a small Ziploc bag. Cut off the tip of the pag and pipe as much filling into the pocket of each slice as will fit without overflowing.

Whistk together eggs, milk and vanilla in a shallow bowl. Melt butter with oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Dip each stuffed piece of bread into the batter, add to the skillet and cook until browned on both sides. Serve hot with the warm peach sauce.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This was great for one of those busy days that I just didn't feel like putting in the effort for dinner.Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


1 (4 lb.) pork shoulder
1 (20 oz.) can/bottle root beer
1 (18 oz.) bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (we love Sweet Baby Rays)
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
8 Hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted (I was feeling way too lazy to toast the buns)

Create a spice rub by combine the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Rub the spices on the pork shoulder and place in the slow cooker. Poor the root beer over the meat.

Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6-7 hours. Drain.

Pull pork apart using the tines of two forks.

Stir in BBQ sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Korean Style Chili Pork Loin Wraps

These were amazing. My husband was raving about them.

Korean Style Chili Pork Loin Wraps

From: Foto Cuisine

1 1/2 pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs. Sugar
4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced

Hot Sauce:
2 Tbs. Sriracha hot chili sauce
5 tsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil

Faux Risotto
2-4 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup white rice
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup white wine

1 head romaine lettuce
2 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted

In a medium bowl, combine the green onions, garlic and ginger. Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil; mix well. Slice the pork into strips and put in the marinade. Place in the fridge covered for 1 hour.

While your pork is marinating, make the dipping sauce. I double the dipping sauce ingredients because we always like more sauce. Mix together the Sriracha, honey and sesame oil.

Melt butter in a pot, then add the rice. Let it sizzle a bit until it is transparent around the edges and a solid white core. Add a little salt and then the broth and wine. Cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes. (I had to really play with the liquid amounts. I upped the liquids in the ingredient list above from the original recipe. It was nowhere near enough liquid. I had to check on my rice while it was simmering to adjust the liquid a little bit, but it turned out fantastic)

After the pork is done marinating, heat a skillet to med-high and add in some olive oil until almost smoking, then add the pork after straining off some of the marinade. (I personally like to leave a good bit of liquid in the pan when I'm cooking the pork because it helps to really keep the yummy flavors). Cook pork until done and liquid has reduced to bubbles.

Spoon some of the risotto mixture onto a leaf of lettuce and top with pork and hot sauce. Fold the leaves up like a taco and enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter

These were absolutely heavenly. I didn't make the berry butter with the scones simply because I didn't read carefully before I went to the store. I picked up whole cranberries instead of dried. So I just made your typical powdered sugar glaze.

Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter

From: Taste of Homes

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup milk

Berry Butter:
2 Tbs. dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 Tbs. powdered sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pie spice, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, pumpkin and milk; add to crumb mixture just until moistened.

Turn dough onto a well floured surface, kneed 10 times. Pat into an 8" circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Separate wedges and place on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm w/ berry butter.

Place cranberries in a small bowl; add boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain and chop. In a small mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and cranberries; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beefy Polenta Casserole

I love this dish. I can't remember where I got the recipe from ages ago, but it is a winner. The polenta crust doesn't look so fabulous in this picture because I made it too far ahead of time, but it still tasted great.

Beefy Polenta Casserole

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (you know, the powdered stuff)
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed to drain
1 jar (14 oz.) pasta sauce, any variety
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Grease a 9" pie plate. Mix cornmeal and cold water in a 1 qt. saucepan. Stir in boiling water and salt. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan until smooth. Spread on the bottom and sides of your greased pie plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until completely firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put covered pie plate in the oven for 30 minutes. Cook beef in skillet until browned; drain. Stir in spinach, pasta sauce, marjoram and garlic salt. Pour into shell. Cover and bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake uncovered for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. (umm... yeah, we never wait to cut ours, maybe that is why is doesn't look so pretty.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creamy Broccoli Soup

That's right folks, it is bread bowl season! This is another one of my mom's recipes. My memory of this dish is interesting. Whenever I think of this soup I remember that it seemed like in high school I was always running to a choir practice or youth activity or track practice, etc. So I remember many times running out the door in the evening and my mom would hand me some of this soup in a big cup and I would "drink" it on my way to wherever I was going. Silly, but that is was I remember. Now, I just love this soup. It is definitely one of those that will warm you on a brisk day.
<span class=

Creamy Broccoli Soup

From: Mom Solter

1 1/2 lbs. broccoli
2 cups water
1 lg. stalk celery, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbs. margarine
2 Tbs. flour
4 1/2 cups water, divided
1 Tbs. chicken bouillon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup whipping cream, 1/2 & 1/2 or whole milk (I always use heavy cream as the thicker the creamier your soup will be.)

Prepare broccoli, cut florets into bite-sized pieces. Cut the stalks into chunks. Cook the stalks with the celery and onion. Heat 2 cups water to boiling in a 3 quart saucepan. Add stalks, celery and onion. Cover and heat to boiling. Boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Do NOT drain. Place in blender. Cover and blend until uniform consistency.

Heat margarine in a 3 qt saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 1/2 cups water. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in broccoli/celery mixture, bouillon, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Heat just to boiling. Stir in cream, heat until hot but not boiling. Add broccoli florets. Serve topped with shredded cheese if desired.