Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Party Menu

Last weekend, we hosted a Christmas Party for our friends. The menu was basically appetizers, chili, and cookies. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and had to scratch a few things off the menu and take a couple of short cuts but overall the food turned out ok. Here are some of the highlights.

Carmelized Onion and Brie Bites (Joelen's Culinary Adventures)

1 can of biscuit dough
¼ cup flour
1 cup caramelized onion
½ cup brie, diced
cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan by spraying the inside of each well with cooking spray.

Open can of biscuit dough and separate into individual biscuits. Cut each biscuit in quarters to form dough pieces. Place a dough piece in each well. Gently push the dough piece inside the well to form a cup. Repeat until all wells are filled with a dough piece. Fill each well with brie. Top each well with caramelized onion.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown

Unfortunately, these are best served nice and warm and they do get cold quickly. They are delicious though and very easy to make.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Crostini (Williams Sonoma)

Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing, plus 1/4 cup
1 baguette, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick
Salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste
8 vine-ripened tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lb. total
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs. finely minced red onion
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the baguette slices on the sheet in a single layer. Brush the tops with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and golden, 15 to 18 minutes. If not using immediately, let the crostini cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

Core, seed and dice the tomatoes. In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, half of the basil, the onion, garlic, vinegar, the 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.

Slice the mozzarella into 1/4-inch-thick pieces or into smaller pieces so they fit on the crostini. To assemble, lay a piece of mozzarella on each crostini and spoon 1 to 2 Tbs. of the tomato salad on top. Garnish each with a pinch of the remaining basil.

These turned out well and are very easy to make. You don't need to follow the recipe that closely for it to turn out.

Stuffed Mushrooms (

12 whole fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (8 ounce) package cream
cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon ground black
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding tough end of stems.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet. Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.
3. When garlic and mushroom mixture is no longer hot, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Mixture should be very thick. Using a little spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

These are the best stuffed mushrooms ever. Plus, they are veggie friendly which is rare it seems! I make these all the time for parties.

Pigs in Blanket (

1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
1/2 pound cream cheese
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided use
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 36 small sausages
1 egg

Make the pastry: In electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together thoroughly. Add 1/4 cup cream and whip for 3 minutes. Gradually add flour and salt and work into a firm ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Roll out pastry on a well-floured surface and cut into strips just large enough to wrap sausages around the middle and leave a bit of each end exposed. (For the Aidells sausage, I cut strips about 1 1/4 inches wide and 3 inches long.) Roll each sausage in a strip and pinch ends together firmly. Place sausages on baking sheets, seam side down and slightly separated to allow dough room to puff up.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg and remaining 3 tablespoons cream together in a small bowl. Brush each sausage roll with the egg mixture and bake until pastry is golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes.

I actually did not like this. They were boring and bland. I would not make them again. Too much effort for the lack of taste.

Lastly, the main course!!!

Vegetarian Chili (

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped
green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles (I skipped this and added zucchini instead)
3 (28 ounce) cans whole
peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans,
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (skipped and added more kidney beans instead)
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel (skipped totally) corn

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

The chili turned out pretty good. I accidently added too much chili powder though and some people thought it was a bit hot. Oops!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Baking

The lack of posts has been due to all my time going to Christmas baking. Everything is finally finished, so now I can post about all the goodies that I made this year.

First up, Chocolate Almond Biscotti.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti (Adapted from

4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (I skipped this)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup almonds (toasted and coarsely chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). To toast almonds: spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. and the skins begin to flake. Remove from oven. Cool and then chop coarsely. Set aside while you prepare the dough.

Reduce temperature of oven to 300 degree F (150 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the coarsely chopped chocolate and brown sugar and process until the chocolate is very fine; set aside.

Sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the eggs and vanilla extract and beat to blend, about 30 seconds. On low speed mix in the chocolate/sugar and flour mixtures until a stiff dough forms, adding the almonds about half way through mixing.

On a floured surface divide the dough in half. Form each half into a log 12 inches (30 cm) long. Do this by rolling the dough back and forth into a cylinder shape with floured hands. Transfer the logs to the baking sheet, spacing them well apart (width-wise on the pan), and pat to even the shapes. Bake until almost firm to the touch, about 35 - 40 minutes (logs will spread during baking). Remove from the oven, place on wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes.

Using a long spatula transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife cut the dough into slices 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick on the diagonal. Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake until crisp and dry, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

CONCLUSION: The biscotti turned out well, but I probably should have cooked them a bit longer to get them a bit more dry.

Next up (my personal favorite), Russian Tea Cakes.

Russian Tea Cakes (from my mom!)

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups finely chopped pecans
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400 . Mix butter and powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix
flour , salt and nuts into dough until it holds together. Spape
dough into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake
for 10 to 12 minutes until set and not brown. Roll in powdered sugar
when warm and then roll in powdered sugar again when cold.

CONCLUSION: The key to good Russian Tea cakes is to not overcook them. Do not let them brown or they will be too dry and fall apart. These turned out fabulous this year!

The third cookie I made was Spritz which s a tradition in my family since my mom is German. These have special meaning to me because my grandma (Oma) passed away 2 years ago on Christmas. I made these in her honor.

Spritz (ala Oma)

1/2 lb butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds. (food processor works great)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
little lemon zest
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon backing powder

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and egg yokes, vanilla and lemon
zest. Sift together flour, baking powder and almonds. Add to
creamed mixure. Roll into a ball on floured board and wrap in
plastic and place in fridge for an hour. Take out and cut chunks off
and put into cookie press and press into desired shapes. Place on
greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on
rack. Check cookies because sometimes they take more time like 20
minutes. This depends on how thick they are.

CONCLUSION: It can be difficult to get them through the cookie press if the dough is not at the right temperature. But on the flip side, you don't want the dough too warm or it wont stick to the sheet when you are pressing. So find a happy compromise.

The fourth cookie I made was Cinnamon Stars. Well.. they aren't star shaped because I realized the star cookie cutter I had wasn't right (long story). You can use any shape though.

Cinnamon Cookies (from my mom)

1/2 lb butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat
well. Shift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Add
to creamed mixture. Chill about and hour for easy handling.
Roll on floured board to 1/8 inch thick and cut into desired shape.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 to 12
minutes. Cool on wired rack.

CONCLUSION: The trick to getting really good Cinnamon cookies it to roll the dough out thin. If you do too thick they will taste very blah. I made mine a bit too thick this year.

The fifth and final cookie was the required Sugar Cookie!

Sugar Cookies (

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

CONCLUSION: These cookies are very easy to make. I use colored sprinkles instead of icing.

Moving on to the candy making, I attempted two different candies this year. This was actually my first year making candy and I learned a lot.

Two Toned Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow cream
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line an 8" X 8" pan with foil. In 2 separate heat-safe medium bowls, place 1 cup peanut butter chips in one and chocolate chips in the other In a heavy 3 quart sauce pan, combine sugar, marshmallow creme, evaporated milk and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 5 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in vanilla.

Working safely, but quickly, stir one-half of the hot mixture into peanut butter chips and the other half into the chocolate chips. Stir the peanut butter mixture until fully melted and quickly pour into prepared pan. Stir the chocolate chips mixture until fully melted and carefully spread over top of peanut butter layer.

Let sit at room temperature until completely cool. Cut into small squares.

CONCLUSION: The thing with fudge is you have to boil the mixture until it reaches a certain temperature or it will be too soft and don't go over that temperature or it will be too hard. My jar or marshmallow cream said 234 degrees I think. So I attempted to get it that hot. My second attempt worked well. Be sure to have a good candy thermometer! I need to get one for next year ;)

Lastly, we have Peppermint Bark.

Layered Peppermint Bark (
17 ounces high quality white chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces peppermint candy canes, crushed
7 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate
5 1/2 tablespoons whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch
water) until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110°F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using
icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long
lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining
crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes. If you let the bark go much longer than this - it will be very hard to cut neatly.

Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. You can also just break into large chunks and enjoy!

CONCLUSION: I actually cheated and melted my chocolate in the micro. You have to be really careful when you do this so that you don't burn the chocolate. Go in 15 sec increments and go slowly. The bark turned out excellent and was very easy to make. Did you know this stuff sells for $35-$40 in the stores???

So that concludes the 2007 Christmas Baking Spree. I hope you enjoyed it as much as me. I am now exhausted!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Sorry no pictures of this pot roast, but it tasted great!

Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast (Adapted from

2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups water
5 1/2 pounds pot roast
1/2 medium onion
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 cup carrots

1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture. Add in veggies.

2. Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

I found that it turned more into a soup because of how thin the liquid was. If this happens to you, just remove the meat and veggies and turn the liquid into a gravy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cajun Seafood Pasta

This cajun seafood pasta was really good and its also somewhat healthy. I had enough for 3 dinners (for 2 people) out of this recipe. The leftovers tasted just as good!

Cajun Seafood Pasta (Adapted from

  • 1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (I added 1 tab more in the last step.. but you can skip that if you want)
  • 1 package whole wheat spaghetti pasta
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 package fresh mushrooms,sliced
  • 2 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 16oz package fat free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 can (15oz?) vegetable broth
  • 1 red pepper, sliced


    1. Combine peeled shrimp, scallops, oil, and Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
    3. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a large frying pan. Cook and stir mushrooms, red pepper, and shallot in butter until tender. Remove from pan. Add shrimp and scallops cook until the shrimp turn pink about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from pan. Add 1 cup wine to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until reduced to 1/2 cup (2 to 3 minutes).
    4. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and cornstarch; mix in vegetable broth. Stir into reduced wine in the frying pan.
    5. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Cook 1 minute more.
    6. Stir in shrimp, mushroom/pepper mixture. Heat through, and season to taste. (I added more cajun seasoning at this point..). Serve over pasta.

  • Friday, November 30, 2007

    Quick Chicken Enchiladas

    I didn't make this from any recipe. I just took some ready made ingredients and put them together to make a delicious meal.

    Quick Chicken Enchiladas (by Tanya)

  • Rotisserie chicken (1/2 of the breast meat is enough.. or whatever you have leftover from another meal)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 red pepper cut into strips
  • 1/2 medium onion cut into strips
  • reduced fat mexican cheese
  • large can of red enchilada sauce
  • low carb flour tortillas (or corn if you want)
  • olive oil

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan. Add onions and saute until soft. Next, add the red pepper and saute until they just are starting to get soft (I like them crunchy). Remove onion and red pepper from heat.

    Drain and rinse the black beans and set aside.

    Now its time to assemble the enchiladas. Take 1 tortilla and add some black beans, chicken, onion, and red pepper. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top. Roll the tortilla. You do not want it to be so full that you can't roll it. Repeat until you have filled a 9x13 pan with enchiladas (I had 6).

    If you have leftoever filling, just put it on top of the enchiladas (except the cheese!). Cover enchiladas with the red sauce. Then top with cheese. Bake until bubbly!
  • Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Out for Vacation

    This blog has been a bit slow lately due to cooking many repeat favorites. Unfortunately, I wont be able to start new recipes until after Thanksgiving.

    Happy Thanksgiving All!

    Chicken Tiki Masala

    While not 100% authentic, this recipe will satisfy a curry craving. I doubled the recipe in order to have lots of leftovers which taste even better the next day.

    Chicken Tiki Masala (

    1 cup yogurt
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
    1 teaspon garam masala
    3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

    1 tablespoon butter
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons paprika
    2 teaspoons garam masala
    3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
    1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 tomato, chopped, or 1 can diced tomatoes
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

    Remove chicken and discard marinade. Cook chicken in a saute pan or stir fry.

    Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

    Serve over rice.

    Friday, November 2, 2007

    Acorn Squash with Brown Rice and Turkey Sausage

    This was quite good, but the texture of the squash with the rice can be a bit strange. Chris loved it :)

    Acorn Squash with Brown Rice and Turkey Sausage (Adapted from Culinary in the Desert)

    2 acorn squash, each cut crosswise in half and seeded
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 chopped red bell pepper
    1 garlic clove, minced
    salt and cayenne pepper to taste
    2 cups cooked brown rice

    Spray a large microwave-safe plate with nonstick spray - place squash halves, cut side down, on the plate. Place in the microwave and cook on high until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let sit until cool enough to work with.

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, stirring to break up the sausage, until browned. Remove the sausage and place in a large bowl. In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium and add the onions, red bell pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until tender and lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the mixture to the bowl with the sausage.

    Scoop out squash, leaving a 1/4" thick shell. Add the squash to the bowl with sausage mixture - add the rice and parsley, mixing until well combined. Evenly divide the sausage mixture between the squash shells. Serve warm!

    Makes 4 servings (maybe a bit more!)

    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Columbia Winery - 2006 Riesling

    This Riesling is really wonderful. I usually don't like Riesling because they are way too sweet, but this was a perfect balance of flavors.

    Bloodshot Eyeball Cupcakes

    I made Halloween cupcakes for my coworkers and attempted to make them look like bloodshot eyeballs. They didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped, but they tasted good!

    Pumpkin Pie

    I made this pumpkin pie for our pumpkin carving party and it was really good! The flavor is wonderful. I found that it needed a bit longer to bake because it was still soft in the middle (not set). So, depending upon your pie pan size, you may need to lengthen the cooking time.

    Pumpkin Pie (Food Network)

    Pie Dough:
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
    2 egg yolks
    3 tablespoons milk
    1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2/3 cup heavy cream
    7 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
    6 1/2 tablespoons evaporated milk
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    Pinch ground clove
    Pinch salt
    2 eggs
    1 egg yolk

    Equipment: 9-inch pie pan

    Make the Pie Dough: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix to combine. Add the butter and continue mixing until the mixture holds together when you clump it, and there are pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible.
    Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and milk in small bowl.

    Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap well and store in the refrigerator for several hours. (The dough will keep for several days in the fridge and several weeks in the freezer.)

    On a lightly floured work surface, roll half of the dough into a 11 to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Line the pan with the dough and crimp the edges. Chill the pie shell for about 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans. Bake the shell until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and beans.

    Meanwhile, make the Filling: Lower the oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, mix together the pumpkin and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, milks, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, eggs, and yolk. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake until set, about 45 to 55 minutes. Cool and serve

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Slow Cooker BBQ Pork

    This was excellent! Serve on a bun and with a side salad.

    Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (

    "Using root beer to season slow cooked pork tenderloin makes a novel, yet tasty preparation method guaranteed to win applause."

    1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin ( I used a 4 lb)
    1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle (used 2 cans)
    root beer
    1 (18 ounce) bottle your (used 2.. or maybe less. I just did it by taste)
    favorite barbecue sauce
    8 hamburger buns, split and
    lightly toasted

    1. Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. (mine was on low for 8 hours) Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Apple Crisp

    I had some HUGE apples to use up, so I made this. I halfed the recipe and other changes noted below.

    Apple Crisp II (
    This large 9x13-inch crisp is made hearty with cooking oats mixed into its sweet crumbly topping. Underneath are all the lovely things that compliment apples -cinnamon, brown sugar and butter. Serve warm with rum raisin ice cream or a big dollop of freshly whipped cream."
    10 cups thinly sliced apples
    1 cup white sugar ( I used brown sugar)
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup water

    1 cup quick-cooking oats
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C).
    2. Place the sliced apples in a 9x13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
    3. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
    4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes.

    Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Garlic and Herbed Goat Cheese

    This chicken turned out really well and was delicious. I served it with a potato, onion, and mushroom mixture, but it would go well with anything.

    Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Garlic and Herbed Goat Cheese (Cooking Light Oct 2007)

    Roasting the garlic mellows its bite and gives the stuffing a subtle hint of flavor. Stuff the chicken breasts up to a day ahead, refrigerate, and cook them just before guests arrive. Garnish each plate with a rosemary sprig.

    1 whole garlic head
    1/3 cup (3 ounces) goat cheese with herbs, softened (I used feta with chopped sage)
    6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I used cayenne pepper and added garlic powder to season)
    2 teaspoons olive oil

    Preheat oven to 350°.
    Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap head in foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins. Combine garlic pulp and cheese, stirring well; set aside.

    Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 4 teaspoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.

    Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn chicken over. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°; let stand 5 minutes.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed chicken breast half)

    CALORIES 238 (31% from fat); FAT 8.1g (sat 3.3g,mono 2.9g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 37.3g; CHOLESTEROL 101mg; CALCIUM 46mg; SODIUM 292mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 1.9g

    Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Pumpkin Muffins

    I made these pumpkin muffins. They were good, but not the best I have ever had. However, the ingrediants are ones that you will most likely have on hand.

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (Allrecipes)
    Submitted by: Donna
    Rated: 5 out of 5 by 232 members Yields: 12 servings
    "These muffins use canned pumpkin, spices and chocolate chips. They can be made any time of year, but are especially good during Autumn."
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup canned pumpkin
    1/4 cup water
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
    2. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
    3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

    Crab Rangoon

    I love crab rangoon! This is so simple to make and its delicious. Be sure to seal the wontons well and push out all the air pockets.

    1 pkg Wonton Wrappers (Adapted from Our Sweet Life Blog)
    1 can crab meat
    1 8oz package of cream cheese softened
    4-5 chopped up green onion
    cayenne pepper to taste.
    1 egg white (for sealing wontons)

    Mix Crab, cream cheese, green onion and chili paste until well combined. Cover your work area with wax paper to reduce stickiness. Lay several wonton wrappers out on the wax paper. Spoon about 1 tsp of filling onto each wrapper.

    Cheese Fondue

    Sorry for no picture, but I made this Cheese Fondue for a dinner party last weekend. It was wonderful! I doubled the amount of cheese, and then added wine as needed. I also add a couple dashes of dry mustard.

    Cheese fondue (Gourmet | February 2005)

    Emmental and Gruyère are the most commonly used cheeses in a classic fondue, but Appenzeller, Comté, Beaufort, Tête de Moine, and Hoch Ybrig — all relatively low in moisture — also work fine. Not every fondue recipe calls for cornstarch, but we find it keeps the cheese and wine from separating.
    As an additional treat, when you're almost done eating the fondue, leave a thin coating of cheese on the bottom of the pot. Lower the flame and allow the coating to turn into a brown crust, then break it into pieces and share it with your guests. The crust is considered a delicacy in Switzerland.
    Makes 6 servings.

    1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
    1 1/2 cups dry white wine
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
    1/2 lb Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
    1/2 lb Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)

    Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.
    Stir together cornstarch and kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) in a cup.
    Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame.

    I served it with bread, potatos, and apples. In the future, I would skip the potatos.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Pumpkin and Sage Pasta

    Forgive the crappy photo. Its very hard to take pictures of food and I don't have the setup many bloggers have. So these pictures will have to do. I'm still catching up on recipes that I made last week before I started this blog. Last week I made a Pumpkin and Sage Pasta that a friend of mine recommended. It turned out really good! My only advice is to use a small onion. I used what I considered a medium and it was way too much. Otherwise, enjoy!

    Pumpkin and Sage Pasta, from Rachael Ray's Everyday Magazine

    1 pound penne with lines
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
    1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 cup chicken stock
    1/3 cup heavy cream
    10 leaves sage, cut into thin slivers
    1 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
    1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
    1 bunch chives, chopped
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Heat a medium, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and brown the sausage, breaking it up with the back of a spoon. Transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate, and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook over moderate heat until tender but not brown. Add the wine and return the sausage to the skillet, continue to cook a couple of minutes. Add the chicken stock, heavy cream, sage and pumpkin. Bring up to a bubble and simmer until thick, a couple of minutes. Add the pasta and cheese and season with the nutmeg. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Taste and check seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the pasta garnished with a sprinkle of chives.

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Chipolte Salad and Scones

    Importing from old journal, originally made on 9/7/2006.

    I made this salad from cooking light. It was really good!

    Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

    The creamy dressing mellows the heat from the chiles. Add a spoonful of adobo sauce for a spicier salad. Kidney or pinto beans also taste great in this dish. Total time: 34 minutes.

    1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2/3 cup light sour cream
    1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
    2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
    1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
    1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
    1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained

    To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

    To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 1/2 cups)

    CALORIES 249(30% from fat); FAT 8.2g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 23.3g; CHOLESTEROL 50mg; CALCIUM 106mg; SODIUM 650mg; FIBER 7g; IRON 2.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.1g
    Cooking Light, AUGUST 2006

    I also made a batch of scones from a recipe I found on a blog I read.

    Saturday Morning Scones
    Adapted from Baking with Julia, written by Dorie Greenspan
    Makes 6-8 large triangular scones

    3 cups AP flour
    1/3 cup sugar
    2½ tsps. baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda
    ¾ tsp salt
    6 ozs. cold butter, cut into small pieces
    ½ cup Nestle Coco Evap milk + ½ cup whole milk mixed with 1 T vinegar or
    1 cup buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    They were very good but way too plain. I don't think I will make plain scones again.

    Double Chocolate Soufflé with Warm Fudge Sauce

    Importing from old blog, this was originally made on August 11, 2006.

    I was checking out the cooking light website a couple of weeks ago and they had an article about making souffles. I've been wanting to make a chocolate souffle for awhile, so I thought I would give this recipe a shot.

    The souffle looks kinda gross in the picture above, but it tasted pretty good. I think the sauce was a bit too thick and a little too bitter. The souffle itself was good, but I messed up a bit by not beating the egg whites enough. However, it still turned out well. An added bonus was that I could freeze the extra souffles and just pop them in the oven when I wanted to bake them. That was wonderful since all souffle recipes make at least 4 servings. I would make this again but I will try out other recipes first.

    Here is the recipe:

    Double Chocolate Soufflés with Warm Fudge Sauce

    You can prepare the ingredients ahead, spoon the batter into soufflé dishes, cover, and freeze until you're ready to cook them. They can go straight from the freezer to the oven. Make the sauce ahead, too, and simply warm it before serving. This recipe received our Test Kitchens' highest rating.

    Cooking spray
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
    3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 large egg yolk
    6 large egg whites

    1 tablespoon butter
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup fat-free milk
    1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped

    Position oven rack to the lowest setting, and remove middle rack. Preheat oven to 425°.

    To prepare the soufflés, lightly coat 6 (8-ounce) soufflé dishes with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.

    Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add 1 1/4 cups milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk; remove from heat. Add 3 ounces chocolate; stir until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla and egg yolk.

    Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl; beat at high speed with a mixer until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Gently fold one-fourth of egg whites into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Gently spoon mixture into prepared dishes. Sharply tap dishes 2 or 3 times on counter to level. Place dishes on a baking sheet; place baking sheet on the bottom rack of 425° oven. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove soufflés from oven). Bake 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the side of soufflé comes out clean.

    To prepare sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, and 1 tablespoon flour; stir well with a whisk. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk, stirring well with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; add 1/2 ounce chocolate, stirring until smooth. Serve warm with soufflés.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 soufflé and about 2 tablespoons sauce)

    CALORIES 315(26% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 5.1g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 9.1g; CHOLESTEROL 41mg; CALCIUM 79mg; SODIUM 153mg; FIBER 2.9g; IRON 1.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 51.8g
    Cooking Light, APRIL 2006

    Chocolate Chip Irish Cream Pound Cake

    Importing from my old journal.... originally made 3/28/2007.

    I made this cake on Sunday and it was excellent! I used 1/3 fat cream cheese since I didn't have fat free in the house.

    Chocolate Chip Irish Cream Pound Cake

    From Cooking Light
    Category Finalist, Desserts. "This cake is even better on the second day." --Anna Ginsberg, Austin, TX

    1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
    1 teaspoon cake flour
    2 3/4 cups cake flour (about 11 ounces)
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup fat-free cream cheese, softened
    10 tablespoon butter, softened
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 large eggs
    3/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
    Baking spray with flour
    2 tablespoons powdered sugar

    Preheat oven to 325°.
    Combine chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl; toss.

    Lightly spoon 2 3/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

    Place cream cheese and butter in a bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed to blend. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time; beat well after each addition. Beat on high speed 1 minute. With mixer on low, add flour mixture and liqueur alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat well after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over cake.

    Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

    CALORIES 308 (30% from fat); FAT 10.1g (sat 5.9g,mono 2.5g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 5g; CHOLESTEROL 59mg; CALCIUM 60mg; SODIUM 231mg; FIBER 0.6g; IRON 2.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 48.9g

    Cooking Light, APRIL 2007

    Wednesday, October 3, 2007

    Pumpkin Bread and Panko Wasabi Pork

    Last night I made pumpkin bread and it turned out really well. Its a Cooking Light recipe, so its somewhat healthy (although it does have a bit of sugar in it!).

    Spiced Pumpkin Bread (From Cooking Light)

    This recipe makes two generous loaves. Freeze one, or give it as a gift. The bread is also delicious toasted and topped with Baked Apples.

    3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
    2 cups sugar
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    2/3 cup canola oil
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
    1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
    Cooking spray

    Preheat oven to 350°.
    Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine canola oil, eggs, and pumpkin in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in currants.

    Spoon batter into 2 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool loaves completely.

    Yield: 2 loaves, 16 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)

    CALORIES 150 (31% from fat); FAT 5.2g (sat 0.5g,mono 3g,poly 1.5g); PROTEIN 2g; CHOLESTEROL 20mg; CALCIUM 18mg; SODIUM 170mg; FIBER 0.9g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 24.4g

    Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005

    Tonight, I made Wasabi and Panko-Crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce. I served it over simple mashed potatos and with a side salad. I double the sauce because I like lots of sauce and even then I will make some more for the leftovers. This is another Cooking Light Recipe. Its really delicious!

    Wasabi and Panko-Crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce (Adapted from CL)

    2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
    1 large egg white, lightly beaten (I used the whole egg)
    4 - 4 ounce boneless center-cut loin pork chops
    1 tablespoon peanut oil
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
    1/3 cup chicken broth
    2 tablespoons sake ( I skipped this since I didnt have any on hand)
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1 teaspoon wasabi paste
    1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

    Take each pork chop and dip in the beaten egg white then dredge in the panko breadcrumbs.

    In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and add pork. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan and sprinkle with salt.

    Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger to pan and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. In a small bowl, whisk together broth, sake, soy sauce, sugar and wasabi paste. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in green onions. Spoon sauce over pork.