Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chocolate, that's good for you? I love it!

I stumbled across a recipe the other day completely by accident. Boy am I glad I did! So easy- and I already had everything on hand. I plan on keeping these in the freezer for breakfast or when I need a chocolate fix without all the guilt :)

You only need three things: 1 Box of Devils Food Cake Mix, 1 15oz Can of Pumpkin and 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce.

Mix batter, spoon into muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes

I made 15 regular muffins and 16 mini muffins...the minis were done in about 15 min. Note- this will come out looking exactly like they went in...the batter is thick! Next time I would take a little more time to smooth the tops :)

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. For those that don't like can't taste it. And for die hard chocolate lovers, add a few chocolate chips. They are moist, delicious, and healthy!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall flavors full of love!

I adore pumpkin.  I NEVER get sick of it and wish it wasn't considered so seasonal! Today, we made Iced Pumpkin Cookies!

Lots of ingredients, which is a bonus if you have a two-year old that loves to help :)

Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl. Robyn just loves this part...Me too! Another chance to use my whole nutmeg. It smells so good!

Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, pumpkin and vanilla.

Gradually add flour mixture until incorporated.

Oops! How did those chocolate chips get in there??

Made exactly 36 cookies, just as the recipe states. I'm always shocked when my guesstimated scoops come out just right :) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

I made another change to this recipe... I used Orange Juice instead of the milk for the frosting. Such a tasty combination!

I also added a little food coloring to give it a nice orange color :)

A beautiful glaze and a wonderful tasting good!

My husband loves anything with tortellini!

I cooked and shredded loads of chicken over the weekend, and it was raining...soup seemed like the perfect solution! I decided to venture away from our traditional favorites- Chicken Wild Rice, Chicken and Dumpling or Chicken Tortilla. I created my own version of Italian Wedding soup, with chicken :)

For this recipe you will need:
1 can of Petit Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Olive Oil
1 Bag of Baby Spinach
1 pkg of Frozen Tortellini
8 cups of Chicken Broth/Stock
1 1/2 cups of Shredded Chicken
Red Pepper Flakes, Salt and Black Pepper, Italian Seasoning

Start by heating the canned tomatoes and roughly chopped spinach until the spinach begins to wilt (I also added 1 1/2 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes).

Add in chicken broth and chicken. Add about 1 tsp of Italian Seasoning. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add tortellini. Cook about 6 minutes, or until tortellini float. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. I use LOTS of black pepper :)

Serve topped with a little fresh grated Parmesan Cheese. Yum!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A festive holiday dip you'll love!

Not Halloween, not Thanksgiving, but Christmas. I know- it's not here yet, but it will be before you know it! I made Hot Spinach Red Pepper Dip the other night and remembered how pretty it is. Red and Green...a perfect appetizer for Christmas!

I had a red bell pepper that I bought for stir-fry and fresh spinach that really needed to be used- so this was the perfect option. The recipe calls for frozen spinach...either works great.

I make mine a little different. I start by cooking the bell peppers in a skillet with a few cloves of finely minced or grated garlic. You can add a little olive oil if you don't have a non-stick pan.

Once the peppers are soft, add the fresh spinach...roughly chopped.

Cook until the  spinach has wilted, add the milk, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt and cubed cream cheese. Stir over low heat until the cream cheese has melted.

Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve!

I like mine on garlic toast. The recipe suggests a bread bowl, but this dip really needs to be I would recommend bread on the side with the dip in a mini crock pot :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I love any excuse to make cupcakes :)

I've been in a bit of a cooking rut this week. Nothing exciting to blog :( I did forget to post the blog of the cupcakes I made for my dad's birthday. The baking temp was off in the oven I was using, so they had to cook forever and didn't turn out as planned, but they were still tasty.

I used the recipe Brownie Batter + Cupcake = Second Best Cupcake. Ever. You need 5 eggs, vegetable oil and water to make the batter.

I had to use two different liners for my cupcakes because I couldn't decide which I wanted :)

Prepare batter according to recipe...not box. 

Put cake batter in the bottom of each liner (I added WAY too much to mine).

Top with Brownie batter and then more Cake batter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes...mine took over 30 :( Lesson learned...don't bake something in a oven that is typically used for baking and don't overfill your liners. 

I topped mine with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. I made my favorite Buttercream Frosting and added 1 square of melted semi-sweet chocolate and 3 TBS of cocoa powder. The frosting was delicious :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who knew I would love Chili as a "grown-up"?

Growing up, I hated chili. No beans please!! Well, now that I am "grown up", I LOVE chili! Or, I love my chili :) I actually love most chili now, as long it doesn't involve kidney or lima beans!

For my chili you will need: 2 cans of Chili Beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, 1 can tomato paste, 1 onion, LOTS of garlic, 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef, 1 large can of tomato juice and to season (garlic salt, black pepper, Italian Seasoning, Chili powder and Cumin).

I start by browning my ground beef. As soon as it is mostly cooked, add one diced onion and several cloves of minced or grated garlic. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat.

I added a few over-ripe tomatoes from my garlic last time I made this. Add one can of tomato paste and cook one minute.

Stir in beans, tomato juice and canned tomatoes. I just keep seasoning to taste, but always start with 3 tsp of cumin, 5 tsp of dark chili powder, 2 tsp of black pepper, 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and 2 tsp of garlic salt. Sorry- no idea how much I add after that, just depends on my taste that day :) Cook for as long as possible on low heat...a minimum of 2 hours. I usually aim for 5-6 hours. Stir frequently!

Top with shredded cheddar and enjoy! It's even better the next day :)

I love the change of means new meal options!

Every year, when the weather cools, I get so excited to break out my favorite cool weather recipes. Last night, I decided to make Black Bean and Salsa Soup....I never get tired of this one! The best part of this recipe, the ingredients are so easy to keep in the pantry for a quick and healthy meal!

This recipe is vegetarian as written, but I use homemade chicken broth instead. You need 2 cans of Black Beans (I use the reduced sodium), 1 jar of  salsa (I like Medium and I usually use whatever is on sale), cumin and stock/broth. I also like to add onion and garlic to mine.

Since I puree the whole pot when I am done, I never chop anything. Cook one onion and a few cloves of garlic in a little of the chicken broth over medium heat.  I cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes.

Rinse and drain both cans of beans and add to the pot with the salsa and cumin. I usually double the cumin because I love cumin!

At this point, throw the mix into your blender, use a potato masher or an immersion blender to puree. I season to taste with black pepper and salt. You can add more cumin or chili powder for a little kick!

I love this topped with cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Fresh tomatoes are a great addition as well. I don't like sour cream, but the original recipe calls for sour cream and sliced green onions. Any way you top it, this is one delicious dinner! ***Bonus- it freezes beautifully***

Monday, October 11, 2010

These potatoes are easy to love!

I used to hate, I love everything breakfast! I also love everything why not combine the two?!

Start with one large potato per person...I used 3 small potatoes for 2 people.

Grate potatoes over a stack of paper towels.

Use a few additional towels to absorb all moisture from the potatoes.

Pre-heat a pan over medium high heat with a little oil. (I have a great non-stick skillet, so I used 2 tsp of olive oil). Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes over medium heat...or until golden brown. Sprinkle raw potatoes with salt and pepper.

If you get lucky, you can flip the whole pan of potatoes in one piece! Cook side two an additional 8-10 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve in wedges...yum!

I love a fast fix!

Ever decide you need something sweet...and you want it right now?! I've found the perfect recipe for this problem. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. They make a small batch and only require 3 ingredients!

1 cup of peanut butter, 1 egg, and 1 cup of sugar.

Throw everything into a bowl...


Roll into balls (They don't spread, so you can put the whole batch on one cookie sheet!)

Cross the tops with a fork and throw in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and enjoy! Could not be more simple....or delicious!