Friday, December 31, 2010

Taco Chicken Chili.

Guest Post from Michelle B:
The holiday season means family, friends, food.....and football!  I love to make Taco Chicken Chili for a football party and there is no bigger game this weekend than the Rose Bowl!  I am so excited to watch Bucky bring home a Rose Bowl win!  And speaking of winners--this recipe is one.  The best thing about it, other than it is super yummy, is that it is healthy!!  A serving is around 200 calories.  Serving it on New Years Day won't wipe out anyone's New Years Resolutions on day one.  This recipe makes a crock-pot full so there is plenty to go around.  You will score big when you bring this to your next football party!

Taco Chicken Chili

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz can black beans
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes 
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breast
  • chili peppers, chopped (optional)
Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover.Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in.  Top with real WISCONSIN cheese and sour cream (adds calories, but is so yummy!!)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Favorites & a 2011 Resolution.

Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup with Cheese Tortellini.
I've yet to make this since "soup season" has begun.  I know we're having this weekend!

Eight Layer Tortilla Bake.
Does that not look so tempting!?  And EASY!

Mouth is watering just thinking about!

So glad that my husband's New Year's Resolution is to grill each month (yes, even when it's snowy and cold!).

The list wouldn't be complete without dessert!

Enjoy.  And Happy New Year's.  I'll return in 2011 when my resolution is to use my cookbooks for two new recipes each month.  And one new bread each month.  Wish me luck.  All the tempting recipes online often lead me astray from the cookbooks.  Not anymore!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gingerbread People


6 Tbsp butter softened
3/4 c packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c molasses
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon peel
3 c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Icings and candies of your choice.

1) In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffly. Beat in the molasses, egg, vanilla and lemon peel. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, salt and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

2) On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion to 1/4" thickness. Cut with a floured 4" gingerbread boy cookie cutter. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Reroll scraps.

3) Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are firm. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate-Raspberry Tassies

For the last 5 years or so I have organized a Cookie Exchange and these are the cookies I did this year. These Chocolate Raspberry Tassies are not a real sweet dessert but the Buttercream adds that little sweetness! I used teflon mini-muffin tins and the came out really easy when they were cool!

Pre-Heat oven to 375*

Chocolate Pastry~
In a Food Processor combine 1 1/4 c. Flour, 1/3 c. sugar, 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa and a dash of salt; Pulse to combine. Add 1/2 c. cold cut up butter. Cover and process until crumbly. Add 1 egg yolk whisked together with 2 T. cold water to crumbly mixture and process to form a dough ball add water if to dry. Divide into 24 balls, press evenly into bottom and up the side of 1 3/4" muffin cups.

In a small saucepan heat and stir 6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate and butter over medium/low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in 1 large egg, 1/3 c. sugar, 1 T. Raspberry Liqueur and 2 t. vanilla. Spoon about 1 T. of filling into each muffin shell.

12-15 minutes or until pastry is firm and filling is puffed. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream~
In a medium mixing bowl beat 1/4 c. softened butter on medium/high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 1 c. powdered sugar and 3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder. beat in 2 T. milk. Gradually beat in 1 c. powdered sugar until piping consitantly. When Tassies are completly cooled Pipe or Dollop on top.

I would like to Thank Holly and Heidi for the chance to have another recipe on their blog! Here is hoping everyone has a Very Merry Christmas and A Happy Happy New Year!!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chocolate Haystacks.

I should stop baking holiday treats.  I should stop no-baking holiday treats.  I really should.  I'm ready for my kitchen to be back to normal (no candies hardening on the counter, no flour sitting out because I am using it all the time anyway, no constant dish washing).  And, I'm ready to cook again.  But, I always get a ting of fear right before I begin gifting the goods..  What if I don't have enough cookies?  Maybe I need more candy?  Is there a good enough mix of chocolate and non-chocolate? And so on and so forth.

To calm my fear: continue making holiday treats.

Chocolate Haystacks
(recipe adapted from my mom)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag butterscotch chips
1 bag chow mein noodles

Melt chips together.  Add chow mein noodles.  Mix until combined.  Drop by tablespoon onto waxed paper and allow to harden.  Store in an air tight container and serve throughout the holiday season.

And with that I am off to finish my turtle cookies and then make a double batch of m&m cookies.  Then I'm done with the sweet holiday treats.  I promise.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rosettes - By Nicole

So let me preface this by saying, I've never actually made these myself...however, I have helped. They are very much a family tradition for us and one day I'm sure I will try my hand at it. For now, my uncle makes them by the case every year for people all around the area. He even sells them as they aren't something a lot of people make, apparently. The original rosette-maker was my grandma and here is her recipe straight out of an old church cookbook:

A few tips my uncle gave me today:
  • He uses a little extra milk to thin out the batter
  • Cast iron (seasoned) rosette irons are essential, aluminum won't do and never use soap on them
  • Allow the batter to rest overnight in the refrigerator before using
  • Preheat your iron by putting it in the oil, then wipe on paper towel and dip in batter
  • Do not go over the top of the iron
  • Leave the iron in the pan for 20 seconds or so without letting it touch the bottom (it will burn)
  • The first couple, like pancakes, never turn out
This is a very well used, for rosettes only, pot. It is not a tidy project; oil will bubble over the sides.
What may seem like an undertaking at first, is well worth the effort as these are so delicate, delicious, and unique. Dust with powdered sugar or dip in granulated sugar as our family does.

Christmas Toffee Bars

First, thanks Holly for inviting me back this year!

Now on to the yummy treat....As a child this was my FAVORITE Christmas "cookie." While I loved helping my mom decorate the cut outs and enjoyed the sugar cookies with the chocolate star in the middle I couldn't shove enough of these in my mouth :) Even better they are easy and quick to make and do not require a lot of ingredients. So, I present to you......

Christmas Toffee Bars

Saltine Crackers
1 cup of butter and additional butter to grease the pan
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
Chopped nuts to sprinkle on top

-Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9x13 cooking pan and layer with saltine crackers.
-Take 1 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 min and then pour over the saltines. Bake for 5 min.
-Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips and pour on top. I usually pour this on top after the brown sugar/butter mixture as cooled a bit on the saltines (it spreads easier).
-Add chopped nuts and let cool.

These are easier to cut when they are not too hot or too cool! Happy baking and eating!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

'Holly'day Treats.

I named these 'Holly'day treats because I don't know the real name for them and because growing up these were by far my favorite holiday treat.  As soon as my mom had them made I would start sneaking them...I wonder if she ever knew some were missing :)

'Holly'day Treats
(Recipe adapted from My Mom)
1/2 bag chow mein noodles (use right from the package)
1/2 bag fruit flavored marshmallows
2 cups rice krispies
1 package white chocolate candy
1 1/2 cups peanutbutter

Combine chow mein noodles, marshmallows, and rice krispies.  In a separate bowl melt white chocolate.  Once melted mix in peanutbutter until the two are combined.  Dump white chocolate/peanutbutter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated.  Drop by tablespoon unto waxed paper and leave until set.  Place in an air-tight container and enjoy throughout the holiday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Peppermint Kiss Cookies.

If I didn't know better I'd almost think that I really liked peppermint.  Don't get me wrong these peppermint kiss cookies are tasty little's just that I like chocolate and caramel better!

Back to the peppermint.  I was most intrigued by this recipe because Amy kept writing about her candy cane flour.  I think candy cane flour sounds fun.  Fast forward through about six batches of these cookies and I can tell you that candy cane flour is fun and best made with a food processor!
 Peppermint Kiss Cookies
(slightly adapted from Sing for Your Supper)

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
"flour" from 6 candy cakes (aka processed, chopped, hammered, etc candy cane pieces)
10 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (I find it's easier to separate when the egg is near room temp)
Red Wilton candy melts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, salt, baking powder and candy cane flour; set aside.  Beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and beat until mixture is light.  Continue beating as you add the egg and egg yolk.  Lower mixer speed and add the flour mixture.  Mix until blended.  Drop by tablespoon (or slightly smaller) onto baking sheets covered in parchament paper.  (This is helpful as some of your candy cane flour may melt and make your cookies stick to the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cookies will become firm, but will not change color.  Heat candy melts in a small ziploc bag using the microwave (heat slowly).  Drizzle over cooled cookies and enjoy.

I think you will find these cookies easy to make tasty to eat.  Happy baking!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Guest Bloggers of Christmas Past & Present.

As you're planning your holiday menus and making your holiday treats be reminded of the following main dishes and tasty treats from friends and family...

The Guest Bloggers of Christmas Past:
Angie - White Chili.  Nothing more comforting on a chilly winter day than chili.
Janet - Caramel Kiss Cookies.  Chocolate and caramel - yes, please!
Nicole - Chocolate Mint Truffle Cookies & Cranberry Orange Cookies.  Really, who can resist
chocolate and mint at Christmas?  And the cranberry orange is a welcome addition to any cookie platter!
Karla - Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints.  My favorite part - asides from eating them is that they look so fancy, but are so easy!
Emily - Dried Cherry & Chocolate Walnut Brittle.  Emily is a superstar.  She was on food network!  Thank gosh my parents get that channel so I could watch her!
Teresa - Pumpkin Dessert.  Pumpkin isn't just for Thanksgiving!  It's delicious at Christmas too!
Mom - Hot Buttered Rum.  Oh.  How I hope that we can enjoy some hot buttered rums at the cookie exchange next weekend!!
Risa - Rocky Ledge Bars.  Deliciousness!  Risa never fails to blog about all kinds of sweet treats.
Robyn - Winter Salad.  Salad is always a welcome addition to our Christmas spread.  It never hurts to serve something that makes your guests feel healthy!  And this salad is so good!

...and The Guest Bloggers of Christmas Present:
Michelle K - Apple Bean Bake.  I've purchased the supplies to make this...can't wait!
Kaiti - Nutterbutter Balls.  Kaiti has found the secret to making phenomenal nutterbutter balls.
Julie - The Schooley's Easy Lasagna Rollups.  On the list to make in the next week.  So excited!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

French Bread Pizza.

I've been seeing a lot of French Bread Pizza lately.  I finally gave into my urge (looking most forward to the hunk of french bread) and got to work making my own French Bread Pizza.

The thing I like so much about pizza is that it gives me the opportunity to clean out the fridge and freezer.  Half a green pepper and half a fresh mozzarella/prosciutto log - yes, please.  Partial package of pepperoni and frozen (but prepared) italian sausage - yup!  It's that easy.  Even if you don't have toppings to clean from the fridge and freezer - it's still easy.  And how could I forget - it's completely adaptable.

French Bread Pizza
(Recipe by me)
1 loaf of bread french (cut in half the long way)
1 can pizza sauce
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
Desired toppings

Top each half of bread with desired amount of pizza sauce.  I used about a little over half the can - reserving the rest for dipping.  Sprinkle evenly with cheeses and other desired toppings.  We had slices of the mozzarella/prosciutto/basil log along with italian pork sausage.  Cook in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and a little browned.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Schooley's Easy Lasagna Rollups

This recipe is so easy and fun! My kids love helping me roll up the noodles! The first time we tried this recipe we didn't use meat. We have found we like it much better with meat.

You will need:
1 egg, beaten
1 15 oz container Ricotta Cheese
2 cups shredded Italian Three Cheese Blend
4 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 pd hamburger, browned
1 26 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
16 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix first 6 ingrediants until well blended. Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Spread each noodle with 3 Tbsp of cheese/meat mixture; roll up.

Place seam-side down in dish. Top with remaining sauce and Parmesan; cover. Bake 45 minutes or until heated, uncovering the last 10 minutes.
I like to make this ahead of time and put it in the fridge to make the next day. If you do that just add 20 minutes to the baking time.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Espresso Cookies.

Today I bring you a new recipe that just might have landed a permanent spot on my Annual Christmas Baking List.  Who doesn't love the combination of chocolate and caramel?  Add a hint of coffee?  Bliss.  These brownie-like cookies looked perfect from the moment I spotted the recipe and haven't let me down yet (I've already eaten two of them.)  The cookies are fairly simple to make, but do require a mini muffin pan.  Wish I had two.

 Chocolate Caramel Espresso Cookies.
(adapted from Land o' Lakes)

1 tablespoon chocolate milk (white would also work)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee mix
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup dry baking cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package rolos (48-60 pieces unwrapped)

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee mix
1-2 tablespoons water
1 cup powdered sugar

Combine milk and coffee mix in a small bowl then set aside.  Combine butter and sugars.  Beat until creamy.  Add dissolved coffee mix mixture and eggs.  Beat until well mixed.  Slowly add flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  With lightly floured hands, shape dough into 48-60 small balls (about the same size you would make for drop cookies). Place balls into lightly greased mini muffin tin. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until puffed and set. Remove from oven and immediately press 1 candy into each cookie. Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then remove, placing on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Dissolve coffee mix into water in small bowl. Stir in powdered sugar (and more water if necessary) until you reach desired glazing consistency. Drizzle over completely cooled cookies.

Package in an air-tight container before you eat them all!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Apple Bean Bake

It seems as though whenever an exam or assignment is due I tend to shift my focus to baking and cooking instead. Therefore, with an exam this coming Monday, rather than studying I have spent the last hour sorting through and debating on which of the many recipes I want to post. (Holly - there are a few you may still want me to share!) After asking for my husbands input the conclusion was to share the infamous APPLE BEAN BAKE. This is a recipe from my Aunt Nina who has been one of many to help provide me with so many simple, quick and tasty recipes these last 2 years of nursing school in order to keep my husband and my tummy satisfied! I do apologize I have no picture to go with this, but am now craving it so if I bake it this week I will see if Holly can add a photo for me!!!

1 can Randall Beans (48oz) - DO NOT drain - can be found at Piggly Wiggly/Walmart
3 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon salt
6 slices of bacon (or more if you LOVE bacon like I do!)

1. In skillet melt butter. Add apples and cook until tender

2. Add brown and white sugar, stirring until sugar is melted

3. Stir in cinnamon, salt, ketchup and molasses

4. Add beans and mix well, then set mixture aside

5. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry (or fry and then break into pieces - whichever you prefer)

6. Add bacon to apple mixture and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish - (If you'd like and the smell is too good to avoid, scoop a few teaspoonfuls out for tasting - but it may make you go crazy waiting for it to bake the next hour!)

7. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 1 hour - (I place a few pieces of foil under the dish incase the juices bubble over)

8. Scoop and enjoy! Tastes great the next day reheated or cold

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nutter Butter Balls--Kaiti's version

My friend Gwen has turned me on to the amazing combination of peanut butter and chocolate. I have been obsessed since our friendship started a few years ago. So, when Holly asked me to be a guest blogger I immediately started brainstorming as to what I could share with everyone. I wanted something simple, timeless, and of course delicious!

Gwen has an amazing recipe for Peanut Butter Balls that she makes on our annual "Baking Day," however,  I needed to make it my own. With the help of a recipe from Bakerella, Nutter Butter Balls was born.

Nutter Butter Balls

1 package of Nutter Butter cookies
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 scoops of peanut butter, I used crunchy but creamy would work too
8 oz melted chocolate

1. Put all but 5 Nutter Butter cookies in a food processor. Save for later to garnish, although I ate mine too fast for that step!

2. Combine the crumbs and softened cream cheese in a bowl. Mix together. My KitchenAid came in handy or use the back of a spoon to make sure the crumbs and cream cheese are mixed well.

3. This is where I tasted it and decided it needed more peanut butter! I added 2 scoops of peanut butter and mixed again.

4. Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet. I then put them in the freezer for a few minutes to make sure they were firm enough to hold up the melted chocolate.

5. Meanwhile, melt chocolate. I put the chocolate squares in the microwave for 15 second intervals and stirred.

6. Drop the Nutter Butter balls into the melted chocolate and place on a cookie sheet. Once all the balls are coated in chocolate I put them back in the freezer.

7. Enjoy and I challenge you to eat just one!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Slow Cooked Turkey Breast.

This year I wasn't sure if my husband would make it to the family Thanksgiving feast so I decided our anniversary supper (this year falling the day before Thanksgiving) would be a  feast of our own.  I was up to the challenge - both of cooking the meal and eating the meal (two days of Thanksgiving in a row? ok!)

Where I come from turkey is boneless and skinless (my mom says this isn't true, but it seems to be the only thing that ever makes its way into my home... intentionality).  I knew I was at risk for a dry and tasteless turkey by going the boneless, skinless breast route, but I was bound to prove wrong.  Brine?  I did a bunch of research and that seemed to be the answer to not having dry turkey. 

Timing was another important factor.  I had the day off of work so it was easy to find time to make the jello and cranberry citrus relish.  I was able to put together the green bean casserole and get the potatoes prepared for boiling.  I decided to cheat on the stuffing so there was time for that...but I would be helping my husband on the farm during the prime "putting the meat in the oven time" so that we can eat and still make it to Thanksgiving mass on time.  Slow cooker?  This seemed to be the answer.

The result?  Sooo delicious.  Better than I would have ever guessed!

Slow Cooked Turkey Breast
(recipe by me after reading lots and lots and lots of recipes)
3-5 pounds brined (see below) turkey breast meat (skinless & boneless)
3 stalks celery (chopped)
1 apple (chopped with seeds removed)
1/2 can chicken broth
3 teaspoons dried garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
(combined all seasonings for use)

1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 cups cold water
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

Dissolve the salt and sugar into the water.  Add rosemary and thyme.  Place turkey breast into water - ensuring all meat is covered.  Brine overnight or 8-10 hours.

Place chicken broth, celery, and apple in the bottom of a small slow cooker.  Remove each turkey breast from brine, rinse with water, pat dry, rub with olive oil and seasoning.  Place turkey is slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

Serve turkey breast without the apple and celery (mine just turned to mush and I really only used them to get another level of flavor in the final product).

You will be amazed at how tasteful and juicy the turkey is!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving & The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Version 2.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And's time!  With Thanksgiving underway we can safely begin the journey of holiday baking!  And with that I bring you The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Version 2.  I selected these ladies for their love of creating and the fact that good things come from their kitchens.

Kara.  Childhood friend who shares my love of decorating, entertaining, and creating things.  And to top it off she's got a cute little man to keep her busy.

Michelle K.  Keeps her husband fed with home cooked meals while enduring nursing school.  I can wait for her to graduate to see what she'll cook when she isn't buried in the books!

Kaiti.  Recently discovered that Kaiti's love for the kitchen and I'm excited to see what she's baking.  And her dog could be my dog's brother.  They're cute dogs!

Nicole.  Returning for Version 2 with a newly remodeled kitchen!  I might be more excited than her that she'll have a "real" kitchen to work in this holiday season.  And last year's treats?  Yum!

Michelle B.  I love knowing that other young people preserve their's garden's bounty. Salsa.  Tomato sauce.

Beth.  Keeps me interested with her use of organic and natural products.  And zucchini blossoms.  I know, right?  Best veggie pizza I ever made.

Nora.  College friend who shares my love of homemade bread, family time, and early mornings.  Facebook post at 0230 asking what to bake says it all!

Julie.  Between the two of us I bet we cook for 25 people each weekend!  The best part?  She makes cakes.  Cakes with buttercream frosting.  Cakes with pretty decorations.

Robyn.  Also returning for Version 2!  Last year's salad has become a favorite in our house!  Can't wait to see what she'll come up with this year!

Janet.  My godmother will also return for Version 2.  Last year's cookie is a favorite in our family and this year I hear she has a good gingerbread recipe that I'm hoping she shares!

Nana.  Joining for the first time will be my grandmother!  I'm not sure if her computer is working right now, but we'll get her connected to bring you one of her tried and true holiday dishes!

Mom.  It wouldn't be The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas on Mom Taught Us without a post from mom.  The women who taught us to bake like crazy and Christmas time and throughout the year.  The one who taught us to entertain and enjoy time spent in the kitchen.

Over the next month or so these ladies will take time to share a holiday recipe.  I'm excited to see what they have to offer and know that I'll be scratching some of my "planned baking" off my list and making additions based on what they share.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amazing Mushrooms.

I debated add this recipe today because I don't have a picture...but with any luck you will all make these and when you eat them you will forget that there was no picture!

This recipe comes from my cousin and her in-laws to be.  I've decided there is nothing better to call the recipe than Amazing Mushrooms.  They. Are. That. Good.  I must warn:  eat in moderation...if you can!  

Amazing Mushrooms
(recipe from my cousin Kasey)
1 package whole mushrooms (small sized mushrooms)
1 stick butter
1 package dry italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot.  Allow to cook down for about an hour.  Serve warm.

That's it.  That easy.  And that good.  I bet after reading the ingredient list you know why I warn that you will want to eat in moderation!  Mmm..butter!  As a dairy farmer's wife - I say - eat more butter!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peppermint Mocha Pudding Cookies & A Holiday Announcement.

I like peppermint on a very limited basis.  That being said, one of my limited likes is a peppermint mocha from the local coffee shop.  Yum!  (I need to wait until after Thankgiving though - currently enjoying the pumpkin spice lattes!)  

I did not wait to begin my Christmas baking though!  My garage is turning into a freezer so I figured I would  take advantage of that and get a head start on the cooking making...which brings me back to peppermint mocha...this time in cookie form!  

I was first introduced to this concept from Heidi as part of our annual cookie exchange.  Heidi makes hers as variation of the "A Twist from The Ordinary" recipe, but I can never get mine to turn out like hers.  That was...until I developed my own version.

Peppermint Mocha Pudding Cookies
(recipe by Holly)

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 small package sugar-free chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 small package sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package Andes Creme De Methe or Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Beat butter and sugar.  Add dry pudding mixes and beat until blended.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add flour and baking soda and stir until blended.  Stir in baking chips.

Drop by tablespoon on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool and enjoy!

...and now, my holiday announcement...

This year we'll continue The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas.  I'm so excited to see what these ladies have to share!  Keep a watch this week for a list of participants!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holidays Already?

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  Maybe that's because we've had mild weather?

This does mean that it is time for be to get cracking on my holiday baking plans.  I need lists of who gets the goods, what the goods will be, and what I need to make the goods.  This excites me!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole.

I picked up some fresh cabbage from a farmer's stand with ideas of making coleslaw.  Once I got home I realized I had way more cabbage than I actually needed for said coleslaw.  The thought of cabbage roles was enticing, but I knew my husband would not be impressed and honestly it just seemed like a lot of work.  My alternative?  Unstuffed Cabbage.

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
(adapted from Taste of Home)
6 cups cabbage (chopped)
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion (chopped)
1 medium green pepper (chopped)
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1 cup water
2 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 quart diced tomatoes
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic

Brown beef with onion and green pepper over medium heat until beef is cooked through.  Transfer to a large slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. 

I know the list of ingredients is long, but this does go together quickly.  It can be used as a main dish or a sidedish.  I suggest serving it as the main course with a side of fresh bread.  Nothing beats a side of fresh bread - especially when it's still warm from baking!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Bars with Caramel & Maple Frosting.

If you guessed the frosting portion of this recipe is what got my immediately interested - you're right!  The frosting is amazing but I do warm: it is really really really sweet.  The pumpkin bar offsets it some and makes for a great overall flavor.

The original recipe is from Amandeleine.  She goes one step further and sprinkles bacon over the top of the frosting.  I intended on making these for a church social and wasn't sure I would get a good response with the bacon.  I went with pecans instead.  Honestly, I'm not sure I'm ready for the bacon mixed with sweets yet myself.  If you're brave, go with the original recipe...if you are just looking for some pumpkin bars with an amazing caramel with my version!

Pumpkin Bars with Caramel & Maple Frosting
(adapted from Amandeleine)

Pumpkin Cake
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon seasalt
15 ounce can of pumpkin (or equivalent in fresh pumpkin)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 stick butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.  Beat together the pumpkin, sugars, egg, melted butter, and vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture.  Spread evenly in a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Caramel Maple Frosting
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
4 ounces cream cheese (cut into 1 ounce pieces)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add sugar and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil.  Allow to boil about 2 minutes - stirring the whole time.  Add the maple syrup, bring back to a boil, and stir until mixture thickens.  Transport mixture to stand mixer bowl.  Beat on medium-high until the bowl is no longer hot to the touch and the the mixture and thickened more.  One ounce at a time, add cream cheese - beating until smooth in between each ounce.

Frost cooled cake with frosting.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Serve!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup.

Last night I was contemplating hibernating for winter.  Aside Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'm not too interested in the coming months.  Wake me up in time to celebrate the dogs birthday on St. Patricks' Day and call it good.  The sad part, it's not even winter yet!  But last night was chilly.

After finally being home for the night at 8:30 pm.  Gary and I put on some comfy clothes and headed to relax by reading.  His reading material: The Country Today.  My reading material: Taste of Home BIG Book of Soup.  Even though we had just eaten I was on a mission to find the next soup I would make to warm me from the cold and help me through winter.  Gary said hibernating is not an option.

I called out soup titles to the sound of "that sounds good" and "I'd like that" and "make that one."  In the end it was the Cheeseburger Soup that won.  So much so that I made a special trip to the grocery store to get the one ingredient I was missing.  That's how good this soup was sounding.

I am happy to report that my special trip was worth it!

Cheeseburger Soup
(adapted from Taste of Home)
1 pound ground beef
1 cup each chopped onion, chopped carrot, chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 tablespoons of butter (divided)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups peeled & diced potatoes
1/4 cup flour
8 ounces cubed process cheese (Velveeta)
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Brown ground beef and set aside.  In large soup kettle, saute onion, carrot, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender.

Add broth, potatoes, and beef.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a small skillet, melt remaining butter.  Add flour and cook for about 2 minutes then add to soup.  (The recipe said until bubbly, but mine just globbed together and I threw it in the soup like that).  Add process cheese, milk, salt, and pepper to soup.  Cook and stir on low until the cheese melts.  When serving, top each bowl with a squirt of ketchup.  And a piece of toast or a homemade roll!  I will soon be attempting homemade rolls!

Delicious.  And if you are like my husband you'll want to include pork in some way, shape, or form.  My suggestion for this dish: add bacon.  We might do that with some of the leftover soup.  But I'm sure it would taste just as good...if not better!