Sunday, October 28, 2012

Easy Halloween S'mores

Sometimes when you have all the just have to try putting them together to see if they work well together.  My latest are these S'mores.  I may come down from my sugar high around midnight but they were tasty.

Easy Halloween S'mores

chocolate graham crackers
marshmallow creme
vanilla almond bark
Halloween sprinkles

Carefully break chocolate graham crackers in half.  I say carefully because these do not break as easily as regular graham crackers.  Spread inside of one cracker with marshmallow creme and put two crackers together.   Dip in melted almond bark and apply the sprinkles right away before it hardens.  You'll notice that I did not give any quantities since it's up to you how many you make.  I made 8 crackers and used 3 blocks of almond bark for them.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Toffee Bars

My decorating pumpkin is sitting in my livingroom intact since I haven't decided what kind of face to carve yet but I did tap my supply of frozen pumpkin to make this dessert today.

Pumpkin Toffee Bars

1 1/2 cups pumpkin
3 large eggs
3/4 cup yogurt
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups whipped cream or Cool Whip
1/2 cup toffee bits

Mix together pumpkin, eggs, yogurt and vanilla.  Stir in sugars.  Mix in remainder of dry ingredients.  Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  When cool, frost with whipped cream and sprinkle toffee bits on top.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One Hour Bread

The best smell is that of bread baking.  In fact, it was so good that just this became my dinner ~ hot bread with butter melting into it.  And this is such an easy recipe that I could make these very often.

One Hour Bread

3 cups flour
1 tbsp bread machine yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp corn meal (for pan)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar and salt.  Pour in warm water and olive oil and mix by hand.  Knead for 5 minutes in the bowl.  You can almost feel it rising in your hands while kneading.  Cover and place in a warm place for 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven and baking stone to 350°.  When heated, remove stone and spread out corn meal before you place the dough in the middle.  Make 2 cuts 1/2" deep in the dough with a bread knife and return to oven for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup

It's been raining all day and I'm glad that I had planned on making soup to go along with the Parmesan biscotti I made yesterday.  If I had added more flour, this would be filling for my chicken pot pie it's definitely a comfort soup recipe.

Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup

1 pound chicken, cubed and cooked 
2 tbsp flour
2  cups chicken broth 
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp celery flakes
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup green beans
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook chicken in 2 tbsp olive oil at bottom of a dutch oven.  When cooked, stir in flour and stir in chicken broth.  Add in milk and vegetables and cook over medium heat until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Parmesan Biscotti

Happy Monday!  I made biscotti today to go with some soup that I'm planning on making tomorrow.  I'm really happy with how it turned out and hopefully won't be nibbling on it too much before I make the soup.

                             Parmesan Biscotti


   2     cups         flour
   1     tsp           baking powder
   1     tsp           salt
   1/4  tsp           cayenne
   1     cup          Parmesan cheese freshly grated
   6     tbsp         unsalted butter
   2     large        eggs
   1/2  cup          milk

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, Parmesan cheese and cayenne in a
large bowl.  Cut the cold, unsalted butter in thin slices and blend into
flour.  Add in milk and eggs and stir until just mixed - be careful not to
over mix.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Shape into a 12" log that
is approximately 2 1/2 inches wide and 1" tall.  Brush top with butter and
sprinkle 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350° and remove from oven and let cool for 10
minutes while turning oven down to 300°.  Cut into 1/2" diagonal slices and
bake for 20 minutes on each side.

Store in an airtight container.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Peach Coffee Cake

Finally a sunny day and already a busy morning with cooking, laundry, freezing get the idea.  This turned into more of a brunch than a breakfast dish since a long shower seemed like a priority over baking.

Peach Coffee Cake

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in eggs, yogurt and vanilla.  Gradually add in dry ingredients and pour into a greased 9" springform pan.  Place 2 cups of diced peaches (fresh or frozen, not canned) on top of batter.


1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp butter, melted

Mix ingredients together and spread over the top of the peaches.

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I had lots of time to play in the kitchen today while waiting for squash to bake for freezing and an elusive FedEx delivery man.  I wanted to make something that I never had tried to make and I had some chicken breasts, baby swiss and ham in the refrigerator.  And just for fun, I made a sauce to go on top of it too.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

3 chicken breasts
3 slices baby swiss cheese
3 slices ham
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

Instead of pounding out the breasts and rolling up again, I just cut a slit in the breasts midway through being careful not to cut through to the other side.  Fill with the cheese and ham and secure with toothpicks.  In a small bowl, combine the flour and spices.  Dredge chicken and brown in olive oil in an oven safe frying pan.  Turn and brown the other side and then bake in the oven at 350° until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°.     


1/2 cup buttermilk or regular milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp cornstarch
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, whisk together buttermilk and cornstarch.  Stir in Parmesan and seasoning and cook until it thickens.  Pour over chicken and serve.

I used buttermilk for a slight tangy flavor.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Italian Chicken Breasts

I made another easy recipe in the crock pot for chicken breasts.  I love when you just put some ingredients in the crock pot, walk away a nd come back later to have your meal almost done.  I cooked some spaghetti to go with it but rice would have been good also.  You'll notice I have V8 juice in this recipe again.  I buy the 6 - 5.5 ounce cans to have on hand to use when needed instead of a jar and then having to throw out over half of it.

Italian Chicken Breasts

3 chicken breasts
1 - 14.5 diced tomatoes
1/3 cup V8 juice (1 - 5.5 ounce can)
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, diced
1 tbsp Italian seasonings

Place the chicken breasts at the bottom of the crock pot.  Place half the can of diced tomatoes on top and sprinkle with Italian seasonings, onions and garlic.  Pour the remainder of tomatoes and V8 juice on top and let cook on medium heat for 3 hours.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chicken Barley Soup

Chicken soup is one of the best comfort soups when you're feeling a cold coming on or just want to warm up on a chilly day.  It's also a good way to use up leftover chicken.

Chicken Barley Soup

6 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chicken, cut up
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup peas
3/4 cup medium pearl barley
1/2 tsp sage
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Put chicken broth, chicken and carrots into a large stockpot or crock pot.  Cook over medium heat until carrots are almost tender.  Add in barley and peas and cook an additional hour.  Remove bay leaf and serve.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Snack Mix

And with peanut butter, a little chocolate must be added in.  Here's my latest Halloween/Fall snack.

Peanut Butter Snack Mix

4 cups peanut butter popcorn (recipe below)
12 fall Oreo's, quartered
2 cups Peanut Butter Ritz Bits
1 cup Reese's Pieces
1 cup peanuts
1/2 fall plain M&M's
Mix all together and store in an airtight container.

Peanut Butter Popcorn

10 cups popcorn, please sort through to make sure there's no kernels 
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put popcorn in a large roaster.  In a medium saucepan, melt down honey, peanut butter with salt and brown sugar.  When completely combined, remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour over popcorn and mix well.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Caramel Pear Crisp

I love the combination of caramel sauce and pears.  I must since this is my third recipe combining the two.  This idea actually came from an email from someone I know who sells candles and one of their scents was Caramel Pear Crisp.  I didn't buy the product but I made my own wonderful fragrance that came from the oven.

Caramel Pear Crisp

3 pears, peeled and sliced
24 caramels
2 tbsp milk
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Slice pears into a greased 8 x 8 or 10 x 6 pan.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt caramels and milk on high for one minute.  Remove from microwave and stir until completely combined and then pour over the pears.  In a small bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter with a fork until crumbly.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Top with whipped topping or ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas

It's always nice to come home and have dinner almost ready.  I'm an early riser so I started my Tivo playing last nights Sons of Anarchy and threw 3 easy ingredients into the crock pot.

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas

4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup V8 juice
2 tbsp green chilies (you can add the entire can if you prefer)

Let cook on low heat in your crock pot.  When you are almost ready to eat, fork shred the chicken and mix around with the juice and chilies.  

Enchilada Sauce

2 cups chicken broth
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and heat to almost a boil.

Place meat in your favorite flour or corn tortilla.  Top with shredded cheese (mexican blend or cheddar), roll and top with the enchilada sauce.  You can add additional cheese on top if you prefer.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Italian Sausage Soup

The temperature is dropping and the wind is making being outside miserable today.  It's the perfect time to make a soup that warms you up inside and out.

Italian Sausage Soup

6 cups chicken broth
1# turkey Italian sausage, cooked
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup medium shell pasta
salt and pepper to taste

You can make this in the crock pot or on top of the stove.  Cook Italian sausage in a large frying pan.  Halfway through cooking, add in onion and garlic.  Combine all ingredients (except pasta) and cook until carrots are tender.  Add in pasta and cook.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Raspberry Honey Roasted Vegetables

I found a new way to enjoy my raspberry honey besides on toast and this time it's on veggies.  I paired it with raspberry vinegar and I'm amazed it they made it into a bowl because I was enjoying sampling them off the sheet pan.

Raspberry Honey Roasted Vegetables

1 Delicata squash (or your favorite) 
2 large carrots
1 large sweet potato

Peel and slice all the vegetables and place on an olive oil greased baking sheet.  Drizzle 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil on top and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until fork tender.  Remove from oven and drizzle 3 tbsp raspberry honey and  1 tsp raspberry vinegar on top and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Snack Mix

Snack mixes are always good to have on hand for entertaining, watching games or movies.  Here's my fall mix ~

Fall Snack Mix

6 cups cinnamon popcorn
2 cups Butter Snaps pretzels
1 cup pretzel m&m's (fall colors)
1 cup dark chocolate Raisinettes
1 cup chocolate m&m's (fall colors)
1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts
1/2 cup yogurt covered pretzels
1 cup Craisins

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cinnamon Popcorn

I was looking for a popcorn to add to a Fall mix.  I've already gathered a variety of different things to put together for the mix and I knew I wanted more than a plain popcorn.  I thought about caramel corn (which I'll probably add to the next mix) but decided to try something new.

Cinnamon Popcorn

12 cups popped popcorn
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, melt butter and then add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla.  Cook until thick and pour over the popped popcorn in a large roaster. Stir well and bake for 15 minutes at 250°.  Turn off oven after 15 minutes, stir and put back in cooling oven for an additional 15 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.