Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Drinks

One more fun thing we did for the kids this weekend....Put a little cornstarch in a bowl and add some red food coloring. Dip the glasses in and coat the rim. The cornstarch will run down the glasses when you set them up....looking like blood:Fill your cups with your favorite drink.

This green drink is lime sherbet blended with lemonade and sprite.

Mummy Pizza

Another fun Halloween Dinner :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Skull Cookies (Jam Filled Shortbread Cookies)

I found some cute cookie cutters at Target this year and have been using them to make fun sandwiches....but this weekend we made some fun cookies. My 3 year old was too scared to eat them, but the others thought they were fun. John thought they tasted good, too.

Recipe for cookies: (recipe from What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine)

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl to form a dough, except for preserves.
Chill dough 1 hour
Roll into an 1/8 inch thickness and cut into circles with a shot glass or cookie cutter of your choice. You will need two pieces of dough to make a sandwich, for each cookies.

Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam and top with another circle, take a knife and put a little hole in the center, place on greased sprayed cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 350* until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool and dust with confectionery sugar.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dinner: Halloween Style

I made some spaghetti, which we called "guts" served with some breadsticks shaped as bones. We topped it off with some sparkling cider. It was red, so the kids quickly declared they were drinking "blood". Gory, but my kids loved it and it was a simple meal to make. :) We added candles for fun and some goblet glasses.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies

My kids LOVE pumpkin. My mom made some pumpkin cookies and sent them home with the kids. They disappeared quickly and a few days later the kids were begging for me to make some more...so I got the recipe from my mom and whipped up a batch with some fresh pumpkin we baked.

With Cream Cheese Frosting:
With Chocolate Chips:

 Combine:
1/2 Cup butter
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
Add:
1 egg
Mix in:
1 3/4 cup pumpkin
Now add:
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
And then add:
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
(Chocolate Chips if you want)

Now, bake @ 350 for about 10-12 minutes. (I used my biggest scoop and cooked for 9 1/2 minutes) Let cool.

**If using Cream Cheese icing:
Combine:
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
Gradually mix in: 1 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend until smooth. ( Store the cookies in the refrigerator if you used the frosting.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jack O' Lantern Cheese Tortilla

A little Halloween Fun with Dinner:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mini {Crustless} Pumkin Pies

My kids LOVE pumpkin pie, but don't like the crust. So I was excited to see this idea..I'm not sure why I didn't think to do it this way! I unwrapped one so you could see that it is more solid than pumpkin pie, so it is not messy to hold and eat. My kids really liked them...this will be my new way of making pumpkin pie for them!

Recipe from: Baking Bites

2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half (or evaporated milk) I used half and half this time.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.
In blender, blend all of the ingredients.

Fill each muffin cup...they will be almost to the top.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.
Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 12

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nutella Hot Chocolate

I think I found my favorite hot chocolate...ever, I LOVE nutella! It is simple to make and perfect for a cold day. We splurged and had hot mugs of Nutella hot chocolate with fresh, warm cinnamon rolls and sat by the warm fire while it poured cold rain outside. Mmmmm.

Stir Nutella into some milk in a saucepan. (About 1 cup of milk to 2 spoonfuls of nutella... Depends on how strong you want the nutella flavor)Heat milk on the stove top until it is hot, but not boiling. Stir until all of the Nutella is dissolved.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Super Sloppy Joes

John suggested sloppy joes this past weekend. It's not something that I make very often, but for an occasional food (once, maybe twice a year...) I wanted to try a recipe using a red pepper that I had. I was glad to find one by Rachael Ray. I liked that they were on the sweet side. John liked that they were moist, but not super saucy, messy.
John's Rating: 8Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

1 pound ground beef
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 teaspoons steak seasoning blend,(I used McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce (I blended fresh tomatoes from the garden to make 2 cups)

Rolls or Hamburger Buns

Cook Hamburger Add brown sugar and steak seasoning. When the meat has browned, add onion and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture until the sauce is thick.

Serve on hamburger buns or rolls.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Italian Chicken Soup

The weather turned frigid this week and John was wanting some warm soup after a cold day working outside, so I looked for a recipe that sounded good and used ingredients I had on hand. This one worked great and used a bunch of veggies from our garden.
John's Rating: 8Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredient List:

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 pkg dried noodles
1/2 red pepper
1/2 onion
1 jalapeno
1 Tbsp. oregano
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1-2 cups Cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt
pepper
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:
Bring to boil 4 cups of chicken broth.
Stir in 1/2 pkg. dried noodles
Cook until noodles are tender.

Meanwhile, Saute in 2 Tbsp olive oil:
1/2 red pepper
1/2 onion
1 jalapeno
Saute until tender.

Then add
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 cups diced tomatoes (I used fresh, but you can use canned)

Stir all ingredients together and add chicken. Simmer a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/2 cup whipping cream, stir and remove from heat. Allow to cool a few minutes and flavors to blend. Pour into bowls and top with some fresh shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nutty Ghosts


So, it's not a new idea, but we made some ghosts tonight using Nutter Butters. My kids thought the ghosts were fun to make and they were quick and easy. I don't know if I like them better with or without the mouths. My kids thought they needed mouths. We used some little Reeses Pieces for those. I thought they went well with the peanut butter flavor of the cookie and my kids liked that they could eat the orange and yellow ones :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Grilled Pesto Chicken Sandwich

So I was trying to figure out what to eat on this chilly day we are having and was thinking...easy grilled cheese. Then I came up with this yummy version. It may be my new favorite sandwich!
I defrosted some grilled chicken I had in my freezer and a cube of pesto, and making this was a breeze. I was even lucky enough to have a fresh tomato from the garden :)
2 slices of bread, I used wheat
1 Tbsp. pesto
Grilled chicken
1 slice provolone mozzarella blend cheese (love this!)
1/2 tomato, sliced
butter

Spread your butter on one side of each slice of bread. Put one slice, butter side down in warm pan. Spread your pesto on the bread then top with fresh sliced tomatoes, cheese and grilled chicken. Top with other slice of bread. Toast both sides and serve warm. YUM...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Glazed Donut Muffins

My kids are always asking for donuts for breakfast. They LOVE them, but it's not something we make (or buy) very often. Something about fried, sugary bread for breakfast makes it an occasional treat. I saw this recipe for donut muffns and figured we'd better give them a try. I found this recipe made enough batter to do 12 regular size muffins and 12 mini muffins. My family loved them! We liked them better in the mini muffin form, so next time I'll probably do them all as mini muffins.

Recipe from: Brandy's Baking

Ingredients:
For the muffins:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk

For the Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water

Directions1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a standard size muffin tin with (12) paper liners. Or make them into mini muffins.
2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
3) Add the eggs, beating to combine.
4) Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
5) Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
6) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups 2/3 full.
7) Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes (less for the mini size), or until they’re a pale golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
8.) In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth.
9.) When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden.
10.) Serve warm. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

If your craving cinnamon rolls, esp. as the cold weather starts to settle in...this is a quick fix. I was surprised how much these tasted like a cinnamon roll! This makes for a really sweet breakfast, so best to serve with lots of fresh fruit and some breakfast meat.

Recipe adapted from: Chef in Training

PANCAKES:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

CINNAMON FILLING:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 6 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 Tbsp. powdered sugar (I eyeballed it to get the consistency I wanted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Prepare pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, oil and egg, just until batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie (or a frosting tube...that's what I used) and set aside. You don't want this to remain super-liquidy. It's best if it becomes a consistency similar to toothpaste.
3. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract; set aside.
4. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Snip the corner of your baggie of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
5. When ready to serve, spoon a little warmed glaze onto the top of each pancake.

Enjoy!