Friday, October 28, 2011

Dessert: Super Easy Nutella Cookies

I saw these on Food Gawker last summer and made them one evening "real quick." Since everyone is probably preparing for a weekend of sweets, dessert is probably not necessary, but these are an easy addition to the sweet collection.
1 cup Nutella
1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
  3. Whisk together Nutella and egg until fully combined
  4. With a cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop small dollops of batter onto prepared cookie sheets leaving 2 inches space between each one
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes. 
  6. Let cool on rack 5 minutes then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Other Details:

  • Original Recipe 
  • I don't recall how many this makes. Theoretically, it should be 48 cookies, but I think it was fewer. Nutrition is for 3 dozen. 
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Side dish: Baked Corn II

Years ago the husband found this recipe to dress up having corn. We make it a few times a year. 


1 (16 oz) pkg frozen corn, thawed and drained
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350o.  
  2. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish (8” square.)  
  3. In a large bowl combine corn, milk, egg, butter, sugar, flour, salt and pepper.  Mix well and transfer to dish.  
  4. Bake, uncovered, 1 hr.

Other Details:

  • Serves 4  
  • Prep: 10 min  
  • Cook 1 hr
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bread: Cinnamon Pull Apart

I made this this past weekend. It didn't stick together quite right for me, but the family loved it. So the photo is in it's fallen apart glory. But these are super tasty. I don't recommend eating them with yesterday's French Toast, though. That's a little overwhelming. I got the recipe from a magazine years ago by Kraft foods. The original recipe can probably be found on their website, but I tweaked it a little.


3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. Ground cinnamon
2 cans (7.5 oz each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup butter, melted and divided
4 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. Milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Separate biscuit dough into individual biscuits and cut each one into quarters.
  2. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a gallon ziploc bag. Shake dough quarters in the cinnamon sugar by batches, until coated.
  3. Place half of biscuits into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan (bundt pan). Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the melted butter. Top with remaining biscuit quarters and melted butter.
  4. Top unbaked loaf with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Baked 40 to 45 minutes or until golden. Let loaf stand 5 minutes, then invert onto plate. While waiting to invert loaf, make glaze.
  5. Beat softened cream cheese and powdered sugar in bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp milk, beating until desired consistency is reached. Spoon over warm loaf

Other details:

  • Makes 12 servings. (The four of us went through this in one sitting, so I'm not sure 12 servings is really accurate.) 
  • Nutrition is given per serving with 12 servings in mind.
  • Prep 15 min.
  • Total 1 hour.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Breakfast: French Toast

Fench Toast was one of my favorite breakfast meals growing up, but I rarely got it. I ended up always ordering French Toast at diner-style restaurants. Then, my husband started making and perfecting French Toast. We've hodge-podged our favorite parts of various French Toast recipes. What's important about French Toast? The Challah bread being sliced and layed out for several hours (overnight even) before using. As long as the dip is very eggy, then the spices are up to you. Here's one variation we recently made.


Loaf Challah bread
6-8 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla


  1. Cut Challah loaf into 12 or so 1.5-2” thick slices. Let sit overnight (about 8 hours or so.)
  2. Beat eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla together. Pour into an 8 x 11” pan or larger. Soak each side of each slice of Challah bread.
  3. Melt a little butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place 2-3 slices of the soaked bread in the pan and cook each side until a golden brown. Keep warm in a warm oven until all slices are cooked.

Other Details:

  • Freeze uneaten slices and use as toaster French toast (like toaster waffles) a morning you don't have time to make such a delicious breakfast. 
  • Nutrition data is per slice.
  • Eat topped with cinnamon & sugar or whipped cream or syrup or powdered sugar or fruit (or all of it!)
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Dessert: Apple Streusel Topped Pumpkin Cake

When I made this, my family loved it. My daughter described it as "apple pie on top of pumpkin pie." I would love to have loved it, but I don't care for cooked fruit and the apple streusel topping is exactly the sort of thing I don't like. The pumpkin part was not particularly special on its own, but if my family is to be believed, it was fabulous together.


3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
5 tablespoons granulated white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs


  1. Butter and flour a 9-inch-across, 3-inch-deep springform pan. In a large sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter, then sauté the apples over medium-high heat until softened and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Mix 3 tablespoons of the white sugar and the cinnamon in a cup and sprinkle over the apples, then toss and cook until the liquids are thick and bubbly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Dice the remaining 1/2 cup of butter, and let it come to room temperature. In a stand mixer, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt, and mix. Toss in the diced butter and mix until the butter is broken into small bits. Measure 2/3 cup of the mixture into a small bowl, and stir into that the remaining 2 tablespoons white sugar and pie spice to make the streusel.
  4. To the mixer, add the baking soda and mix, then add the pumpkin, sour cream, and eggs, beating until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Distribute the apple sauté over the batter, then sprinkle the streusel topping over that.
  6. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

Other Details:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Entree: 3-Cheese Stuffed Shells

We got this recipe out of Clean Eating Magazine


3 cups chopped tomatoes
12 oz roasted red bell peppers (packed in water), drained, patted ry and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 packed cup whole parsley sprigs, roughly chopped

4 ears corn, husked
olive oil cooking spray
30 large whole-grain pasta shells
1/2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
3 oz goat cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves or chives, plus additional for garnish
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated


  1. Prepare sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine tomatoes, roasted peppers, rosemary, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a blender and add parsley. Remove plastic center from blender lid to allow steam to escape, hold a kitchen towel.loosely over the opening and puree. (Note: Exercise caution when blending hot liquids.)
  2. Prepare shells: Preheat broiler. Mist corn with cooking spray and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil 8 to 10 inches from heat until light golden brown on all sides, turning as needed, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Carefully remove kernals: Hold corn upright on a cutting board and use a chef's knife to cut off kernals, starting at the top of the cob and carefully sliding knife downward. Transfer kernals to bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Meanwhile, prepare pasta shells according to package directions, cooking until just al dente. Drain thoroughly. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, goat cheese, mint, parsley, egg and half of corn (about 1 1/2 cups.) Season with black pepper.
  4. Spread 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Fill each of 24 pasta shells (6 additional shells were cooked to allow for damaged shells) with about 1 rounded tbsp ricotta mixture and place in baking dish, stuffed side up. Cover shells with remaining sauce, remaining corn and mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes, garnish with additional parsley and serve.

Other details:

  • Serves 8 
  • Prep-time: 45 minutes 
  • Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Calories/ 3 shells: 429
  • Nutrition at right is for 1/8 of the recipe.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bread: Request for a Pumpkin Bread Recipe

I am a sucker for anything pumpkin-related. Today I had a vegan cookie because it was Pumpkin Spice. It was also one of the best cookies I have ever had in my life. Over the years, I have tried several pumpkin bread recipes, but have never liked any enough to take note of them. So, today, I implore my readers to suggest pumpkin bread recipes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Breakfast: Buttermilk Wheat Germ Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

When I made these, I was surprised with how much my family liked the pancakes. I did not add the blueberries because I don't care for cooked fruit or fruit in nor on my pancakes. However, everyone agreed they'd be a good addition for those so inclined. These are from Robin Asbell's The New Whole Grain Cookbook. 


For the Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups sliced banana, berries, or raisins

For the Sauce2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice


For the Sauce:
  1. In a medium saucepan mix the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. 
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. The sauce will thicken as it stands.

For the Pancakes: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. 
  2. Mix the flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. 
  3. Mix the buttermilk, oil, and egg yolks in a cup. 
  4. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, using an electric mixer. 
  5. Mix the yolk mixture into the dry ingredients just until moistened, then fold in the whites.
  6. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat until hot. Lightly grease the griddle with spray vegetable oil or butter, and then drop 1/3-cup portions of batter on the griddle, spreading them a bit if thick.
  7. Drop fruit onto the pancakes, and press it down. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until bubbly, turn, and cook for a couple minutes more. 
  8. Transfer to an oven-safe platter and hold in the oven until all of the pancakes are done. Serve the pancakes topped with the blueberry sauce.

Other Details:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dessert: Mini Spiced Ginger Cupcakes with Pumpkin Icing

I tried the ginger cupcake recipe from a magazine called Clean Eating. Too dry by themselves, and too bitter with the suggested yogurt based icing, I found a sweet complementary icing with pumpkin flavor. These go together very well.
Rows and rows of ginger mini cupcakes.

I probably didn't need 3 of these, but I liked these photos.

A pumpkin iced mini ginger cupcake.

Ginger Cupcakes

3/4 cup maple sugar flakes
1/2 cup olive oil buttery spread
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extraction1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
2 cups gluten-free flour blend, sifted

1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Pumpkin Icing

1/2 cup butter substitute
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Ginger Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 48 mini muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add 3/4 cup maple sugar flakes, buttery spread, eggs, vanilla and vinegar, and beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, fluffy and opaque and maple sugar flakes are dissolved. (Alternatively, mix ingredients in a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium-high speed, then scrape into a large mixing bowl.)
  3. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup yogurt and milk. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Beginning with flour mixture, alternately fold flour mixture and yogurt mixture into egg mixture and yogurt mixture into egg mixture, making 3 additions of flour and 2 additions of yogurt. Fold only until flour is smooth and mixture is just combined; do not over-mix.
  4. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into each cupcake liner. Bake in center of oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until cupcake springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool in muffin tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin and let col completely on rack for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile prepare a frosting. The frosting that was suggested with the original recipe was not very good and needed more tweaking than I was willing to do. If I find a good one, I'll be sure to let you know.
  6. Cupcakes are best when iced just before serving. Keep icing refrigerated and store cupcakes in a sealed container in a cool, dark place until serving. Cupcakes will keep for up to 2 days. You may also ice cupcakes 1 hour before serving store in fridge.
Pumpkin Icing
  1. Put all ingredients (except the milk) into a stand mixer and mix with your whisk attachment.You may need to add milk to adjust consistency.

Other details:

  • Makes 48 cupcakes
  • Hands-on time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes (includes cooling time)
  • Nutrition per 2 cupcake without icing given is about 104 calories.
  • The icing makes quite a bit (about 3 cups). The nutrition below is for 1 tablespoon of icing. Generally, 1 Tablespoon will ice 1-2 mini cupcakes generously.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Side dish: Vanilla Extract

Okay, vanilla extract is not a side-dish. I'll give you that. However, with the upcoming baking season and gift-giving season, this is a perfect recipe. I got it originally from a friend and we've been making our own vanilla extract for years. It is much better than the store-bought stuff. We have made it as gifts for family and had it re-requested when it ran out.
Homemade Vanilla Extract on Day 1 (left side of our label).

Homemade Vanilla Extract Day 1 (right side of label.)
Homemade Vanilla Extract after 1 month.

vanilla bean

  1. Place 1 vanilla bean / 8 ounces vodka in a glass container (plastic is okay, glass is better). 
  2. Allow 6-8 weeks to allow extraction before use. Leave vanilla bean in (can re-use vanilla beans a few times).
  3. Good for all uses for vanilla extract. May be lighter in color than store-bought vanilla extract.
  4. Pin It
Other Details:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Entree: Soup: 5-Can Chili Enhanced

This soup has been in our recipe box for many years now. We took an original, easy recipe and added ground beef to beef it up a bit. It's a great fall meal.


1 lb ground beef
1 can (15 oz) chili with beans
1 can (15 oz) mixed veggies, drained
1 can (11 oz) whole kernal corn, drained
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies


  1. Brown beef.  
  2. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients, heat through.
  3. Serve with shredded cheese.

Other Details:

  • Serves about 6 – 2 cup serving size. 
  • Approximately 395 Calories/serving.
  • I can't get the nutrition right on this to give the nutrition label.
  • Vegan Version

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bread: Surprise Muffins!

I had a recipe card with these on them. They were meant for Valentine's Day season, but I think that, depending on your surprise and the berries you choose, these are a great Halloween season item as well. Everyone in my house liked these - the kids loved the surprise, although the husband was not as big a fan.

6 Tbsp. butter
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup milk
14 strawberries, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
Food coloring, optional
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
Hershey’s Kisses, Hugs or strawberry jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. You can use a wooden spoon, a potato masher or handheld electric mixer. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and add the milk.
  2. Rinse the strawberries and cut off the green stem. Mash the berries with a potato masher or puree in a blender. Then stir the berries into the butter and milk mixture. TIP: For muffins with a more pink color, add a few drops of red liquid food coloring.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir well. Add the flour mixture to the berry mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until all the white disappears.
  4. Line the muffin tin with paper liners. Drop the batter from a tablespoon to fill the cups halfway.
  5. Add a surprise: an unwrapped Kiss, Hug or ½ teaspoon of jam. Then spoon more batter to fill almost to the top.
  6. Bake until the muffins begin to brown and a toothpick inserted near the center (but not in the Kiss) comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Remove the muffins from the tin and cool. 

Other Details:

  • Makes 12 muffins. 
  • You can make these more Halloween-friendly by using a different berry (perhaps blueberries) and/or using food coloring to your preference.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Breakfast: Whole Wheat Walnut Scones with Streusal

I made this recipe from Robin Asbell's The New Whole Grains Cookbook. These were a big hit at my house.


3 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c cold butter
2 large eggs
1/2 c (plus 2 T) heavy cream or buttermilk, divided
1/2 c maple syrup
1 c walnuts, coarsely chopped

3 T whole wheat pastry flour
2 T butter, melted
5 T maple sugar chunks
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts


  1. Streusel--mix ingredients in small bowl and reserve.
  2. Scones--preheat oven to 425. Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small bits with a pastry cutter. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup of half and half (reserve the 2 T), the maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in the wet mixture. Stir until just incorporated; then add the walnuts. Divide dough into 12 scones. Place on baking sheet with some breathing room between them. Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved half and half and press the streusel mixture on the top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Other Details:
  • Makes 12 scones.
  • You can substitute dried fruit for the nuts. 
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Dessert: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This is another recipe I discovered last Autumn and do not recollect where I first saw it. These were a very popular dessert in the house when I made them.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

For Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl. 
  3. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. 
  4. Stir in flour mixture until combined. 
  5. Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. (A total of 72 cookies are needed for the recipe.)
  6. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator.
Other Details:
  • Makes 36 mini-whoopie pies 
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes 
  • Cook 10-13 minutes
  • Nutrition facts are per whoopie pie
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Entree: Hammies

We got this recipe from The Tasty Kitchen part of The Pioneer Woman's (Ree Drummond) food site.  This is actually a derivative Cuban sandwich.

16 ounces, weight Thin Sliced Deli Ham
12 slices Swiss Cheese
1 package King Hawaiian Rolls, 12 Count
½ cups Butter, Melted
2 teaspoons Onion Flakes
1 teaspoon Poppy Seeds
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ teaspoons Ground Mustard


  1. Put ham and cheese in between sliced rolls. Mix all other ingredients and spoon over sandwiches. 
  2. Let set overnight or several hours.
  3. Bake on 350F for 15 min before serving.

Other Details: