Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mulled Cider

Happy Halloween!! Every year in October, my husband and I host a Scavenger Hunt for a group of our friends. It is so much fun and the evening is filled with good friends, good food and drink and great fun! This is the time of year when I love sipping on something warm and cozy! I found this recipe and it has become a standard at our party... I always double the recipe and have some leftover to heat up for the next week or so in the mornings... Don't forget to mix this up and take a cup with you while you are trick or treating with the kids tonight!

Mulled Cider
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

4 cups water
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
dash ground cloves
1 gallon apple cider or juice
1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1 individual tea bag

In a large kettle, combine the water, allspice, cinnamon stick and cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients. return just to a boil. Discard cinnamon stick and tea bag. Stir and serve warm.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bacon-Cheese Stuffed Shells

Okay, usually I am all about quick and easy, with 3 kids and a business run from home that is what I have time for! But, every once in a while I see a recipe that I just have to try, even if it is a little more time consuming then I like... This was it - I mean look at the name of it... cheese?? bacon?? Who could resist? Especially since, for some reason, I have been craving cheese with this pregnancy. So, once again, I busted out all my pots and pans, spent a little more money on groceries this week and tried out this recipe. So, if you are looking for cheap, quick and/or healthy - do not even bother checking out this recipe... But, if you are looking for mouthwatering and utterly delicious - please continue!

Bacon-Cheese Stuffed Shells
(recipe found in Taste of Home)
Serves: 12

24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup butter, divided
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded asiago cheese, divided
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded romano cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in 1 tablespoon butter until tender. In a large bowl, beat ricotta and 4 ounces cream cheese until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup asiago cheese, parmesan cheese, bacon, 1 tablespoon parsley, garlic salt, nutmeg, pepper and mushroom mixture. Spoon into shells; place in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.

In a large saucepan, melt remaining butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add the cream, broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in romano cheese and the remaining cream cheese, asiago, and parsley. Pour over shells. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sugar Cookies

As you know, obviously I love to bake! I love sweets and I love me a good sugar cookie. Making them though has alluded me for years! I think that every year I find a sugar cookie recipe that I want to try, I follow the directions to a T and they still don't turn out... They are too sticky, they are too dry, they won't roll out EVER for me!! So, last year after Christmas, I begged, begged, begged my sister's mother in law for her recipe! Her sugar cookies are the yummiest and whenever they are at my sister's house my radar goes on and I am over there snacking on them!! So, this past weekend, the kids and I busted out the recipe, mixed it up on Friday, baked them on Saturday and frosted them on Sunday! Yes, believe it or not, I made it through every single step!! WAHOO!!! Finally a sugar cookie recipe that is a success for me... I will definitely be making these again for Christmas!

Sugar Cookies
(recipe stolen from Becky Johnson)

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
3 tablespoons cream (WHAT?? As I was typing this up, I realized that I totally missed that ingredient when I made them... What a dork I am! :)
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups flour

Cream butter. Add sugar, eggs and cream. Sift together dry ingredients and add slowly to the sugar mixture. Dough will be stiff. Chill at least 1 hour. Bake at 375 8-10 minutes. Keep extra dough in refrigerator while rolling out cookies.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Grands Meatball Pops

My friend Dawn clued me in to these delicious bites of goodness! So, if someone is going to suggest something to me, I better dang well try it! :) I ended up making a ton of them, so I called my sister and her clan over for supper and they inhaled every last one of them! They are usually a little skeptical of coming over for supper because I make "weird" things according to them, but this one she even asked for the recipe when we were done eating...

Grands Meatball Pops
(recipe found at

1 can (10.2 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (be careful what can you grab, this one is the size of 5 biscuits, I grabbed the one that included 8 biscuits!)
1/3 cup shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
10 refrigerated or frozen cooked beef meatballs, thawed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup finely crushed seasoned croutons
10 large appetizer picks or lollipop sticks, if desired
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Split each biscuit to make 10 rounds. Press out each biscuit half to form 3 inch round. Sprinkle each biscuit round with cheese to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top each with meatball. Bring up sides of dough over meatball; pinch edges to seal. Brush rounded tops and sides of dough with butter; coat with croutons. (At this point I just rolled the balls in the butter and then rolled them in the croutons.) Place; seam side down, on cookie sheet.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Place appetizer pick in each biscuit wrapped meatball to form meatball pop. Serve with warm pasta sauce for dipping.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love Halloween! It has to be one of my favorite holidays, right next to Christmas... I love decorating, carving pumpkins, dressing up the kids, trick or treating and everything else that goes with it!! We carved our pumpkins that other day and of course we had to save all the seeds!

I found this recipe a few years back and the page that it is on is so tattered that I can find it each year easily! I love the taste of these pumpin seeds and they remind me of how my mom used to make them! This year I quadrupled the recipe and Josh's response was - this is all that it made? Obviously they are a favorite in our house!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Line a 15x10 inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; spread into prepared pan. Bake at 225 for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to 325. Bake 5 minutes longer or until seeds are dry and lightly browned. Serve warm, or cool before storing in an airtight container.

Every year I have to bake these for much longer then 1 1/2 hours, I think because I overload my baking sheet! :) This year I actually put only the 2 cups on each sheet and they baked up in exactly 1 1/2 hours, even with me forgetting to bump up the heat to 325! Enjoy! I know the daycare kids and I did!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Swedish Apple Pie

This pie was easy to throw together, not so easy to get out of the pan though so I am glad that I took a picture of the whole pie instead of a piece of it! :) The taste was pretty good, but I would definitely leave out the raisins next time... They just didn't taste good to me, but I am not a huge, have to have raisins fan!! So, if you are, try it with the raisins and see what you think! :)

Swedish Apple Pie

2/3 cups raisins
3 medium apples (about 2 2/3 cups), peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)

Heat oven to 350. Place raisins in a small bowl, cover them with hot water and microwave them on high until they become plump, about 20-30 seconds. Drain the raisins, then combine them with the apple slices. Transfer the fruit to a 9 inch pie pan (it should be no more then 2/3 full). In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle the mixture over the fruit.

To make the topping, first melt the butter or margarine and set it aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and egg until they are evenly blended. Whisk in the butter or margarine, then spread the topping over the fruit and sprinkle on the nuts. Bake the pie until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve it warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if you like.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicken and Bacon Ranch Pizza

Pizza - like I said before, it is a family favorite! We tried this new recipe the other night with my brother and his kids and everyone enjoyed it... not as much as the hot dogs that they were having with it, but the adults really like it! :) (Yes, hot dogs and pizza, it was a random meal night...)

Chicken and Bacon Ranch Pizza
(recipe found in Pillsbury cookbook)
serves: 8

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated thin pizza crust
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 packages (6 ounces each) refrigerated cooked Italian style chicken breast strips, chopped (I just used regular chicken breasts cooked and chopped)
4 slices crisply cooked bacon, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup onion
1 large plum tomato, seeded, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 400. Spray or grease 15x10 inch or larger dark or nonstick cookie sheet. Unroll dough on cookie sheet, starting at center, press dough into 15x10 inch rectangle. Spread ranch dressing evenly over dough. Top with remaining ingredients. Bake 13-16 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

I made this without the tomato and onions, basically because I forgot to buy them when I went grocery shopping... whoops! It was still really tasty and Josh said that it was good as leftovers when he got back from hunting that night!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crescent-Topped Cheeseburger Casserole

I have made this recipe a few times and it tastes great everytime! Like a cheeseburger in a quick and easy hotdish form... The boys of course dig through and find the pickles first, but still save room for the rest of the hotdish!

Crescent-Topped Cheeseburger Casserole
(recipe found in Pillsbury cookbook)
serves: 6

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded american cheese
1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated flaky dough sheet
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat oven to 375. In a 10 inch nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium high heat 5-7 minutes, stirring freguently, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in pickles, water, ketchup, mustard and pepper. Spoon beef mixture into ungreased 11x7 (2 quart) glass baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.

Unroll dough (if using crescent rolls, pinch seams to seal); press into 12x8 inch rectangle. Cut into 6 squares; place on top of cheese. Brush with egg; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.

I do not own an 11x7 pan - so I went with the 2 quart version and used my round corningware... This worked just as well, but I only ended up using about half of the crescent rolls. It also baked a little faster then the 25 minutes, so it got a little darker then I would have liked it to...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Easy Reuben Sandwich Slices

I love sauerkraut, probably not when I was little, but the taste of it has grown on me! I am trying to instill this love in my children and they are doing not too bad with it! Beau was the only one that balked a little bit at this recipe, otherwise everyone else thought that it was delish! And what better time then fall to be dishing up a sauerkraut recipe! This was quick to throw together during naps and throw in the oven at supper time! I actually forgot that we had a picnic for ECFE on the night that we were having this, so it sat in my fridge from Tuesday afternoon until Thursday night when I baked it for supper - still super good!! :)

Easy Reuben Sandwich Slices
(recipe found in Pillsbury cookbook)
Serves: 4

2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated flaky dough sheet
2 tablespoons thousand island dressing
4 ounces thinly sliced deli corned beef
4 slices (1 ounce each) swiss cheese
1 cup sauerkraut with caraway seed, well drained (from 14 ounces can)
1 tablespoon horseradish mustard
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Heat oven to 375. Onto ungreased cookie sheet, unroll 1 can of dough (if using crescent rolls, pinch seams to seal.) Spread dressing on dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top with corned beef, swiss cheese and sauerkraut.

Unroll remaining can of dough on work surface. (I sprayed my countertop with cooking spray at this point so that it didn't stick...) Spread mustard to within 1/2inch of edges. Place mustard side down on sauerkraut. Press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 20-25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut into slices to serve.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pineapple Chicken

"This is so good!" That was about the only thing that was said during this entire meal! We were all loving it so much that there was not a lot of talking, just a lot of eating! :) I am not a big fan of frying chicken and the mess it makes, but this recipe was so worth it that I will definitely make it again!

Pineapple Chicken
(recipe found at
Serves: 4 (I doubled this recipe and had 6 people eating, we didn't have a lot left!)

2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoon cornstarch
corn or canola oil for frying

1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstartch + 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a bowl, cut 2 chicken breasts into chunks. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and egg. Cover and let marinate in fridge for at least 2 hours. Add flour and cornstarch to chicken to create a thick batter. Heat oil in large frying pan on medium high heat. Add chicken and fry until chicken is browned, turning if necessary. Remove chicken from oil onto plate lined with paper towels.

In a medium saucepan, combine pineapples and pineapple juice. Bring to a boil then add brown sugar and soy sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water into a paste. Pour into sauce and stir until thick enough to coat a spoon. Pour chicken pieces into saucepan and mix until thoroughly coated. Serve with steamed white rice.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Here is the other recipe that I tried for the steak fry! My hubby was craving something chocolatey that night and it worked out perfectly! They were eaten up in a snap!!

Oatmeal Fudge Bars
(recipe found at

Crust and Topping:
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso or instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the crust and topping:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil with nonstick baking spray. Whisk the oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter until combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of the oat mixture for the topping. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake the crust until light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

For the filling:
Whisk the flour, sugar, instant espresso, and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave, stirring often, 1-3 minutes. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the egg until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Spread the filling evenly over the cooled crust and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the reserved oat topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached and the filling begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Set on a wire rack and let the bars cool completely in a pan, about 2 hours. Remove bars from the pan using the foil, cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sugar Cookie Bars

These were absolutely fantastic!! My grandma and grandpa have an annual steak fry for my entire family and I volunteered to bring bars for dessert. I had a couple of recipes that I wanted to try and this was one of them. They were so good that I was glad that they didn't all fit on the plate that I was taking and we had some extras waiting for us at home! :)

Sugar Cookie Bars
(recipe found at

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup butter; at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons milk
food coloring, if desired

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add to butter mixture and mix just until combine. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet (13x18 or 10x15 jelly roll pan) or line with parchment paper. Gently and evenly spread out batter onto sheet.

Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes (mine took more like 20-25), until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To prepare frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until well combined, then add milk and mix until smooth and spreadable. Add a few drops of color if desired. Spread over cooled cookie and then cut into bars.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Pudding

I love Rachel Ray... Her show is hilarious, her recipes are usually pretty simple, but still delicious and I love trying them! To go along with the pumpkin mania that I have been having lately, I found this recipe for pumpkin pudding... I thought that it would be a great snack for the kids and it was, but not only that - I think that it would make a great, quick dessert!! We gathered up the pudding and headed over to my Grandma and Grandpa's for "coffee" and my Grandpa was licking his plate at the end. (For those of you that know my Grandpa, you know that this is a common practice with him!) Still, it has definitely received rave reviews from anyone that has tried it! I think that it would look great in a trifle dish...

Pumpkin Pudding
(recipe found at

1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15 ounces) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (5.1 ounces) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12 ounces) box ginger snaps

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin, spices, pudding mix and a 1/4 cup of water. Using an electric mixer, beat everything together until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until blended and no steaks of pudding remain. To assemble, layer the cookies and pudding mixture in a serving dish, in whatever fashion you like. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 8 hours (you want the ginger snaps to soften up from sitting in the pudding mixture).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blueberry Scones

I was being lazy this week... I had planned on making To Die for Blueberry Muffins for the kids for breakfast, but just couldn't work up the energy! :) So, I pulled out this recipe that I have tried once before and thought that I would see how the kids liked it... Pretty quick and easy to make and the reactions were mixed. Some of the kids chowed it down, some wanted to know "how many more bites?" I thought it was pretty tasty, hopefully you will enjoy it also!

Blueberry Scones
(recipe found in Parents Magazine)
serves: 8

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup low fat milk, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine 1/2 cup milk, oil and egg, then pour liquid mixture into dry mixture. Add blueberries and fold together. Flour your work area and turn dough over on it, then pat into an 8 inch circle. Score dough into 8 wedges, cutting halfway. Bake 20 minutes; finish cutting weges and place on a wire rack to cool.

Once the scones are cool enough to touch, mix powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons milk. Pour it into a squeeze bottle or drizzle it over scones with a spoon.

I used frozen blueberries for this recipe and it tasted really good. The cooking time did take a little longer, but I am not sure if it was because of the frozen blueberries or the fact that I doubled the recipe to have enough for the daycare kids!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Smores Ice Cream

So, I just got my new Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and can I just tell you - I LOVE IT!!! It is so much fun to make your own ice cream! Not the cheapest thing ever, but the creamy goodness that comes out of it is worth every penny! My favorite ice cream is soft serve, the kind that just melts in your mouth when you take a bite?? Oh my goodness, this is so close - the texture, the flavor, the cold on your tongue, WOW!!! I could go on for days, but I will try to control my excitement! I won't bore you with every recipe that I try, but I will highlight on a few - (I did make the vanilla first, just to test it out and that was delish, but is a staple in every ice cream making book I am sure, so I won't post the recipe here.) The daycare kids and I tried the Smores Ice Cream today... They thought it was wonderful and I thought it was pretty tasty too! Marshmallows in ice cream isn't really my thing though, so I wasn't too gung-ho about that part...

Not sure why the picture looks pinkish, but it really doesn't turn out a pink color! :)

Smores Ice Cream
(recipe found on
makes: 2 quarts

1 cup half & half
2 cups milk
3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 graham crackers, crushed
4-5 marshmallows, cut into small pieces
2-3 ounces of chocolate chips

Mix half & half, milk, sugar and vanilla together until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. 5 minutes before ice cream is done, mix in chocolate chips, crackers and marshmallows. Transfer to a freezer safe container and store in freezer.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Three Bears Bread

Brody and I saw this recipe in a Hightlights magazine that he had gotten in the mail and he wanted to try it so bad! So, even though it was from February of 09, whoops, we finally busted it out and made them up. They were definitely a hit in our house.. Josh was asking when I was going to make them again and the kids devoured them for snack! So easy and super adorable!!

Three Bears Bread
(recipe found in Highlights Hive Five Magazine)

1 pound of frozen bread dough, thawed
honey and butter for dipping

Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350. Use half of the dough to make three bears' bodies. use half of the remaining dough to make the bears' heads. Use the remaining dough to make the bears' legs, arms, ears, and noses. Add raisin eyes.

Cover the bears with a clean, lightweight towel. Put them in a warm place until they have doubled in size (60-90 minutes). Bake the bears for 16-18 minutes or until they are golden brown.

When we make this again, I think that I am going to brush it with a little melted butter and add some cinnamon to it before I bake it! I love bread, but I think that this would give it a little more kick! Also, mine were gigantic - I missed the 2 baking sheets part of these instructions, so I am guessing that the recipe should have made 4 bears... I assumed 2 from the pictures that they had on the page, so I doubled it to make 4! The kids all needed help to finish their bears, so I think that a smaller version would have worked just as well! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

I am in an everything pumpkin kind of mood, so watch out!! I was perusing a few websites and found a few recipes that I just had to try... So, I will start you out with this fabulous pumpkin bread with chocolate chips! It is so delicious and the kids and I ate it right up... Super easy to make too!

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips
(recipe found at
makes: 6 mini loaves (I used 4 mini loaves and a regular loaf pan!)

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 16 ounce can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon clove
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin together in a medium sized mixing bowl with a whisk. Mix them until well combined. In a separate bowl combine all the other ingredients but the chocolate chips and mix together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix just until combined. Then fold in chocolate chips. Spray bread pans with cooking spray and pour the batter in. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Stick a knife into the center to be sure the loaves are done. Let them cool on a wire rack.

The blog that I got this recipe from said that mini chocolate chips work the best because they don't sink to the bottom the way that regular chocolate chips do... I trusted her and went with the minis and it turned out great!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Here's another pumpkin recipe that I wanted to try out! The chocolate chips overpowered the spice a little bit, but it still had that pumpkiny taste in the background! They were very yummy and we definitely made a dent in the DOUBLE batch that I made! :)

Pumpkin Spice Waffles
(recipe found at

2 eggs (room temperature)
2 cups cake flour (or all purpose)
1 3/4 cups of milk (or water if you don't do milk)
1/2 cup veggie oil or melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chocolate chips

Beat eggs until fluffy. Mix together all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine with eggs, add milk and butter and mix well. Do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Use about a cup of batter mix per waffle in your waffle maker.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unbelievably Tender Pork Chops

I love my slow cooker, have I mentioned that? Here is a recipe that I literally threw together in about 10 minutes as I was racing out the door to take one of the kids to a doctor's appointment.. Am I the only one that does one too many things before leaving and then ultimately ends up late?? Whoops! Very simple and super delish - when we walked back in the house, the smell was UNBELIEVABLE!! I wanted to eat right then and it was only 10:30 in the morning! They were worth the wait... Sorry about the picture - they were literally falling apart tender and I had to really maneuver to get a whole pork chop out intact! :)

Unbelievably Tender Pork Chops
(recipe found in If I Gotta Cook, Make It Quick)
Serves: 6

6 pork chops
1 medium onion, sliced
1 (10 3/4 ounces) cream of celery soup
1/4 cup water

In slow cooker, place chops. Top with onions. In small bowl, combine soup and water, mix well. Pour over onions. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours.

Be careful with the timing on this one. My chops were verging on being a little dry and they were still semi frozen when I put them in the slow cooker. I also turned them to keep warm after only 7 hours. So, you might want to cut down the cooking time on this one or maybe even throw them in all the way frozen! Even simpler, what is better then that? :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crescent Dogs

I am always looking for new ways to use hot dogs in my daycare menus... The kids love them and they are a cheap menu option! This one was a hit for sure! It is the same old, same old with a twist and the kids love them!

Crescent Dogs

hot dogs
can of crescent rolls

Cut a slit in each hot dog. Place a small strip of cheese inside of the slit. Roll into a crescent roll and bake according to crescent roll directions!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spinach Dip

Oh, I was craving this so much!! I love spinach dip, with a nice soft bread to go with it... Yummy!! So, I gave my mom a quick call and got her "secret" recipe! Turns out it is on the back of the Knorr's dip mix package!! Works for me... Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Spinach Dip

1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
1 package (10 ounces) baby spinach, chopped, or 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
1 cup mayo
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped (optional)
3 green onions, chopped (optional)

Combine all ingredients and chill about 2 hours. Serve with your favorite dippers. Or my favorite way - hollow out a round bread bowl, saving chunks of bread for dipping and serve the dip inside of the bread bowl. I always buy some extra bread to make sure there is plenty for dipping!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Snickers Salad

This is a favorite of mine! I love bringing it to spur of the moment potlucks because it is so easy to throw together and it is so yummy that it gets eaten right away! Apples and chocolate, yum!!!

Snickers Salad

4-5 apples
1 bag of snickers
8 ounces cool whip

Chop apples and snickers into bite sized pieces. Combine in bowl. Add cool whip and stir gently to combine.

Thats it! How easy is that...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Makeover Tater Tot Hotdish

I love tater tot hotdish and when I saw this recipe that makes it a little healthier, I just had to try it! It has the meat and potatoes that a recipe needs to make the hubby happy!! It calls for thawing both the vegetables and the tater tots, but as usual, I forgot to do this so I just threw them in and it turned out great! It's always nice to skip a step!!

Makeover Tater Tot Hotdish
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)
serves: 8

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound extra lean ground turkey
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegatables, thawed and drained
3/4 cup french fried onions
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) reduced fat & sodium condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) reduced fat & sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup fat free milk
4 cups frozen tater tots, thawed

In a large skillet, cook beef and turkey over medium heat until no longer pink. In a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer the meat mixture, vegetables and onions. In a small bowl, combine soups and milk; spread over onions. Top with tater tots. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, October 8, 2010

English Muffin Pizza

Here's a quick and easy recipe that I use with my daycare kids quite a bit!! They love it and I don't have a lot of prep work, which makes it great when you have a houseful of hungry kiddos!

English Muffin Pizza

english muffins
pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 450. Place english muffin halves on a sheet pan. Spoon pizza sauce on each half and spread around. Top with pepperoni and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and browned.

I made this recipe the other day and realized that I had forgotten to pick up some pizza sauce. I had alfredo sauce in my fridge, so I substituted this and used mozzarella cheese instead of the regular cheddar that I usually use. The kids still loved it and Josh DEVOURED any extras that I had that night!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peach Crisp

Our fire department sells peaches as a fundraiser at the end of each summer, so I love to try new recipes with the peaches - as well as eat them constantly for breakfast, as a snack, etc. I love crisp recipes and found this peach crisp recipe on line. I doubled it for company that we were having and put it in a 9x13 pan. It was a little full and we could have easily gotten by with the regular amount! Whoops... at least there are a lot of leftovers for us to enjoy!

Peach Crisp
(recipe found at

6 cups fresh or frozen peach slices, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick butter, cold, cut in 8 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9" X 9" glass baking pan or 2 quart stoneware baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss peeled and pitted ripe peach slices with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour and lemon juice and arrange in prepared baking dish. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, oatmeal and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until blended. With the food processor running, add cold butter a few pieces at a time. Pulse until the butter is incorporated and looks like coarse meal. (If you don't have a food processor, just combine all topping ingredients and use a fork to combine together. Or use your hands like I do, it is a little messy, but it gets the job done! :)

Spread topping ingredients evenly over the peaches and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until peaches are bubbling through and the topping is starting to brown. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes or more before serving.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Black Bean Taco Pizza

Here's another recipe that I wanted to try that I knew Josh wouldn't be super excited about! :) Luckily he was home late from work and stopped for supper on the way home... Black beans and my hubby do not equal a happy camper! The kids and I enjoyed this recipe though - although the green chilies made it a little too spicy for Beau and had him grabbing his tongue quite a bit!

Black Bean Taco Pizza
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)
Serves: 6

1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 package (6 1/2 ounces) pizza crust mix
1 bottle (8 ounces) taco sauce
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup canned black beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
2 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat colby monterey jack cheese

Coat a 12 inch pizza pan with cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal. Prepare pizza dough according to package directions. With floured hands, press dough onto pan. Bake at 450 for 7 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spread with taco sauce. Top with tomatoes, beans, corn, chilies, onions and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Creamy Chicken Tacos

Can anyone say CROCK POT?? I love being able to throw something in the crock pot, leave it and come back to deliciousness for supper! This was a tasty taco recipe that I found... It even calls for starting with FROZEN chicken breasts!! It can't get any better then that!! You can add whatever taco toppings you want, but we just went with a little cheese and lettuce at our house! It was super easy and very yummy!

Creamy Chicken Tacos
(recipe found on
Serves: 6

5 FROZEN chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups salsa
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sour cream

Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray and place the chicken inside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all other ingredients but the butter and sour cream. Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Take the chicken out of the crock pot and place on a plate. Shred it all up with a fork and place back in crock pot. Add the little pat of butter and the sour cream, stir it all around until mixed together. Cook for an additional hour.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

French Cheeseburger Loaf

This recipe was so quick and easy and tasted delicious all at the same time! I got it ready during naps and threw it in the oven when it was almost supper time. A quick side of veggies and it was a great weeknight meal for our family!

French Cheeseburger Loaf
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)
Serves: 6

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 garlic, cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tube (11 ounces) refrigerated crusty french loaf
4 slices cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the flour, mustard and ketchup; set aside.

Unroll dough starting at the seam. Pat into a 14x12 inch rectangle. Spoon meat mixture lengthwise down the center of the dough; top with cheese slices. Bring long sides of dough to the center over filling; pinch seams to seal. Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush with egg white. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. With a sharp knife cut diagonal slits in top of loaf. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sugar Donut Muffins

I was looking for something yummy for the first day back to daycare for the kids to have for snack and I thought that I would try this recipe that I found. They were seriously so delicious!! OMG, I wanted to sit down and eat all of them by myself! Even the couple of kids that I have that either don't like muffins or don't like "sweets" loved these! They are definitely a keeper recipe that I will make again!

Sugar Donut Muffins
(recipe found on
Makes: 10

3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and egg until light in color. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract. Divide batter evenly into the muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes. When muffins are done, lightly brush the tops with the melted butter and dip into a bowl of sugar. Cool on a wire rack.