Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Cake

This is one dessert I don't make very often. It isn't that it is that complicated. Or that I don't want to. It is rather that I would eat it every day of my life if I could. And my waist certainly doesn't need that! So I typically make it once or twice each fall and then dream about it the rest of the year.

Oh, this recipe came from my co-worker Patti B. She made it for a faculty "reception" or something. I was hooked on the first bite. It is now a family favorite. I am sure with pumpkin in it, it has to be at least a little healthy. Right? :)

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cocoa
3 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups pumpkin (which is basically one regular can of pumpkin)

Mix sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla together well. I use my mixer to make sure it mixes well.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa, and cinnamon together. Add to the first mixture.

Add pumpkin.

Pour into prepare angel food pan or bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Caramel Sauce-
And yes, this is probably my very favorite part...
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in a small saucepan and add sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add evaporated milk and vanilla. Serve hot over cake.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

This Week's Menu (maybe)

Well, last week's menu and reality look nothing like. Nothing. I ended up having a stomach bug or something on our anniversary (which was actually Wednesday not Tuesday like I think I put last week), so there was no cooking that day! And then Thursday I thought I would go for a "comfort" food since I was feeling better. Then my sweet love looked at me and asked on a whim, "Do you think we could have soup tonight?" I guess the temps in the 40's get him in soup mode. Since he rarely requests foods, I had to at least attempt to meet his request. So chicken enchilada soup it was. And that ended up changing my plans last night since I had chicken dip on the menu. We had popcorn and shakes instead. See. I do try. But sometimes things go awry.

So here is the first possible menu for this next week. Always subject to change. :)

Saturday: fall pork tenderloin (crockpot), fingerling potatoes, black eye peas, rolls
Sunday: chili (cooked by someone else, even better :), pumpkin cake for dessert (recipe coming)
Monday: on your own
Tuesday: pancakes and bacon, fruit smoothies
Wednesday: parmigiano panko herb encrusted chicken (Pinterest)
Thursday: slow cooker jambalaya (Pinterest recipe)
Friday: pizza (not from home :)
Saturday: crockpot tostadas, salsa and chips

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Week's Menu

Well, here is a tentative menu for the week, always subject to change. :) In fact, I can almost guarantee it will.

Monday: Cream Cheese Chicken served with brown rice, garlic assagio bread, and corn (I left the ingredients and recipe for my mother in law since I was not here until the evening...she threw it all in the crockpot and it was ready when we got home!)
Tuesday: Mostaccioli, garlic bread, salad, possibly molten chocolate lava cakes (our anniversary)
Wednesday: pancakes and bacon, fruit
Thursday: French Dip (new recipe), sweet potato fries
Friday: Crockpot Chicken Dip (with chips)
Saturday: Not sure yet.

I am using my crockpot THREE times this week. Yeah for the Crockpot...and Crockpot liners!

What are you having for dinner this week?


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Honey Mustard Glazed Bacon Wrapped Chicken

This recipe was a Pinterest recipe. It was one of those foods I saw the photo of and just knew we had to try it. So this week was the week.

I found this recipe at this site. By the way, their photo is much prettier than mine. Oh, their name is different than mine...but it is basically the same thing. So thankful I happened upon it. It was quick, easy, and delicious.

1 lb. chicken breasts (cut into strips)...I will be honest. I just used chicken tenderloins. Much easier.
bacon slices (I just used regular, one strip per tenderloin
3 tbsp honey (I doubled)
2 tsp coarse mustard (I doubled)
fresh lemon juice (I didn't have fresh...mine was just from a lemon juice bottle)

Wrap a slice of bacon around each chicken strip/tenderloin.

Place the chicken on a cookie sheet (I used one with a little bit of a lip to contain the juices).

Mix together the honey and mustard. Squirt a little lemon juice into the mixture.

Brush on the bacon wrapped chicken with a pastry brush. (Use only half the marinade)

Bake at 425 for 10-13 minutes. I think I went more for 15.

Take out, flip the chicken and brush the other side with the remaining marinade.

Return to oven for 10-13 minutes.

Watch carefully.

I think I kept mine for a bit longer.

My bacon didn't get nearly as crispy as the picture showed it on the original recipe website.

But hubby checked it out and declared it fine.

That was all I needed.

Well, it was a hit. My family really liked it. Even my daughter (the one who won't touch anything mustard) chowed down on it, praising the meal. Of course, we waited until the meal was over to tell her that it had mustard in it.

I served ours with rice and French bread. I would have thrown in a salad or some raw veggies on the side but I didn't have any.

Happy cooking!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Week's Menu (short and sweet)

Here is the week's menu...short and sweet. Next weekend, Mark and I will be enjoying some food in the Windy City, so the kids are eating whatever their sitter feeds them. :)

Sunday: take out (we hiked all day and ate on the way home) We did have pumpkin muffins for breakfast. :)
Monday: braided spaghetti bread (Pinterest recipe), salad
Tuesday: Pork Chops Ole
Wednesday: baked potato soup, French bread, Chocolate Lave Molten Cakes for dessert
Thursday: honey glazed chicken strips (Pinterest recipe), wild rice, cheesy bread

Always subject to change. :)

What is for dinner at your house this week?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Potatoes

I have made a recipe similar to this many times but it always involved the cubed potato hashbrowns (Southern style). This recipe uses the shredded hashbrowns. Who knew a different way to cut potatoes could make such a difference in taste? These potatoes were DELICIOUS. I wanted to eat the whole pan myself.

This recipe came from Pinterest. The original recipe can be found here.

2 lb bag shredded hashbrown potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz sour cream (I did use light)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (I am pretty sure I used crew is not big into onions)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Spread potatoes in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. I used a glass dish.

Season with salt and pepper. I used freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground peppercorn.

Melt butter in the microwave.

In a bowl, mix butter, onion, soup, and sour cream.

Pour/spread mixture over the potatoes.

Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Garlicky Baked Shrimp

Yes, this is another Pinterest recipe.

As soon as I saw the picture and read the ingredients (garlic and shrimp and butter...yum!), I thought, "I need to make this." I knew going into it that it would likely just be hubby and I eating it but I was okay with that. Once in a while, that doesn't hurt. (I served side dishes I knew the kids would eat)

I had planned on making this on Thursday but when I looked at the schedule of events, tonight was the perfect night. And it was.

Here is the original recipe. I really didn't change much about need to!

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cloves of garlic, minced (I am not a good mincer...mine was probably a step up from minced :)
2 tbsp white wine (I just used white cooking wine)
salt and pepper to taste (I used freshly ground sea salt and ground peppercorn)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (I used plain. This was my first time to use Panko...OH YUM!)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (I just used scissors and cut off a fair amount...didn't really measure) I also threw in a little cilantro but it wasn't fresh
half a lemon-optional (I just sprinkled with lemon juice)

Note:  I didn't use white cooking wine recently due to some diet changes in the family. Instead I substituted brown rice vinegar.  We REALLY liked it.

Preheat oven to 425.

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, white wine, and the garlic. Pour into a baking dish. (Okay, I confess, I combined all this into one step. After peeling the shrimp, I spread them straight onto a 9 x 12 glass baking dish, then I poured the wine and garlic over the top. Next time I will use a slightly smaller dish. I also added a bit more of the cooking wine.)

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, mix the butter, Panko crumbs, and parsley. Spoon evenly over the top of the shrimp.

I wasn't sure where to add the lemon juice...I just sprinkled a little bit on before sticking the dish in the oven.

Bake 15-18 minutes until the shrimp is pink/opaque.

It reminds me a lot of shrimp scampi.

So yummy.

Hubby said he wanted a little sauce, but I wasn't sure what kind of sauce...maybe more butter?

I served this over angel hair pasta and topped it with some Parmesan. The kids LOVED the angel hair pasta. I also served an Italian herb bread and a salad.

Personally, I could have eaten the whole thing myself.

I won't make it often just because of the kids, but this WILL be on my table again.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekly Menu

Here it is, time for another weekly menu. Always subject to change. And I am sure it will. It always does.

Saturday: shakes and popcorn (our movie night while the boys go to the game)
Sunday: Pizza (hiking day)
Monday: Taco night, salsa and chips
Tuesday: On Your Own
Wednesday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Duchess Potatoes
Thursday: Garlicky Baked Shrimp/Angel hair pasta (Pinterest recipe)
Friday: Chicken Crescent Pockets
Saturday: Mostaccioli and Garlic Bread Sticks

What is for dinner at your house?

Friday, October 7, 2011

One Minute Peanut Butter/Chocolate Cake

This is another Pinterest recipe.

Last week, I tried another "microwave cake" recipe with the kids. It didn't work so well. It looked good but it was similar to eating a sponge.

So I was hesitant when I saw yet another microwave cake recipe.

Except the picture (the original one, not mine above) caught my eye. That and the whole peanut butter thing.

In fact, I couldn't get it out of my mind.

So that very night, I just had to try it myself.

And I liked it.

So this week, after dinner one night, I put all of the ingredients out on the table and I let the kids make their own.

The kids liked them too.

The original recipe can be found here.

1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder (NOT soda)
1 heaping tbsp flour
2 tbsp peanut butter (I use the "natural" kind)
2 tsp or so chocolate chips (I used the mini, semi-sweet chocolate)...this is optional :)
1 tsp milk
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Mix together the egg, brown sugar, baking powder, flour, peanut butter, and chocolate chips.

Spoon/pour into a greased ramekin.

Put in the microwave for 30 seconds. (I have been putting it for closer to 50...I try to be cautious when it comes to eggs.)

Meanwhile, stir together the milk and powdered sugar.

When the cake is down, pour the "frosting" over the top and enjoy.

I have made the "frosting" both times and it is okay but I would eat the cake without it too...

It is a nice quick fix for a sweet craving, and if you like peanut butter and chocolate, this will do the trick!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Yes, this looks just like the picture from the Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops I posted the other day. That is because I made both of these things together. And they were delicious together. But though I loved the pork chops, I am pretty sure I could have eaten the whole dish of mashed potatoes. Yum.

This recipe (just like the last) came from this website.

First of all, this recipe calls for roasted garlic. This step takes an hour and 15 minutes. Or in my case, 40 minutes because I didn't think ahead an hour. So, don't make the mistake I did. Plan ahead.

How to roast garlic:
Wrap a bulb of garlic in aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour at 350. After one hour, remove from oven and let it cool off. Then remove the needed number of cloves, peel skin off, and mash with a fork.

Okay, so here is the recipe for the potatoes.

4 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 tbsp butter
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan (mine was more fresh shredded)
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (I use the fresh ground)

Place potatoes in a large pan with cold water that covers the potatoes.

Bring to a boil.

Cook for 10-12 minutes (boiling). A fork should easily pierce the potatoes.

Drain the potatoes and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Use the mixer to mix on low until the potatoes are mashed.

Then add the remaining ingredients.

I think I added a little too much milk, so mine were a bit runny.

But even in their runny state, I enjoyed each and every bite!

Happy cooking!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekly Menu

Well, we did fairly well following last week's menu. This week should be easy...not many days to plan for due to sports and kid activities. The good news is that should slow down in a week or two. I am sure ready!

Here is our menu:
Sunday- Pizza (after a hike and no grocery store trip, a necessity)
Monday- Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (a Pinterest recipe...will share soon), wild rice, carrots and Ranch, and rolls
Tuesday- On Your Own
Wednesday- Ham steak, cheesy hashbrown potatoes (Pinterest recipe), black eye peas, 7 Up Biscuits (Pinterest), and possibly the one minute peanut butter cakes (Pinterest...I already tried one myself. Yum!)
Thursday- Teriyaki Chicken and white rice (Pinterest), veggies

Undecided about the weekend due to some sport/kid events.

I rarely list them but I do have strawberry smoothies a couple times a week, and the egg/cheese/bacon sandwich make for a good lunch for me!


What is for dinner at your house this week?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops

As you know, my latest "interest" is Pinterest. I have been trying to make at least one recipe from my Pinterest boards each week. As soon as I saw the picture and recipe, I knew it was next on my list.

This recipe actually has both a pork chop recipe and a mashed potato recipe, but I am going to separate them out to make it easier for me later when I am trying to find one or the other.

The recipe actually came from this site which apparently got it from this site. Not sure who came up with it originally, but whoever did, thank you. It is a very simple crockpot recipe yet oh, so good!

6 pork chops (I just used loins)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 envelope DRY Ranch dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley)

Place the pork chops in the crockpot. Of course, I am use my handy dandy liners for easy clean up later.

Pour the cream of chicken soup and Ranch dressing over the pork chops. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4. I did the low for 6.

Eat over mashed potatoes or rice...I imagine it would be good with either one.

Very simple, very tasty.

My favorite combination!

I will share the potato recipe soon...they were amazing!

Happy cooking,