Friday, December 31, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I tend to have an obsession with quick breads & fall and winter are always the time to try new recipes. So, after a few experiments & modifications, here's a fabulous Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread recipe:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
3 c. pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
2/3 c. water (1/3 c. if using fresh pumpkin)
3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. nutmeg
3/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 1/2-2 c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 2 loaf pans (or prepare and line 7 mini loaf pans). Combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar in a large bowl until well blended. In separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients and slowly mix them into wet ingredients until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter evenly into loaf pans and bake (1 hour for larger loaves, about 30 minutes or until top is firm for mini loaves). Let cool in pans for at least 10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Only the Best Sugar Cookies Ever!

Somehow I never posted these, even though Misty and I have been making them forever and pretty much wanna roll in them. Seriously, that's how good they are, and strangely they just get better the longer you have them. Anyway, here's the best, most buttery-soft sugar cookies ever! (And before you ask, NO, it's not a typo that there is twice as much butter as sugar :)
Sugar Cookies
2 c. soft margarine
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
4 c. flour
2 t. baking powder

Oven 350 degrees. Cream margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Chill thoroughly. Roll out and cut as usual (keeping portion of dough you are not using in refrigerator or freezer). Bake on ungreased cookie pan about 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Almond Buttercream (Wilton Recipe)
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 t. almond extract (or 1 t. vanilla for regular recipe)
4 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 T. milk

Cream butter and shortening. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, mixing on medium until blended. Add milk as needed to reach spreading consistency, whipping until light and fluffy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mimi's Cafe Buttermilk Spice Muffins

One of my favorite things is the Buttermilk Spice Muffins at Mimi's Cafe. You can find the recipe here along with some other great recipes. I am also anxious to try the Spinach and Artichoke dip and the Corn Chowder! I attempted the Buttermilk Spice Muffins and they turned out great!

Serves: 12
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 to 25 minutes


Muffin Batter:
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Butter or margarine
3 Eggs
2-½ cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Nutmeg
½ tsp. Cinnamon
¾ cup + 1 tbsp. Buttermilk

Nut Topping:
½ cup Sugar
1 cup Walnuts (finely chopped)
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and the butter together with an electric mixer. When they are thoroughly mixed, add eggs and beat one more minute.

  2. Sift the flour into a separate bowl, together with the baking soda, nutmeg and the cinnamon.

  3. Add the flour and the buttermilk to the first mixture, mix at low speed until smooth. To avoid lumps in the batter, add the wet and dry ingredients alternately, in small amounts.

  4. Make the nut topping: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

  5. Grease muffin tins with butter or margarine. You can also use paper baking cups. Fill each cup 3/4 full of batter. Add a full, rounded tablespoon of nut topping on top of each muffin cup of batter. Bake immediately or the topping will sink to the bottom of the muffin.

  6. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin should come out dry. Home ovens heat differently from commercial ovens so you may need to adjust the temperature or the baking time accordingly.

  7. Recipe yields 12 standard-size muffins, or six Mimi's-size muffins. If using the jumbo muffin pans, reduce the oven temperature by 25° and increase the baking time 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fruit Filled Bars

I have loved jam-filled bar cookies since I was a little girl and made the recipe out of "Make a Treat with Wheat." Doesn't that title make you wanna crack it open and get all that fiber flowing in your veins? Anyway, this is the Weight Watchers version, not as rich and buttery, but certainly tasty. (3 points each)
Easy Fruit Filled Bars
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (I used 1/2 c. regular whole wheat, and 1/2 c. all purpose flour)
3/4 c. quick oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. pecans, chopped (I left these out, and it was fine)
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 egg white
2 T. canola oil
1 T. fat-free milk
1 (10 oz.) jar fruit spread (I used apricot pineapple, but you can use your favorite jam)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease/spray 9x9" pan.
Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In small bowl, whip together egg white, oil and milk. Add egg mixture to flour, stirring until well blended. With fingers, blend until it forms moist crumbs. Reserve 1 c. of crumbs, firmly press remaining crumbs into prepared pan.
Bake until set and lightly browned on edges, about 10 minutes.
If needed, place fruit spread in small microwave-safe bowl, and warm slightly until easily spreadable. Spread jam evenly over warm crust and top with reserved crumbs. Bake until jam is bubbly at the edges and top is lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Let bars cool completely before cutting. Makes 16 bars.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Avocado & Chicken Salad

This is one of my favorite summer lunches. I don't have an exact recipe.

Avocado & Chicken Salad

1 Avocado
1 can of Chicken Breast
chopped Celery
Curry Powder

Chicken Salad:
Put 1 can of Chicken Breast in a bowl. Mix in a (2-3) of spoons full of Mayo. Mix in Curry Powder to taste. Add chopped Celery to mixture.

Place cut up Avocado on a plate. Top with Chicken Salad mixture. Add pepper to taste.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cheese Tortellini Salad

Cheese Tortellini Salad

Cheese Tortellini (I used the double pack from Costco)
Bernsteins Italian dressing
Olive Oil
Julienne sliced Sun Dried Tomatoes
Fresh Basil
Crushed Red Pepper
Parmesan Cheese

Cook the Tortellini per instructions on the package. Strain it. Once the Tortellini is room temperature add Bernsteins Italian dressing (I used the whole bottle for my double pack of Tortellini), a little Olive Oil (helps keep the pasta from sticking to each other), Salt & Pepper, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, a little crushed Red Pepper, and some Parmesan Cheese. Refrigerate until ready to be served.

* I do not have exact measurements. Just put in how much you want and what looks good. It is really simple and great for summer BBQs!



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Lasagna

I am proud to say that with my husband's help I made my first lasagna! I think I haven't made it in the past because it has too many steps, and also because I need more roughage in mine! Sorry I don't have a picture.

1 pkg lasagna noodles
1 lg carton ricotta cheese
2 eggs
Italian seasoning
1 lg zuchinni, chopped
1 lg squash, chopped
1/2 bag shredded carrots
2 T. minced garlic
1 can sliced olives
fresh spinach
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg regular pork sausage
1 lg can diced tomatoes w/juice
1 reg can tomato sauce
4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
parmesean cheese
garlic powder

*Cook and drain noodles, set aside. Cook sausage & onion until brown. Rinse & drain. Combine with tomatoes & sauce and set aside. Sautee vegetables and garlic in butter. Add spinach and olives for the last minute. Beat eggs & combine with ricotta and seasoning. Layer noodles on bottom of pan. Add cheese mixture, veggies, sauce, and sprinkle lightly with mozz cheese and garlic powder. Repeat layers. Top with another blanket of noodles & sauce. Top w/rest of mozz cheese. Sprinkle w/parmesean and garlic powder. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mozzarella & Tomato Salad Wrap

Mozzarella & Tomato Salad Wrap

  • Flat Out
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Mozzarella
  • Balsamic Vinegar

*You can buy them at Costco in a 3 pack.

Fill the Flat Out with Romaine Lettuce, chopped tomato, and cut up Mozzarella. Drizzle Balsamic Vinegar over the top and simply make it into a wrap! They are great for lunches!



Sunday, May 2, 2010

Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins

1/2 c. Shortening
1 c. Sugar
1 Egg
2 Bananas (mashed well)
1 c. Milk
2 c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt

Bake 15 min @ 375*

*The mini muffins are great for the little ones!

If you are not big on Bananas, try the Brown Sugar Muffins.

Brown Sugar Muffins

1/2 c. Shortening
1 c. Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 c. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Nuts (optional)

Bake 15 minutes @ 375*



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chicken Barbeque Salad

This is a really big bowl...perfect for tossing!
This has plastic wrap on top so not as bright.

Where are those avocados? It needs the green. :)

Chicken Barbeque Salad

This will feed a large group of people. I had it a couple weeks ago at my little sisters bridal shower. It was so YUMMY! I made it last week and split it in two bowls. One for my family and I took one to a friend who recently had surgery. You can definitely downsize to suit your needs. I put it together (about an hour before) , the bacon and chicken I had cooked previously. I waited to add avocado's at the last minute so they wouldn't turn brown. I forgot to take a picture with them. I knew I would....dang....they made it even prettier (I LOVE avocados). So picture how great it would look with avocado's between chicken and tomatoes.

Whole pkg. romaine lettuce chopped small (about 6 heads in lg. pkg from Costco)

1 can corn, rinsed

2 can black beans, rinsed

6 tomatoes, chopped small pieces

3 avocados, chopped

1 lb. bacon, cooked and broken in small pieces

1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded finely

5 chicken breasts, barbequed, chopped small, then added lots more barbeque sauce, put in tupperware bowl and tossed with bbq sauce. I actually grilled my chicken the night b4. It's served cold.)

1 pkg. Scotia Cheese, finely shredded I could not find this cheese. So I tried fetta.... it was a little strong for me. I think next time I'll just use a finely shredded....whatever is in my fridge. I love cheese, I think it would be good with almost any kind. Even blue cheese crumbles (again a little strong so not too much.

2 cups roasted & salted Sunflower seeds

1/2 large bottle of Ranch Dressing

I put the lettuce in the bottom, then put little piles of each item around edges in a circle, and the cheese in the center and left it for display. Then when time to serve toss it with the Ranch Dressing. We tossed without dressing and added our own so we could keep leftovers in fridge without getting too soggy. I ate it for three days in a row. Never got sick of it! Perfect summer lunch or dinner! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1lb hamburger
2 eggs
1t. worcestershire sauce
1t. salt
1c. oats
1/4c. chopped onions (optional)
1/2c. milk
dash pepper

Combine and form into balls. Place into casserole dish or on cookie sheet with edges. Cover with sauce.

3/4c. vinegar
1c. brown sugar
2t. mustard
1c. BBQ sauce
2t. worcestershire sauce

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

My friend Sara came over last night, and in an attempt to save some cash in our "going out" allowance, we stayed in, made dinner and watched an inordinate amound of Glee. I got hooked on her chicken recipe, and she got hooked on Glee, so it was good all around! We made this recipe, which from Rachel Rae's 30 minute meals, served it with rice and steamed broccoflower, and it turned out delicious! As usual, I can't just follow a recipe, I have to throw extra things in that I find in the fridge, in this case, we added extra chicken stock and about 1/2 c. whipping cream to make more sauce. Because you can NEVER have too much sauce! Here's the link:

Chicken Cord'on Bleu

This is a little French number that is super easy, but always makes my guests think I'm superwoman. Well, the secret's out now :)

1 Chicken breast per person (I make one and cut in half for the little people in my house)
Plain yogurt
1 roll ritz crackers, crushed
ham (you can buy canadian bacon round, chunks or even left over ham)
swiss cheese (i buy the pre-sliced so I can just grab a square and stick it in)

1. Pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/4" thick. This isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes rolling the chicken a ton easier.
2. Put some ham and swiss cheese on the chicken breast.
3. Roll the breast wide end to narrow as tight as you can.
4. Use the toothpicks to hold it closed. Sometimes you will use 3 or 4 to make this work. Depends on the shape of the chicken.
5. Dip chicken in yogurt, then roll in crushed ritz crackers (Yes, if you are a bread crumb or soda cracker person, I suppose those would be ok, but I use wheat ritz... just better for you:) )
6. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for an hour. Check it at 45 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts, it sometimes won't take the full hour.
7. You can serve this with lots of different combinations. ie: green beans and twice baked potatoes, or regular potatoes; rice and broccoli; lemon fettucine.... it is very versatile and very good.
OPTIONAL SAUCE: Mix together a can of cream of chicken with a cup or so of sour cream. Heat it up and drizzle over the chicken. Helps for moisture and completes the dish!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Salsa Verde Carnitas & El Torito Dressing

Salsa Verde Carnitas
(from Simply Recipes)


  • 3 1/2 pounds pork butt (pork shoulder)
  • 2 cups salsa verde, bottled, canned, or homemade
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano (or 1 teas dried)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt
  • 12 to 16 corn tortillas, heated and softened
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija Mexican farmer's cheese, or some grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Crema fresca, crema Mexican, or sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


1 Trim the excess fat from the roast. Put the meat in a large casserole or Dutch oven with salsa verde, onion, stock, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and oregano. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is very tender when pierced, about 3 hours.

2 Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove meat from liquid in pot and put the meat into a roasting pan. With 2 forks, tear meat into large shreds. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until parts are brown and crispy.

3. While the meat is roasting, skim and discard fat from liquid in the casserole pan. Boil juices, stirring, until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.

4 Return the meat to the Dutch oven. Stir in chopped cilantro. Season with salt.

Serves 6.

El Torito Salad Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp Original Ranch Salad Dressing Mix (Dry Mix)
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 c. Low-Fat Buttermilk
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup Fresh Cilantro (long stems cut off)
  • 2 Tbsp Roasted & Salted Pepitas
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/3 c. Vegetable Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
In blender combine all ingredients except oil. Whip or process until well bended or mixture is green. Slowly add oil through top cover of blender jar while motor is running. Process until dressing is smooth. Add Salt & Pepper to taste. If needed, refrigerate until well chilled. Serve as desired over chilled greens sprinkled with extra Pepitas.

El Torito Salad
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Pepitas
  • Queso Fresco
  • Tortilla Strips

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gingerbread Men

We made these for our New Year's Eve party. Yes, they are a BIG mess, but they are also a lot of fun for big AND little people. (I decorated two :)

Gingerbread Cookies
1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. molasses
2 T. vinegar
6-8 c. flour (until you reach desired stiffness)
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
3 t. soda
1 c. boiling water
Cream fats and sugar. Beat in egg. Add molasses and vinegar and mix. Sift together flour and spices. Dissolve soda in water and add alternately with flour to sugar mixture. Dough should be soft but rollable. Chill throughly.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough to desired thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Bake on greased sheet for 8-10 minutes. Cool thoroughly and ice with buttercream frosting (almond flavor is nice with these :) Decorate with whatever candies you like (we used mini marshmallows, Twizzler's Pull and Peel, M&Ms, sprinkles).