Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Banana Bread Revisited

My aunt gave us some homemade pear butter for Christmas. I wasn't sure how to use it, but I got an idea to put it in my banana bread. So, I altered the recipe.

Pear Banana Bread

The only difference between my original recipe and this one is that instead of four bananas, I used three bananas and 1/3 cup of pear butter, and instead of nutmeg, I used pumpkin pie spice. I also omitted the vanilla, but that was purely by accident (it tastes just as good without it). You can find my original banana bread recipe here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

WC Recipe Exchange: Stuffed Pepper Soup

This is the recipe I got for the winter WC Nesties exchange. The theme was slow cooker recipes.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I loved this recipe. My mother made a dish similar to this when I was growing up. Walter is not a fan of tomatoes or green peppers, but my mother is visiting and enjoyed it as well.

My WCer found the recipe at cre8tivequilter's blog.

-2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey; brown and drain (I use 1 pound)
-1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes; undrained
-2 cups white rice (uncooked Minute Rice)
-2 quarts water
-2-8 ounce cans tomato sauce, plain
-2 cups chopped green pepper
-1 teaspoon black pepper

-Brown sugar to cut the bite of the pepper (I did not use)
-2 beef bouillon cubes (Mine were flavored with onion and garlic)

In a slowcooker, combine ingredients & simmer 4 or 5 hours. ENJOY.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts

Now that Christmas is over, I have some time for real cooking again. Thank goodness.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts

I adapted this recipe from the one I found here at Elly Says Opa. I added some seasoning to mine and used the remaining seasoning on the baked potatoes I made with the chicken. I also didn't use smoked mozzarella, as the fake mozzarella I have to use does not come in the smoked variety.

-Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1/4 teaspoon curry powder
-1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
-1/4 teaspoon garlic and pepper
-1 teaspoon dried cilantro
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-Mozzarella cheese

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Cut a slit in each chicken breast, making a pocket. Stuff each chicken breast with mozarella cheese.
3. Rub each breast with the dry seasoning and wrap two to three pieces of bacon around it. Place each breast on a baking pan (place another pan under it, if necessary, to catch drippings).
4. Bake breasts at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peppermint Cake

I LOVE this recipe. I sent it in for the WC Nesties holiday sweets exchange. Can't wait until the other Nestie tries it...and I hope she likes it!

Peppermint Cake

This recipe comes from my favorite Food Networker, Paula Deen. It can be found in the November/December 2008 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen.


-1 cup butter, softened
-2 cups sugar
-4 large eggs, separated
-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/3 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
-1 recipe White Chocolate Frosting


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour (I used three cake pans instead of two this time).
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in peppermint extract.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in sour cream and crushed peppermints, just until combined.
4. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peak forms. Gently fold into batter.
5. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Wrap cake layers in heavy-duty plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
6. Using a serrated knife, cut each layer in half horizontally to make 4 layers (I did not do this since I had three layers already). Place 1 layer, cut side down, on a cake plate; spread with 1/2 cup White Chocolate frosting. Repeat procedure with remaining three layers. Spread sides and top of cake with remaining frosting.
I also garnished the top of the cake with more crushed peppermint pieces.

White Chocolate Frosting

This is the best frosting I have ever tasted.

-8 (1-ounce) squares white chocolate
-3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
-3/4 cup butter, softened
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-9 cups powdered sugar


1. In a medium bowl, combine white chocolate and cream. Microwave on High in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and smooth (about 1 1/2 minutes total). Let cool completely.
2. In a large bowl, combine chocolate mixture and butter. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add vanilla, beating until combine. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.

Chocolate Oreo Truffles

The WC Nesties are on truffle overload right now, and I didn't think I would be participating. But when my chocolate cheesecake failed (again), I needed something quick that I had all of the ingredients for, and lo and behold, truffles were it.

Chocolate Oreo Truffles

This recipe comes from the Taste of Home Simple and Delicious magazine, December 2008 issue. They made them into cute little mice, but I didn't have the extra ingredients for that (black licorice tails, almond slice ears, and red nonpareils for eyes), so I just made them regular truffles. The recipe below is written with my adaptations.

-2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
-2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, divided (I used Oreos, cream included)
-1/3 cup sour cream
-Dusting of powdered sugar

1. Melt chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the Oreo crumbs and the sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until easy to handle.
2. Roll about one tablespoon of the chocolate chip mixture into a ball. Coat with additional Oreo crumbs and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Mint Cremes

Holiday baking has begun! I must say, cookies are probably my favorite things to make.

Chocolate Mint Cremes

I got this recipe from the Taste of Home Christmas Cookies and Candies booklet. It's a great little booklet because each recipe is on a pullout card. Makes things very easy for me!


-1 cup butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
-2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (I used bittersweet chocolate)
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon cream of tartar
-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/4 cup butter, softened
-2 cups powdered sugar
-2 tablespoons milk
-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (I used 1 teaspoon)
-Green and red food coloring

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar. Add the chocolate, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture, beating well. Shape dough into a 2-inch diameter roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or until firm.
2. Unwrap dough adn cut into 1/8-inch discs (Instead, I rolled the dough out and cut it with a bell-shaped cookie cutter). Bake at 400 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine frosting ingredients other than food coloring. Divide frosting in half and color one half with the red and one with the green. Frost cookies. Store in airtight containers.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WC Holiday Sweets Exchange--Chocolate Dipped Orange Butter Cookies

This is my first year as a WC Nestie, and I was VERY excited to participate in the recipe exchanges. When I got this recipe, I was thrilled, because it seemed easy and fun--and it was.

I made these for a dinner at Walter's office. Hopefully they will be a big hit. Walter stole a couple today when he came home from lunch and loved them.

Chocolate Dipped Orange Butter Cookies

Before I begin, I have to gush. This dough was the BEST cookie dough I have ever worked with. It was so easy to handle and work with, it smelled wonderful, it cooked easily--I was absolutely thrilled with it all around. The cookies themselves were also great--fluffy, with just the right amount of orange without being overpowering. I will definitely be making these (and non-orange variations) often.

I did make one change to the recipe, but it was more presentation than anything. Instead of rolling the dough into tubes and cutting circles for the cookies, I rolled out the dough and used a star-shaped cookie cutter. I also found that I needed about 1 ounce more of each of the chocolates, but I think that is because the star-shapes took a little more coverage than the regular circles would have. I cannot stress how much I LOVE this recipe.

-1 cup butter
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp pure orange extract
-2 1/3 cups flour
-3 tbsp coarse sugar
-2 oz bittersweet chocolate
-2 oz semi-sweet chocolate

1. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla and orange extracts. Gradually beat in flour.
2. Roll the dough into logs about 2 inches in diameter, wrap them in clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. When thoroughly chilled, slice the dough with a sharp knife into 1/4″-thick discs. (I only chilled it for about two hours, and then I rolled it out and cut it with the star cutter. Then I chilled the cutouts overnight)
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. (I used red and green sugars for this, but I think orange would look nice since they are orange cookies)
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove pans immediately and place on wire rack to cool. After a few minutes, take the cookies off the pan and move them to wire racks to cool completely.
5. While cookies cool, heat chocolate in a double boiler. After cookies are cooled, dip them halfway into the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to cool.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peppery Cheesy Garlic Bread

Tonight, I am making pasta for dinner. Penne with sausage and Prego. Not exactly a culinary masterpiece, but it tastes good. I found this recipe on my bedside table (I don't even remember writing it down) and thought it would be a good touch. So, here we go.

Peppery Cheesy Garlic Bread

I got this recipe from the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook. I added garlic powder and took out the green onions (as I had none), and I used sour cream instead of yogurt, but I don't think it would be bad at all without my modifications, either.

-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 Tablespoon sugar
-2 teaspoons pepper
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2/3 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1 8-oz container of plain yogurt (I used sour cream instead)
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/4 cup milk
-1 Tablespoon spicy brown mustard
-1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced (I ommitted).
I also added 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and an additional dash of garlic powder to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the first six ingredients (and, if using, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder). Make a well in the center of the mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together eggs and the next six ingredients. Add this mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until moistened.
4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan (If desired, sprinkle the top of the batter with additional garlic powder once it has been formed into the loaf pan)and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a pick stuck into the middle of the bread comes out clean.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Inside-Out Cheesy Cheeseburgers

Inside AND outside, for mine. Walter would have had extra, but we ran out of cheese.

Inside-Out Cheesy Cheeseburgers

There is the outside, piled high with deliciousness.

And the inside, with lovely cheese oozing about. Mmm.

I, of course, did not invent the inside-out burger. However, the one I make is my own recipe.

Ingredients (for one burger)
-1/2 pound ground beef
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 teaspoon seasoned meat tenderizer
-1/3 teaspoon chili powder
-2 slices of cheese

1. Season raw meat with onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned meat tenderizer, and chili powder. Separate the meat into two equal parts and make into patties.
2. Make a well in the center of one patty and tear one slice of cheese into eight pieces. Pile pieces of cheese into the well.
3. Fit other patty over the cheese patty and shape the patties together.
4. Cook burger until done, when the center registers 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Today is not my day to cook. While cooking the chicken, I set off the fire alarm. Then, while cutting onion for my sandwich, I sliced my thumb. However, the food, somehow, turned out delicious. Amazing and maybe a little lucky. We also had no buns, only bread, which caused the sandwiches to be pretty messy, but it worked out.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

I got this recipe from Rachael Ray. I can't stand to watch her show, but I love her food.

-Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-Pepper (I used garlic pepper)
-1 teaspoon sweet paprika
-1 teaspoon chili powder
-Olive Oil
-2 Tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup cayenne pepper sauce
-2 cups sour cream
-4 scallions, thinly sliced
-1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled
I ommitted the last three ingredients, although Walter did use sour cream on his sandwich. I also added 1 teaspoon of barbecue sauce.

1. Combine salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder in a bowl, and coat chicken in mixture. Toss seasoned chicken in olive oil and cook in a skillet over medium heat for five minutes on each side until done.
2. Melt butter. Mix butter, cayenne pepper sauce, and barbecue sauce (if using). Toss cooked chicken, coating each breast evenly.
3. If using, combine sour cream, scallions, and blue cheese. Spread on bun or bread. Top sandwich with preferred vegetables.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spicy Sloppy Joes

I adore slow cooker recipes. They are done when Walter gets home from work, and I don't have to worry about wearing myself down by the end of the day and still having to cook.

Spicy Sloppy Joes

These are very spicy and very sloppy. I cannot say if they are very Joey, but now things are borderline inappropriate. ;) They were a bit too liquidy, so I added a couple of handfuls of flour. I also used tomato sauce instead of juice because I misread the recipe whilst shopping...

I got this recipe here at Recipezaar.

-1 1/2 lbs ground beef
-1 large onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced (I used 5 cloves. Yes, 5. We really like garlic)
-1 6-ounce can hot-style tomato juice (I used 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce)
-1/2 cup catsup
-1/2 cup water
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-2 tablespoons chopped canned jalapeno peppers
-1 tablespoon prepared mustard
-2 teaspoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-Shredded cheese (optional)
I also added 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped.

1. Brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain fat if necessary.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a slow cooker. Stir in meat, onions, and garlic when prepared.
3. Cook, covered, for 6 to 8 hours on low heat or 3 to 4 hours on high heat.
4. Spoon mixture onto buns or bread. Top with shredded cheese if desired.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lemon Cilantro Chicken

Tonight, I was going to make garlic chicken with a bottle of marinade, but I was cleaning up the kitchen and found this recipe on the back of my jar of cilantro.

Lemon Cilantro Chicken

I found this recipe on the back of my jar of McCormick cilantro leaves. It was originally cilantro-lime chicken, but I had no lime juice, only lemon juice, so I modified it a bit. Walter got ahold of the better-looking breast before I could snap a picture, so ignore his gigantic baked potato.

-1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
-1/3 cup oil (I used Olive Oil)
-1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon cilantro leaves
-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
-1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (I used poultry seasoning here)

1. Combine ingredients and toss chicken in mixture. Refrigerate for thirty minutes.
2. Grill or bake (400 degrees) chicken for ten minutes or until the center of each breast is 165 to 170 degrees.

Friday, November 28, 2008

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have two more Thanksgiving dinners to attend. This one is for my father's side.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

I got this recipe from a friend and modified it a bit. I'll just post my final recipe.

-2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sleeves)
-1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of sugar, divided
-1/4 cup butter, melted
-3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softended
-3/4 cup pumpkin puree
-3/4 cup white chocolate, melted
-3 eggs
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 Tablespoons caramel sauce for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. For crust, combine graham cracker crumbs (I used a blender to crush them quickly) with melted butter and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Mix together and press into a lightly greased 9-in. springform pan. Set aside.
3. For filling, mix cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin, white chocolate, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice, and mix until combined. Pour into springform pan and place pan on in a shallow baking pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and drizzle caramel topping over the cake. Chill until ready to serve.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cranberry Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These were a lifesaver today. My pumpkin fudge didn't set, so I needed something to take to dinner tonight. I just added some Craisins to some oatmeal raisin cookies, and viola.

Cranberry Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I got this recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Really, anyone who doesn't have the checkered cookbook needs to get it NOW.

-3/4 cup butter, softened
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional) (Instead of cinnamon and cloves, I used 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-2 cups rolled oats
-1 cup raisins
-1 cup Craisins sweetened dried cranberries

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds.
2. Add brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice (if using). Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
4. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
5. Stir in oats, raisins, and Craisins.
6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungerased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are golden. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Volcano Chili

I do not like chili. Walter loves chili. I do, however, like this chili (my own recipe). However, I have a sensitivity to tomatoes that poses a problem: If I eat anything spicy that is in a tomato sauce, my throat swells, and I cannot breathe. So, grilled cheese for me tonight. But Walter is quite pleased.

Volcano Chili

Walter likes to load his with shredded cheese and saltines. If I could eat it, I think it would be great with the grilled cheese I am having.

-1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef
-1/2 medium onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
-5 jalapeno pepper slices (roughly one whole jalapeno), minced
-1 can chili beans, undrained
-1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
-3 Tablespoons chili powder
-1 Tablespoon Cumin
-2 Tablespoons crushed red pepper
-1 Tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
-1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
-1 Tablespoon onion powder
-3 Tablespoons Garlic and pepper seasoning
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 1/2 teaspoon barbecue sauce

1. Brown grown beef. Drain off fat if necessary.
2. Combine all ingredients in a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring halfway through and before serving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spicy Penne with Sausage

There is entertaining tonight, so I thought I'd make something spicy and fun!

Spicy Penne with Sausage

This recipe...I got it from Guy's Big Bite on the Food Network. I changed it quite a bit, or at least enough that it has a different title in our home than on his website. Regardless, it is adapted from his. His idea of "spicy" is much different from ours...But I am going to write the recipe how I have it written on my recipe card (ie, the way I make it), not so much the way he does it. The link above will show you what it was originally.

-1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
-3/4 cup canola oil
-1/3 cup lemon juice
-1 1/2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
-2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I generally use 3)
-1 1/2 Tablespoons red pepper flakes
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/2 teaspoon Garlic and Pepper
-1 teaspoon Cajun Spices
-2 Tablespoons Thai Garlic Chili sauce
-1 Tablespoon dried cilantro leaves
-Olive Oil
-Smoked sausage, sliced thinly
-2 cups cream
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1 pound cooked penne
-Shredded cheese (Walter likes cheddar jack)

1. Combine first eleven ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. Cook sausage in olive oil on high heat until brown on both sides. Lower heat to medium and add cream, 3/4 of the Chipotle sauce, salt, and pepper.
3. Add cooked penne and toss together. Top with remaining sauce and shredded cheese if desired.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Last time I attempted this, I forgot to add the marshmallow creme. This time, I nearly forgot the butter (I added it in at the wromg time, after I had removed the mixture from heat), and I ended up adding more pumpkin pie spice than they called for, but it turned out okay. Maybe a little too sweet, but it is still delicious, and I am sure that Walter's co-workers won't care.

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

I got this recipe from Annie's Eats, who found it at Confections of a Foodie Bride (what a clever blog title!). I had never made fudge or any sort of candy, but it was incredibly simple to make (and would have been even easier if I had remembered to add all of the ingredients). It's a great fall/Thanksgiving treat!

-3 cups sugar
-3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
-2/3 cup evaporated milk
-1 cup canned pumpkin puree
-2 tbsp. corn syrup
-2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-9 oz. white chocolate, chopped
-7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
-1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted (I ommitted, as I am allergic)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Stir together the first six ingredients in a over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly a candy thermometer registers 234 degrees.
2. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended.
3. Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined pan. Let stand (I refrigerated it) for 2 hours or until firm. Cut into squares and serve.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sweet-Hot Asian Noodle Bowl

Before I begin, I must apologize. I don't know where I got this recipe. When I first started cooking, I checked a lot of cookbooks out at the local library and wrote down the recipes I wanted to try. So, if anyone knows where this recipe comes from, or has seen a similar one elsewhere, let me know.

Sweet-Hot Asian Noodle Bowl

This is a fantastic, colorful, flavorful dish. It reheats well (or is great cold!) and is very versatile. It works well as a vegetarian dish (just remove the chicken) and goes well at parties. It is a little spicy (if you do it right, according to Walter), but as you have probably noticed, most foods I make are.

-3/4 cup vinegar
-1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup honey
-2 Tablespoons minced ginger
-2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
-1 Tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
-1/4 cup dried chopped cilantro
-16-ounce package of Spaghetti or any long noodle (Asian noodles work great!)
-1 large red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
-1 large red onion, sliced
-1 Tbsp. sesame seeds (I omitted)
-2 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
I also used an additional 4 Tablespoons of chili-garlic sauce, 1 Tablespoon garlic Hoisin sauce, and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice.


1. Whisk together the first seven ingredients (And, if using, the hoisin and lemon juice). Set aside.
2. Cook chicken, onion, and bell pepper together until chicken is cooked thoroughly and onion and pepper are soft (but still retain their color). I cooked the chicken, onion, and pepper in the additional 4 Tablespoons of chili-garlic sauce for more flavor. Boil pasta until soft.
3. Combine sauce, pasta, chicken, and vegetables. Toss to coat.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mini Meat Turnovers

These are cute, easy, and fun. I did find that there were A LOT of them, but as they were small and reheated well, it was not much of an issue. They also make great appetizers.

Mini Meat Turnovers

This recipe is adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites cookbook.

-12 oz. lean ground beef
-1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
-1 tsp. chili powder
-1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
-1 1/2 tsp. snipped fresh cilantro
-1 10- to 12-oz. pkg. refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10)
-Salsa (optional)
I also added shredded cheese, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and 1 teaspoon of onion powder.

1. Brown ground beef; drain off fat. Stir in tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, and garlic powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro.
2. Grease a large baking sheet; set aside. Separate biscuits; cut each biscuit in half horizontally. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of biscuit dough into a 4-inch circle. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling (and, if using, cheese) onto half of each circle. Fold opposite side of circle up and over filling. Brush edges with a little milk; seal edges with a fork.
3. Place filled turnovers 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet; brush with milk. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm. If desired, serve with salsa for dipping.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fried Rice

Walter loves fried rice, quite possibly more than anything else. He orders it at the Mongolian restaurant every time we go. So, when I started making it at home, he was pretty pleased.

The chicken is very simple and lacks a recipe. I just take two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and drop them in a KC Masterpiece Honey Teriyaki marinade (and a tablespoon of hoisen sauce) a few hours before (it's a 30-minute marinade, but the longer you do it, the more flavorful they are). Bake them in an oven preheated to 425 for 15-20 minutes or until the middle of the breast is 170 degrees or higher, and you have some chicken.

Fried Rice

I got my original recipe here at allrecipes.com (I get so much from that site). I did alter it a bit, though, as I alter everything.

-2 cups enriched white rice
-4 cups water
-2/3 cup chopped baby carrots (I tend to use shredded carrots)
-1/2 cup frozen green peas
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-2 eggs (Tonight, I used no eggs because we had none)
-soy sauce to taste
-sesame oil, to taste
I also use 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn

1. In a saucepan, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. If using chopped carrots, boil for 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Thaw peas and corn thoroughly. Heat wok (or frying pan) over high heat. Pour in oil, then stir in carrots, peas, and corn; cook for about thirty seconds. Crack in eggs and scramble them with the vegetables. Stir in the cooked rice. Shake in soy sauce and sesame oil (I always use a LOT of these) and toss rice to coat. Cook until browned to your liking.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

I almost feel silly posting something so simple in my blog, but why not? It is delicious and fantastic.

Growing up, the only time my father cooked was when we had breakfast for dinner. This was not incredibly often, but it was not uncommon, either (probably once every two weeks). Walter's family had "brinner" on a fairly regular basis as well. After we got married, we met a number of people who were not familiar with the concept, and it was so mind-boggling to us. Are we the only "brinner" fans out there?

Anyway, I love this French toast. It's sweet and fantastic, and so simple!

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

I have also made other variations of this--chocolate and strawberry (by adding chocolate or strawberry syrup to the milk), brown sugar and cinnamon (by using different bread), etc. It is so fun and easy to switch things up.

-1 egg
-1 cup milk (I use vanilla soy milk because of my lactose intolerance)
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
-8 slices Pepperidge Farms Raisin Cinnamon bread (or any bread you prefer, but this is where you get the raisin)

1. Preheat griddle to 300 degrees. Combine egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed.
2. Coat each slice of bread in egg and milk mixture. Place each slice on the griddle.
3. Cook each side for about 1-2 minutes, or until browned. Serve with syrup, powdered sugar, fresh fruit, butter, or whatever you prefer to have with your French toast.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Festivities

Our party turned out great! I cooked for eight hours that day, and almost everything turned out. The pumpkin fudge failed because I forgot to put in the marshmallow creme, and the cheese fountain became a cheese bowl because the fountain idea just didn't fly. Alas...

Halloweenie Mummies
These were the hit of the party! I got them from Pillsbury's Halloween magazine.

-1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated flaky dough sheet
-44 cocktail-size smoked link sausages (from a 1-lb package)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two 15x10x1-inch pans with cooking parchment paper.
2. On work surface, roll dough sheet out to 14x11-inch rectangle. Cut vertically to make two 11x7-inch rectangles. Cut crosswise for a total of 44 (7x1.5-inch) strips. Pat sausages dry with paper towels.
3. Wrap 1 strip of dough around each sausage to look like a little mummy; press firmly at each end to secure. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart for even browning.
4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Eyeball Cupcakes

These cupcakes were sort of overlooked. I think everyone thought they were decorations! I sent them home with people, but we still have way too many.

There's not much of a recipe for these. I used white cake mix and white premade icing because they were both non-dairy. For the eyeball look, I frosted the cupcakes with white icing and used gummi Lifesavers for the irises and chocolate chips for the pupils (you could also use M&Ms or jellybeans). I used red decorating icing to make them look bloodshot. Easy and fun!

Slime Punch

Again, pretty simple. One container of lime sherbet and a 2-liter bottle of Sprite. Combine and serve.

Jalapeno Hummus with Flatbread Chips
I had never had hummus before, and neither had Walter. I knew he'd like it better with some spice, so I made the jalapeno recipe. It was good, but my kitchen smelled like garlic and tahini for the rest of the day and made me feel really ill.

The flatbread chips were simple. I bought some Italian seasoned flatbread and cut it into ghost, cat, and bat shapes with small cookie cutters. Then I brushed each piece with olive oil and ground black pepper and baked them for about 5 minutes until they were crunchy.

I found the recipe for the hummus here at allrecipes.com

-1 cup garbanzo beans
-1/3 cup canned jalapeno pepper slices, juice reserved
-3 tablespoons tahini
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon curry powder
-crushed red pepper to taste

1. In a blender or food processor, mix the garbanzo beans, jalapeno peppers and reserved juice, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. Season with cumin, curry powder, and crushed red pepper. Blend until smooth.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

I love these. I eventually ran out of orange sugar, so some of them aren't candy corn-esque... Oh well. The recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It is probably my favorite cookbook ever.

-2/3 cup butter, softened
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 egg
-1 Tablespoon milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing (optional) I did not use this. I used Wilton's white microwaveable cookie icing and yellow and orange decorating sugars

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time until 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. If desired, frost with Powdered Sugar Icing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spicy Swiss Steak

As I believe I have mentioned before, I cannot for the life of me follow a cooking recipe exactly (baking is usually a different story since things need to be more exact). I add garlic and onion powder to pretty much everything, and if there's a way to make it spicy, I do that, too. Walter loves flavorful, spicy food, as do I (although, his spice threshold is much higher than mine).

So, this is the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens plaid cookbook. It's a classic recipe, but I thought it was a little boring, so I kicked it up a bit.

There are both skillet instructions and oven instructions. I love my skillet, so I have never made it in the oven, but I am sure it is just as good.

Spicy Swiss Steak

-1 pound boneless beef round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
-2 tablespoons flour
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used EVOO)
-1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, undrained
-1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings (I diced mine)
-1/2 cup sliced celery Omitted
-1/2 cup sliced carrot Omitted
-2 cups hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes
I added 1 tablespoon garlic powder, one tablespoon onion powder, 1/2 tablespoon seasoned meat tenderizer, a handful of jalapeno slices (about 6), and 1/4 cup jalapeno juice.

1. Trim fat from meat. Cut into 4 serving-size pieces. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper (I added the garlic and onion powders and seasoned meat tenderizer to this mixture). With the notched side of a meat mallet, pound flour mixture into meat.
2. In a large skillet brown meat on both sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Add undrained tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrot (and jalapenos and juice, if using). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 1 1/4 hours or until meat is tender. Skim off fat. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.

Oven Directions: Prepare and brown meat in skillet as above. Transfer meat to a 2-quart square baking dish. In the same skillet combine undrained tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrot (and jalapenos/juice). Bring to boiling, scraping up any browned bits. Pour over meat. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven about 1 hour or until tender. Serve as above.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spicy Cajun Chicken Breasts

This recipe came from me staring at the food we had in the kitchen and saying, "How can I make this a meal?" I've seen similar recipes around since then, so apparently it's good for others, too. I usually dip mine in dijon honey mustard, but I do that with many kinds of chicken. It's a very simple, easy, and cheap recipe, and it's great if you like a little spice.

Spicy Cajun Chicken Breasts

-2/3 cup flour
-1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
-1/2 Tablespoon ground red pepper
-1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon paprika
-1/4 teaspoon seasoned meat tenderizer
-2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine first eight ingredients in a bowl.
3. Bread chicken breasts in dry mixture, making sure each breast is thoroughly covered.
4. Cook at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until center of each breast reaches 170 degrees or higher.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Skillet Supper

When Walter and I got married, I was not the domestic goddess I am today. I was not a very good cook at all. Numerous times, he brought up his mother's meatloaf. This wasn't just any meatloaf. He talked about it as if it were the food of Valhalla or some such. So, once I became more of what I am today, I wanted to make this meatloaf. The problem was that his mother passed away a few months before our wedding, and he was "certain" that she never wrote the recipe down. After a while it occurred to me to ask his aunts, my late mother-in-law's sisters, if they knew the recipe. Apparently it was originally from Walter's grandmother, and they happily provided it for me. I made very minimal changes, and now it's made almost weekly.

I don't even like meatloaf, normally, but I love this. It is a little different since it doesn't use catsup or any other tomato-based sauces, but if you wanted to eat it with them, I imagine it would still be good (Walter dips his in A1 Steak Sauce).

Skillet Supper

-2 pounds ground beef
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup cracker crumbs (about 20)
-2 tablespoons onion
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 stick butter or 1 can mushroom soup (I always use butter, and Walter says his mother never used the soup, either, but this is what I was told)
-4-6 potatoes, sliced or cubed
-2 cans of green beans, drained
I also add Soul Food Seasoning to the meatloaf mixture

1. Preheat electric skillet to 325 degrees.
2. Mix together first six items and form into a loaf.
3. Cut potatoes and drain green beans
4. Place loaf and vegetables in skillet and immediately reduce heat to 250 degrees.
5. Spoon soup or butter around loaf and vegetables.
6. Cook covered for 35 to 45 minutes or until center of loaf is 160 degrees or warmer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinach

This was somewhat of a failure, but I will post it anyway. I did not mess up the recipe. In fact, I think that most people would enjoy it. However, Walter and I have discovered that we just do not like gnocchi. We are both texture eaters, and the texture is just not something we like. The sausage and the spinach were nice, and they mixed well with the garlic and onion, so I may try those with some other pasta, like penne or rigatone. So, somewhat of a failure, but not entirely. It just wasn't our cup of tea.

By the way, I found it on Real Simple's website.

Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinich

-2 9-ounce packages refrigerated gnocchi or one 17.5-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
-1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed (I do not like ground sausage, so I did sliced smoked sausage instead)
-1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I used two cloves)
-1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan, plus more for garnishing (I ommitted this, as I am lactose intolerant)
I also added a dash of garlic powder and a dash of onion powder.

1. Bring water to a rolling boil and drop gnocchi in. Cook until they float to the top (about three minutes), and drain, reserving 1/4 of the cooking liquid.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened.
3. Add sausage and cook until brown, crumbling with a spoon. If using smoked sausage slices, just cook thoroughly.
4. Add garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper, and cook until spinach wilts. I added the onion and garlic powders at this point.
5. Add drained gnocchi, the reserved cooking liquid, and, if including, the Parmesan cheese. Toss ingredients.
6. Sprinkle additional Parmesan on each dish if desired, and serve.

First Recipe - Banana Banana Bread

Hi, everyone! I'm Joanna Eberhart. Anyone familiar with my blog will know that I'm a housewife who loves cooking and baking. So, I've decided to try my hand at a food blog. Welcome. :)

Banana Banana Bread
I got this recipe here at allrecipes.com. I altered it a bit because that's what I do (I don't think I ever follow a recipe exactly), and it turned out pretty great.

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup butter
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-2 1/3 cups mashed bananas (roughly three. I used four)
-2 eggs
I also added 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Stir in bananas, eggs, and vanilla.
4. Combine both bowls and stir until moist.
5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes at 350 degrees.
6. Let cool for ten minutes before removing from pan.

I am actually not a huge fan of banana bread, but this tasted good. It was very moist and sweet, which is always a plus. Walter enjoyed it, and hopefully our guests tomorrow will as well!