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 (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

-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.