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.