Monday, December 23, 2013

Make It MERRY! Christmas Recipes

Yum
"Here are some of my favorite Christmas recipes.  I hope you enjoy them and have a Very Merry Christmas!"
 *Just click on the links below each picture to view the recipes.
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
Merry Christmas!

 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pistachio Bundt Cake

Yum

"My Step-Dad's favorite time of the year was Christmas.  He was like a little kid on Christmas morning.  He often had to wait for my sister and I to get up to see what Santa had brought us and so we could all open our presents.  I think we totally drove him nuts because we thought we needed to sleep 'til noon.  How we must have tortured him!  We lost our Step-dad this year and in honor of him I wanted to post his very favorite recipe, Pistachio Cake, at his very favorite time of year, Christmas.  This year we will be celebrating Bob's birthday and Christmas without him, but we will raise a glass of milk and eat a slice of Pistachio cake to honor him. Love ya and miss ya Bob!  There isn't a moment that goes by that I don't think about you.  I pray that you found peace."   

Pistachio Bundt Cake:
1 white cake mix
1 (3-3/4 ounce) package of pistachio instant pudding
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups water
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup flour

Mix everything together until completely combined.  Spoon batter into a Bundt pan, that has been sprayed very well with non-stick cooking spray with flour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.  Remove from the pan and frost with Pistachio Icing.


Pistachio Icing
1-1/2 cups of milk
1 envelope of Dream Whip brand whipped topping (Located on the baking aisle or by the Jello products.)
1 (3-3/4 ounce) package of pistachio instant pudding

Combine icing ingredients and beat slowly with a hand mixer. Gradually turn to high speed and beat for 4-6 minutes.  Spread on cooled cake.


Monday, December 16, 2013

White Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Yum
"This is a delicious Biscotti that is flavored with almond and drizzled with a White Chocolate Almond Drizzle."   
 


1 cup sugar
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 to 3-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces or 1/2 bag of white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter.  Add  eggs and extracts and mix until combined.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.  (I always start out adding only 3 cups of flour and checking to see how dry the dough is.  If the dough is too wet, then I add the other 1/2 cup of flour.)  Stir in white chocolate chips.

Divide the dough into two equal portions.  Roll out each portion and shape into 10x3 inch rectangles and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Cut each rectangle crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.  Place slices cut sides down on cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on wire rack.  Drizzle with White Chocolate Almond Drizzle (Recipe follows).

White Chocolate Almond Drizzle:
6 ounces or 1/2 bag of white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
1 teaspoon almond extract

Melt white chocolate chips with shortening in a saucepan on low heat.  Remove from heat and add extract.  Drizzle over cooled biscotti.

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Yum
"A yummy biscotti perfect for Christmas!"

1 cup sugar
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 to 3-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 ounces or 1/2 bag of miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter.  Add  eggs and extracts and mix until combined.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.  (I always start out adding only 3 cups of flour and checking to see how dry the dough is.  If the dough is too wet, then I add the other 1/2 cup of flour.)  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide the dough into two equal portions.  Roll out each portion and shape into 10x3 inch rectangles and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Cut each rectangle crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.  Place slices cut sides down on cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on wire rack.  Drizzle with Peppermint Chocolate Drizzle (Recipe follows).

Peppermint Chocolate Drizzle:
6 ounces or 1/2 bag of miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 candy canes, finely crushed

Melt chocolate chips with shortening in a saucepan on low heat.  Remove from heat and add extract.  Drizzle over cooled biscotti.  Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

"Perfectly packaged for Christmas gifts!" 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Grandma's Turkey Dressing

Yum
"This is my favorite holiday recipe!  My family and I wait all year for my Grandma to make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  The combination of bread, rice and sausage makes this stuffing recipe different than any other one I've ever tasted.  It wouldn't be the holidays without it!"

2-(16 ounce) packages of Jimmy Dean Sausage (1 regular and 1 sage)
1 onion, chopped
2-3 ribs celery, chopped
1 loaf of French bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces, dried
2 eggs, beaten
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 bag of prepared Uncle Ben's Boil-In-Bag Rice (From 4-bag package, prepared according to package directions)
 
Brown sausage with onion and celery, until sausage is cooked thoroughly and vegetables are softened.  Add dried bread, eggs, chicken broth, water and cooked rice.  Spoon into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

*TIP:  My Grandma tears the bread into pieces and then places it in a large bowl and allows it to sit out on the counter until it is dry.  You can also dry the bread by tearing it into pieces and placing it on a sheet tray and baking it at 300 degrees for about 8 minutes.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Smokehouse Cheese Ball

Yum
"This Smokehouse Cheese Ball is another one of my hubby's yummy recipes.  We enjoyed it as an appetizer before Thanksgiving dinner this year.  It has the most delicious, smoky flavor and is a perfect topper for your favorite crackers.  This recipe is an easy appetizer or snack for any party or get-together that you might be having this holiday season." 

2-(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped scallions or green onions
1/4 cup Hormel Real Bacon Bits (from 3 ounce container-found by salad dressings)
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (Found on the condiment aisle near the ketchup)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 ounces of Smokehouse Almonds, finely chopped

Using a mixer, blend together cream cheese and cheddar cheese until combined.  Mix in green onions, bacon bits, Worcestershire, liquid smoke and seasonings.  Stir until completely combined.  Form mixture into a ball and roll in chopped almonds.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.  Serve with crackers.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beef 'n Bean Burritos

Yum

"My sister shared this easy recipe with me.  It combines simple ingredients into a delicious Southwest inspired dinner that's perfect for any night of the week."

1 pound ground beef
1 can refried beans
1 (16 ounce) jar picante sauce
1 package flour tortillas
1 (8 ounce) package shredded cheddar cheese
1 tomato, chopped
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown ground beef; Drain and return to pan.  Stir in refried beans and 1/2 of the jar of picante sauce; Heat through.  To assemble each burrito, spread tortilla with beef and bean mixture, sprinkle with cheese and roll up.  Place burritos in a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour remaining picante sauce over burritos and top with remaining shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Top with chopped tomatoes and sliced olives. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mini Chicken Salad Croissants

Yum
"I made these yummy mini sandwiches for my Mom's Bunco group recently.  They are very tasty and are a perfect appetizer for any gathering."

Chicken Salad
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper and poultry seasoning

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes, depending on how large the chicken breasts are, or until thoroughly cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut into chunks and set aside.

4 green onions, minced
2 celery ribs, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine ingredients and add to cut up chicken.


Mini Chicken Salad Croissants
Mini croissants or you can use large croissants that are cut in half
butter, at room temperature
Red leaf lettuce or your choice of lettuce
Chicken Salad

Split croissants open using a serrated bread knife.  Spread a small amount of butter on the top half of the croissant and spoon chicken salad on the bottom half.  Top chicken salad with lettuce and put sandwich together.   

Layer sandwiches onto a large serving tray and cover with foil.  Refrigerate sandwiches until ready to serve.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

GOBBLE, GOBBLE, It's Turkey Time!

Yum
"Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday!  The yummy food is of course one of the reasons, but the main reason I love Thanksgiving is because it's that special time of year when families gather together and celebrate what they're most thankful for, each other.  I have gathered some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes together and I'm sharing them with you so you can make them for your family this year.  Happy Eating and remember to be thankful for Food, Friends and especially, Family!"  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cucumbers & Tomatoes

Yum
"I love this side dish.  My family has made it for years and it's a mainstay at many of our family dinners.  It would be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu this year."
 
2 to 3 cucumbers
2 or 3 tomatoes
1 small onion
white vinegar, to taste
canola oil, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
sprinkle of sugar
Slice cucumbers.  Dice tomatoes and onion.  Place cucumbers, tomatoes and onion in a serving bowl.  Add desired amount of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Stir together.  Sprinkle a little sugar on top.  Refrigerate for a couple hours to combine flavors.  Stir before serving.   

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies with Maple-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Yum
"These Pumpkin Cookies are perfect for Fall.  Whether you make them for Halloween treats or Thanksgiving goodies, they are a perfect addition to your holiday baking.  The moist pumpkin cookies are delicious on their own, but the Maple-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting makes them absolutely IRRESISTIBLE!"

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained very well
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar.  Add egg, vanilla, pumpkin and pineapple; Combine well.  In a separate bowl, blend together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; Add to the creamed mixture and blend completely.  Add white chocolate chips and walnuts.  Drop by heaping Tablespoons onto non-stick cooking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  Frost with Maple-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Recipe follows).

Maple-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1 pound (16 ounce) box of powdered sugar (or 1/2 of a 2 pound bag)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
3 Tablespoons milk
Pumpkin Pie Spice

Cream together butter and powdered sugar.  Add vanilla, maple flavoring and milk.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Spread on cooled cookies and sprinkle with desired amount of pumpkin pie spice.

To decorate cookies:
I topped the cookies with candy corn.  You could also decorate them with candy pumpkins or any Fall sprinkles or decorations.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nachos Deluxe

Yum
 
"My husband and I love, love, love nachos on the weekends.  My hubby came up with this yummy version that we can make at home.  I told him that they taste better than any nachos that we've ordered at the local Mexican restaurants.  Lucky for me, now he can make them for us all of the time.  Probably not so lucky for him though huh!  Ha, ha!!"
"Yum!  You're craving Nachos now huh?"

Meat
1 pound of hamburger
salt & pepper, desired amounts
chili powder, desired amount
cumin, desired amount
onion powder, desired amount
garlic powder, desired amount
 
Brown hamburger with desired amounts of seasonings.  Drain. 
 
Cheese Sauce
1-(22-3/4 ounce) jar of Tostitos Smooth and Cheesy flavored dip
desired amounts of salt & pepper, chili powder, cumin. onion and garlic powder
 
Heat cheese sauce in a saucepan with desired amounts of seasonings. 
 
To assemble nachos
Tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (We used Colby jack cheese.)
1 can of Ro*Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained 
sliced pickled jalapenos
sour cream
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, spread out a layer of tortilla chips.  Sprinkle shredded cheese over the chips.  Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and chips are warmed through.  Remove from the oven and pour warmed cheese sauce over chips.  Spoon on seasoned hamburger.  Sprinkle on Ro*Tel and  jalapeno slices.  Spoon dollops of sour cream on top of the nachos.  Serve while hot.      


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Yum
"Here are some of my favorite Halloween recipes.  I hope you enjoy them and that you have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

BOO to You! Brownies


Brownies:
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
Halloween sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Remove from the heat and add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee granules, baking powder, salt, eggs and vanilla. Stir until well blended and smooth. Stir in the milk chocolate chips. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips. Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and drizzle Mocha Frosting (recipe follows) over hot brownies.    Cool completely.  Top with mini marshmallows and Halloween sprinkles.  Cut into squares and serve.  TIP:  Cover any leftovers well in order to keep marshmallows from drying out.

Mocha Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Remove from the heat and add cocoa powder, coffee granules, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Pour over hot brownies.

TIP:  I used Wilton Halloween sprinkles, but you could decorate the brownies with candy corn, candy pumpkins or your favorite Halloween candy.

Apple Pie Caramel Apples


4-5 large apples (I used Honey Crisp, but you can use your favorite apple.)
Popsicle sticks
1-(14 ounce) package of Kraft caramels, wrappers removed
1-(12 ounce) package of Nestle Premier white chocolate morsels
desired amount of cinnamon and sugar, combined

Wash and dry apples.  Insert Popsicle sticks into bottoms of apples and set aside.  In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels with 2 Tablespoons of water according to package directions.  In another medium-sized saucepan, melt white chocolate chips following package directions or you can melt in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.  When caramels are melted, dip apples, using a spoon to help you cover apple completely.  Place apples on waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Allow to cool slightly and drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  ENJOY!  

Caramel Corn
 
1-(12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks or 1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup Karo light corn syrup
3 bags of microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed (*According to the package directions, each bag of microwave popcorn will make about 10 cups of popped corn.  When I made this recipe, I used the equivalent of air-popped popcorn.)

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook milk, brown sugar, butter and Karo syrup until mixture reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  (TIP:  Be Patient-This will take about 30-45 minutes.  Don't be tempted to turn the heat up to speed up the cooking time, because the caramel will burn easily!)  Pour over popcorn and stir to coat popcorn completely.  Spread out on a large piece of waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and allow to cool and air dry.  Store in a covered bowl.

*Tip:  Most caramel corn recipes produce a dry, crunchy popcorn.  This caramel corn has a soft and  chewy texture and that's why my husband and I love it!

Candy Corn White Chocolate Bark
2-(12 ounce) bags white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon orange extract
red food coloring + yellow food coloring
1-(11 ounce) package of candy corn (I used Brach's.)

Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat.  Remove from the heat and add orange extract.  Stir until well incorporated and smooth.  Pour onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Spread chocolate out with an off-set spatula until it's about 1/4 inch thick.  Drop food coloring onto chocolate and swirl around with off-set spatula or a butter knife.  (I used 4 drops of red and 6 drops of yellow food coloring.  I mixed the food coloring into the white chocolate with an off-set spatula to make a light orange color, but you could use orange and yellow food coloring and just swirl it around to make a tri-color bark.)  Sprinkle candy corn on top.  Allow to set up.  (TIP:  You can place in the refrigerator to speed up the set up time.)  Break into pieces. 

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
2-(10 ounce) packages of marshmallows (You can also use 2 large jars of marshmallow cream.)
1/4 cup butter
desired food coloring (I mixed red and yellow to make orange.)
2 bags Microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed (*According to the package directions, each bag of microwave popcorn makes about 10 cups popped corn.  I used the equivalent of air popped popcorn when I made this recipe.)

In a large saucepan, heat butter and marshmallows until melted.  Add desired color and amount of food coloring and mix well.  Add popped corn and stir until completely covered.  *Using greased hands, form into popcorn balls and allow to cool completely.  Wrap in waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 
*TIP:  This is very messy, so make sure to grease your hands often to keep them from sticking to the popcorn balls.  I sprayed my hands with non-stick cooking spray several times.

 
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stroganoff Stuffed Spuds

Yum
"This is a very hearty recipe that uses a convenient packaged dinner mix.  Just stuff baked potatoes with creamy hamburger stroganoff and a family friendly dinner is served."    
 
 
Idaho potatoes, desired number
 
Wash the potatoes and poke them with a fork.  Rub with canola oil, season with salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil.  Place foil-wrapped potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour to 1-1/4 hours at 425 degrees.
 
 
1 package hamburger stroganoff dinner mix (I used Ultimate Hamburger Helper Creamy Stroganoff.)
1 pound hamburger
 
 
Prepare dinner mix, following the package directions.
 
 
To prepare Stuffed Spuds:
Baked Potatoes
Prepared Hamburger Stroganoff
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
dried parsley flakes, if desired
salt & pepper

Cut baked potatoes open and using a fork, break up potato.  Top with Hamburger Stroganoff.  Spoon on a dollop of sour cream and top with shredded cheese.  Sprinkle on desired amount of parsley, salt & pepper.  Enjoy!
 
Featured Button for #GetHimFed Fridays
This recipe was featured on Anyonita Nibbles

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Caramel Apple Cider

Yum
"I love the caramel apple spice drinks at Starbucks.  Unfortunately, the nearest Starbucks is 15 miles away and I don't get to have them as often as I would like.  The solution--make them at home.  I saw several copycat recipes on the Internet, but they were all too sweet for my husband and I so we came up with our own version.  The good news--we don't have to travel to get our caramel apple spice fix.  The bad news--I can't stop drinking them!  Believe me, after tasting this warm & delicious drink, you will have a new addiction too!"
 
2 cups Apple cider
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 Tablespoons caramel syrup
whipped cream
Additional caramel syrup for drizzling
 
In a medium saucepan, combine the apple cider, water, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and caramel syrup.  Heat until brown sugar is completely dissolved and cider is desired temperature.  Remove cinnamon stick and pour cider into mugs.  Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup.  Makes 2 servings.      
This recipe was featured on Jam Hands 



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pumpkin Perfection

Yum
"When I think of October, I think Pumpkin!  Here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes that are perfect for Fall Festivities.  They are simply PUMPKIN PERFECTION!     
 
 
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Combine crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom and about one inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with filling.

Filling:
2-(8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Combine cream cheese and sugar. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add canned pumpkin, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours before removing rim of springform pan. When ready to serve, remove rim of pan and slice. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.  ENJOY!!! 

Visit my MooseCreek Cheesecakes page for more delicious cheesecake recipes.
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing
 
Bars:
4 eggs
1-2/3 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1-(15 ounce) can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy,  Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix thoroughly.  Pour into an ungreased 15x10x1 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool and frost with cream cheese icing (Recipe follows.) and cut into bars.
  
Cream Cheese Icing:
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and mix well.  Ice bars.

Pumpkin Bread with Caramel Icing
 

3-1/3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  
Combine the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, eggs and water.  Stir into dry ingredients.  Add pecans, if desired.  Pour into 2 loaf pans that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing from pans.  Allow to cool completely and frost with caramel icing (recipe follows).
 
 
Caramel Icing:
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup evaporated or canned milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar and canned milk to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. *Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. Ice loaves. 


*Mom's Tip:  To keep Icing from being lumpy, you can use a hand mixer to mix in powdered sugar and vanilla.   

 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Overnight Baked French Toast

Yum
"My hubby came up with this yummy recipe.  It's the perfect way to prepare French toast for overnight guests or large gatherings, because you can prepare it the night before and bake several servings at once in the morning.  Make it for your next breakfast or brunch and Good Morning to you!"

"Yummy French toast served with butter & maple syrup and garnished with fresh raspberries from the garden!"

8 slices of Texas Toast
1 cup of Half and Half
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 
butter, for serving
syrup of your choice
fresh raspberries, to garnish, if desired
 
In an 8x8 baking dish, whisk together Half and Half, egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg until completely combined.  Dip each slice of Texas toast in the egg mixture, making sure to soak both sides completely.  Allow excess egg mixture to drain off of toast and place on a large (11x15) parchment paper covered sheet pan.  You could also cover the sheet pan with a Sil-pat silicone mat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
 
The next morning when ready to prepare the French toast, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover toast and place in oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Flip toast over and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve French Toast with butter, maple syrup, or your favorite syrup.  Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.  ENJOY!        

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Green Bean Casserole

Yum
"This casserole is a blast from the past!  My Mom made it for dinner when my sister and I were little girls and my husband told me that his Mother also made it for his family when he was young.  Oh the good ole' days when 'casseroles' were hip and families sat at the dinner table together to share the evening meal!  I recently made this stick-to-your-ribs dinner for my husband and I and it brought back memories the second I took the first bite.  It's funny how food can do that!  I hope you try this recipe and whether it's for the first time, or if like us, it's a recipe from your childhood, sit down and enjoy an old-fashioned meal with your family.  Who knows maybe you'll create a memory of your own!"  
Ready for assembling

"It looks yummy even before baking!"

"We served it with bread and butter.  Just like I enjoyed it when I was little."

 "I Love Casseroles!"
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
salt & pepper, to taste
1-(14.5 ounce) can French-style green beans, drained
1-(10-3/4 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1-(8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (The original recipe didn't call for cheese, but I thought it would be yummy!)
Mashed Potatoes (Recipe follows.)*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large sauté pan, brown ground beef with diced onion, salt and pepper; drain if needed.  Stir in green beans, tomato soup and tomato sauce.  Heat through.  Transfer to a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Top with prepared mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle on cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Mashed Potatoes:
5-6 potatoes (I used Yukon gold potatoes, but you can use russet or red also.)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, cubed**
salt & pepper, to taste
Peel and cut potatoes into chunks.  Starting with salted cold water, bring potatoes to a boil and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain.  Using a potato masher, mash potatoes, along with butter.  Add milk and season with desired amount of salt and pepper.
*Tip:  If you don't have enough time to make homemade mashed potatoes, purchase prepared at the grocery store and save a step to get dinner on the table even quicker.
**The butter will melt faster, if cubed.     

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mocha Cupcakes

Yum
"I made these cupcakes for my hubby's Birthday this year.  Chocolate and coffee together is one of his favorite flavor combinations.  I must admit it's one of my favorites too!"
Mocha Cupcakes:
1 Chocolate cake mix
Oil and eggs called for on the box
Substitute cold, strong brewed coffee for the water called for on the box

Preheat oven and prepare cake mix according to package directions, substituting coffee for the water called for on the box.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake/muffin tins. Divide batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake according to package directions for cupcakes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Frost with Mocha Frosting (recipe follows).


Mocha Frosting:
1 stick or 1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup cocoa powder 
2 pound bag of powdered sugar
8 Tablespoons cold, strong brewed coffee
6 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons milk

Cream together butter and shortening.  Mix in cocoa powder.  Add powdered sugar a little at a time until all combined.  (Mixture will seem very dry and crumbly, but don't worry when you add the remaining ingredients it will all combine together into a very spreadable frosting.)  Add coffee, corn syrup and milk  Mix until completely incorporated.  Frost cupcakes and decorate.*  Store in refrigerator until needed.

*I used cute little Wilton Pinwheel Party Picks to decorate my hubby's Birthday cupcakes. 

"These cupcakes would be so cute for any Summer celebration; including Memorial Day, 4th of July or Labor Day barbecues or picnics!"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Days Are Here Again!

Yum
"I love Fall!  It's my favorite season.  I love when the leaves change into hues of yellow, orange and red and the air is crisp and cool.  One of the best parts of Fall is that it's apple season.  Apples are ripe and crunchy and perfect to add to recipes.  I've collected some of my favorite apple recipes and I'm sharing them with you.  Happy Fall Y'all!!!"    
 
Chunky Apple Cinnamon Mini Pies
24 ounce jar of Musselman's Chunky Applesauce
14.1 ounce package Pillsbury Ready made pie crusts (2 pie crusts)
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into 12 pieces
cinnamon
sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
 
Cut each pie crust into 6 circles using biscuit cutter, making 12 circles. (I used a large glass.) Place about 1-2 teaspoons of Chunky Applesauce onto pie crust circles. Sprinkle apples with desired amount of cinnamon and sugar. Top with 1 piece of diced butter. Fold pie crust over apples and use a fork to seal edges of pie crust. Place mini pies on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Brush tops of pies with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes approximately 12 mini pies.

TIP: Make sure to not put too much applesauce on each pie crust circle or the pie crust won't seal correctly. 
 
Caramel Apple Cheesecake  
Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1- (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
 
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Spoon a single layer of apple pie filling on top of the crust and spread to within 1-inch of the edge of the pan.  Prepare cheesecake layer.
 
 
Cheesecake Layer
4-(8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Combine cream cheese, sugar and flour. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. Pour over apple pie filling.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 250 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours before removing rim of springform pan.

TOPPINGS
1- (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping (We like to use Smucker's Hot Caramel.)
1- (4 ounce) package of chopped pecans, toasted*

When ready to serve, top slices of cheesecake with heated caramel topping and toasted pecans.

Apple Pie Caramel Apples

4-5 large apples (I used Honey Crisp, but you can use your favorite apple.)
Popsicle sticks
1-(14 ounce) package of Kraft caramels, wrappers removed
1-(12 ounce) package of Nestle Premier white chocolate morsels
desired amount of cinnamon and sugar, combined

Wash and dry apples.  Insert Popsicle sticks into bottoms of apples and set aside.  In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels with 2 Tablespoons of water according to package directions.  In another medium-sized saucepan, melt white chocolate chips following package directions or you can melt in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.  When caramels are melted, dip apples, using a spoon to help you cover apple completely.  Place apples on waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Allow to cool slightly and drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slow Cooker Apple Cider

1 large container of apple cider (I used an 89 ounce container of LITEHOUSE brand apple cider.)
1/2 cup brown sugar (You can add more if you like it sweeter.)
1 Tablespoon McCormick apple pie spice

Whisk together cider, brown sugar and apple pie spice in a slow cooker.  Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.  Ladle into cups and sip away!
 
Peanutty Apple Dip
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
 
With a mixer, cream together cream cheese and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar and apple pie spice.  Mix until completely combined.  NOTE:  The mixture will be very thick, just keep mixing until everything is combined and it will come together completely.  Spoon into serving dish.  Top with chopped peanuts and sprinkle with additional apple pie spice.  Serve with apple slices, graham crackers and even banana slices.  Refrigerate leftovers.
 
*Tip:  If you don't have apple pie spice, you can substitute cinnamon.