Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

I really wish that I was into photography and had a nice camera so my pictures could do visual justice of these delicious recipes.

What I love about this recipe is that it's fun for the kids because it's served in squash bowls, and it's healthier and just as delicious as regular spaghetti. You don't have to be a fan of squash to love this, because it doesn't have that squashy taste and texture (which I love anyways).

We got ours from Day Farms in Layton (cheaper than the grocery stores and more fresh)

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

  • 1 large Spaghetti Squash
  • 4-6 medium tomatoes julienne cut
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lb ground turkey or hamburger
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 bag Parmesan cheese
Set oven to 350 degrees. Slice spaghetti squash lengthwise in half. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place each side (cut side up) on a large baking pan with about an inch of water in the pan. Bake for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile in a skillet brown your meat. Add onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, oregano, basil and 1 tbsp butter. Cook until onions and mushrooms are tender. Stir in onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper.

When Squash is done. Take a large spoon and scoop out the inside. You should have nice long strands of spaghetti noodle looking squash. Place it all in the skillet and toss in with remaining butter and half bag of shredded Parmesan cheese. You should clean out the squash so just the shells are left behind. Cut the shells in half and place on serving platters. Scoop contents from skillet into the shells and top with more cheese.

Autumn Cupcakes

Okay, so there is really no secret to making cupcakes. I just had to share another one of the many ways you can use my frosting recipe I have posted before (Lemon Cream Cheese Whip). For the cupcakes above, I made the cream cheese whip then divided it in half. In one half I added vanilla and almond extract and left it white, in the other half I added the measurements below for orange extract and coloring. I spread the white topping on spice cake and the orange frosting on Halloween Confetti cake. They were fun and delicious!

Orange Cream Cheese Whip

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 10 drops red food coloring
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sticky Chicken

This is a classic recipe that I have in at least 4 cook books. Most everyone I know has tried this, but I have to include it because it is a favorite! I added my own touch to the recipe which was increasing and thickening the sauce and cooking it in a crock pot to get that juicy, tender, pull apart chicken. I then use the remaining sauce to serve over the rice and steamed vegetables.

Sticky Chicken

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of apricot jam
  • 1 pkg onion soup mix
  • 1 small bottle Russian salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
Mix together jam, soup and salad dressing. Dissolve corn starch into water and mix into sauce. Pour mixture over chicken in crock pot. Cook on high for an hour then simmer on low for 2-3 hours. (If you don't have time for a crock pot then bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is done).

Berry Pretzel Bliss

This is delicious, refreshing and addicting. A chilled, fruity, creamy, crunchy, concoction. A perfect marriage of sweet, juicy tartness and salty crunchy sweetness joined by a creamy, cool spread.

Berry Pretzel Bliss

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 6 tsp melted butter
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 pkg cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 2 large (packages of raspberry gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 pkg frozen berries (thawed)
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Mix together pretzels, melted butter and sugar. Grease a 9 X 13 inch pan. Pat pretzel mixture into bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

In a large bowl beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in cool whip gently with a spoon and spread over crust. In a large bowl dissolve gelatin and boiling water. Add cold water and ice. Stir in berries. Refrigerate until mixture begins to thicken. Spoon berry mixture over cream cheese mixture and refrigerate 4 hours.

Cancun Chicken Lime Soup

This is a 5 star soup for sure. No, it's not taco soup or anything like it. Not only is it savory and filling but every time we have it we lose weight. It has cheese and avocados and chips and is low calorie. This soup is addicting and you can't just have one bowl. Everyone who makes this says the same thing, "This is my favorite soup!" You have to try it to know what I am talking about.

Cancun Chicken Lime Soup

  • 1 1/2 qt chicken stock
  • 2 limes (just juice)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp Smokey Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 julienne cut onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups julienne cut fresh tomatoes

Combine stock, lime juice, oregano, basil and sauce in a stock pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken, tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Adjust spice and seasoning to taste. Serve with shredded cheese, chips and sliced avocado. Serves 4.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cocktail Dream Salad

This truly is a cocktail of everything. No, it is not low calorie either. I discovered this fruit salad recipe in an old ward cookbook and thought I would give it a try. It's really yummy. If you are not a fan of certain textures, I would leave out the coconut and the nuts to make it more smooth and creamy. If you like your fruit salads popping with flavor, I would use kiwi, mandarin oranges, chopped green apple and pineapple as the only fruit in the salad in addition to the Base ingredients. If you decide to follow the recipe the way it is below you will experience a sweet, creamy and rich flavored salad with a little bit to chew from the nuts and coconut. My husband thought it was perfect the way it is as below. He doesn't like tang, zip and flavor bursts like I do, which is why I would use kiwi, mandarin oranges, chopped green apple and pineapple instead of canned fruit cocktail if I had my way. Try it either way and let me know what you think!

Cocktail Dream Salad

  • 1 large container Cool Whip
  • 1 (8 oz) container of sour cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 bag colored mini marshmallows
  • 1 large can of pineapple tidbits or crushed, drained
  • 1/2 bag coconut (optional)
  • 1 can fruit cocktail, drained (optional)
  • Sliced bananas (optional)
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (optional)
  • Fruit of your choice
Mix cool whip, sour cream, and condensed milk until smooth. Add pie filling and pineapple, mix well. Add marshmallows and additional ingredients of your choice. Mix well. Chill for 1 hour. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Crispy Fries & Savory Dip

This all American dish is really easy to make. My sister and I used to make this at college. I now use the Tater Twister machine to quickly slice my potatoes into curly fries. It's fun for the kids too. We serve our fries hot with a homemade burger and this time around with a fruit salad which I included the recipe for above.

To make the dinner fun and easy clean up, I use parchment paper and hamburger baskets to serve our burgers and paper hot dog holders for the fries. This is great for a homemade fast food, in-door, pic-nic!

Crispy Fries

  • 5-6 medium sized potatoes sliced into thin fries
  • 1 bottle of canola oil
  • lemon pepper
Quick tip: To cook faster and ensure more crispiness, boil your fries for 10 minutes before frying them. Then place in pot of boiling oil for 10-15 minutes. Otherwise place raw fries into boiling oil and fry for 30 minutes. The longer the better. It's not until the last 5-8 minutes that they become crispy. Remove with metal tongs or strainer into paper towel. Sprinkle lemon pepper and serve with dip.

Savory Fry Sauc

  • 2 Tbsp mayonaise
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
Mix together and serve. Makes about 2 servings.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Potato Dumplings

Another great dish from my husband's homeland. You can serve these alone with a gravy or in a soup. They are super easy to make and very delicious.

Potato Dumplings

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 8 large seasoned croutons
Bring large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.

In a medium bowl combine 2 cups mashed potatoes with nutmeg, flour and egg. Using about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of mixture each, shape into dumplings. Press crouton into center of each dumpling and seal dough around it. Drop dumplings into boiling water or if making a soup drop into simmering broth, cover and cook 20 minutes. Do not remove lid while cooking. Top with sliced green onions (for soup) or serve with mushroom gravy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

French Toast Souffle

This is so delicious and I have tasted different variations of it. I tweaked this recipe enough to make it the way I like it. The best part is the bubbly, golden, flaky and crumbly top!

This is perfect for a big family breakfast as it is so filling and feeds a lot and you can also serve it for desert like a bread pudding. Drizzle some caramel sauce over it and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

French Toast Souffle

  • 1 large loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, chopped
  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter divided
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup (divided)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups Half & Half (I use fat free)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Cinnamon sugar
Place chopped bread in a well greased 13 X 9 inch glass pan. Sprinkle raisins over and toss in. Mix cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup of maple syrup until smooth. Spread over top of bread, leaving openings for egg mixture to pour through. Beat eggs, half & half, and 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. Pour over bread and make sure all pieces are coated. Cover and refrigerate over night. Before putting in oven melt 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of butter together and pour over top. Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon sugar over the top. Bake at 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into squares and serve with maple syrup and a dob of whipped cream.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tropical Torte

This is my goodbye to summer recipe. It is oh so luscious and delicious. I actually got this on a Pampered Chef postcard. You'll love it too!

Tropical Torte
  • 1 1/2 cups melted mango sorbet divided (I used Häagen-Daz)
  • 1 pkg 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 container 12 oz cool whip divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 medium pinneapple
  • blueberries
  • 16 oz pound cake (fresh or frozen)
Mix 1/2 cup of sorbet and all pudding mix in bowl until thick. Gently fold in 2 cups of Cool Whip with a spoon. Set aside in fridge. Put remaining sorbet and mint leaves in a small bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Pour through a strainer into a small bowl so that the mint leaves are all removed and you just have a nice, smooth, orange colored sauce.

Slice up pineapple into 1 inch chunks and place in a medium bowl. Pour 2 Tbsp of mango sauce into bowl and toss and coat pineapple. Meanwhile cut pound cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place bottom layer on serving plate. Spread Cool Whip Mixture over top. Place on 2nd layer and repeat process with all 3 layers. Frost entire cake with mixture. Cut torte into slices and serve with pineapple and blueberries on top and drizzle mango sauce over. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Glazed Strawberry Squares

Oh how I love this desert! I received this recipe from a friend a few years ago and my family loves it. My husband does not care for strawberries but he will devour this one easily. It's very light and not too sweet or rich at all, so you don't feel bad after you eat it. I think it is the perfect desert to take to a party or shower because it feeds a lot! It's super easy to make and so pretty to look at - and of course it tastes like heaven!

Glazed Strawberry Squares

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 12 oz cool whip
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz cream cheese ( I use fat free or Nuefchatel cheese)
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • Strawberry Junket Danish Desert (in the jell-o section at Walmart or Smiths)
Mix white cake mix according to directions. Grease the bottom of a cookie sheet and pour cake mix into pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. In a bowl mix cream cheese and powdered sugar with electric mixer. Add vanilla and mix. Then fold in cool whip gently with a spoon. Set aside in fridge. Make Danish Desert mix according to directions on box. It will have you add the strawberries. After cake is cool, spread the cream mixture over the top. Then spread the Danish desert glaze over the top. You can serve right away but if you allow to cool in the fridge for an hour before serving then the strawberry glaze will solidify into a pretty gelatin glaze that won't stick to tin foil or plastic. Cut into squares.

Southwestern Mac & Cheese

I should call this "Penne and Cheese" because I used penne pasta instead of macaroni. I love homemade macaroni and cheese and it truly hits the spot when you are extremely hungry. I just created this recipe as I went along, but it was so yummy we had no problem eating it for lunch and dinner the next day. Yes, it makes a lot. Because of the veggies and meat, you won't need any sides. Just serve with a refreshing drink!

Southwestern Mac & Cheese
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 2 Tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
Boil pasta according to directions on box. In a skillet begin to brown beef. Toss in diced peppers and onions. Cook until tender and beef is brown. (I like to flavor my beef with onion powder, salt and Worcestershire sauce- taco seasoning would also work). Add in diced tomatoes and turn heat to low. Meanwhile in a sauce pan, melt butter on medium high and stir in 1/2 cup of flour. Once it thickens, add 1/2 cup of milk. Heat up and gradually stir in remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Add the rest of the milk. Add cheese and continue stirring until thick and bubbly. You may add extra flour for thickening or milk for thinning. Add a little bit of salt at a time to your liking. Pour drained pasta into skillet with meat and then pour in sauce. Toss in cilantro and mix well. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sweet Onion Cornbread with Dill Sauce

Just another fun creation of mine. I love making recipes that are unique and delicious. This is a new twist on bread and cornbread. Bread is just bread unless you make it fun. I like to add different things to my batter and use fun tube pans. It makes presentation much more appealing and makes inexpensive cornbread seem a little more upscale. You normally wouldn't serve cornbread with a fancy dinner, but now you can. I served this with baked salmon, mushroom salad and delicious plum/grape /kiwi smoothies. The dill sauce gives it the final touch and enhances the flavor! The green onions baked in the bread add color and variety to boring yellow cornbread. Not to mention the Parmesan cheese does wonders! Half way through dinner my four year old son said, "Mommy when can we have this dinner again?" He had seconds on the cornbread.

Sweet Onion Cornbread
  • 1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar (if you are not a fan of sweet cornbread with onions, then reduce sugar to 1-2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 beaten egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup diced green onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Combine dry ingredients, then add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour batter into tube pan and bake in over for 20 minutes.

Dill Sauce
  • 1 cup fat free plain yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • fresh ground pepper
Mix ingredients and chill before serving.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Spiced Peach Butter

Oh how I love this recipe! Okay I have always been a fan of apple butter, we always have a jar of it in our fridge. I also love pear butter. When trying to figure out what to do with all the peaches on our tree, rather than just bottling them all I decided to make peach butter! I have never heard of peach butter or seen it, but figured it must exist if you can make butter out of so many other fruits (I would love to look up Mango butter mmmm..).

I found a couple different recipes and decided to mix them up and then add my own ingredients as well. That's how I always cook. Let me just tell you it was a masterpiece!! Not only did my house smell like the yummiest, Fall scented candle ever, our breakfast this morning was delicious!!

This recipe makes enough to fill 3 large quart jars (about 30 ripe peaches). If you don't want to make that much or bottle it, just do the math and divide this recipe into a smaller portion. Then put it in the fridge and eat it cold. I'm sure you could freeze it as well in freezer bags. It would make a wonderful gift this Fall or even for Christmas. I think i will make more and give it away with Great Harvest bread.

I added salt and lemon juice to this recipe and I'll tell you why. Salt will enhance the flavor in any fruit and lemon juice combined with salt adds just the right formula to really pull out the flavor. Anytime I make pies or tarts, I always add lemon juice and salt to the recipe and I am never let down. Otherwise deserts can be too sweet and it tastes like a mouthful of sugar.

Spiced Peach Butter
  • 30 ripe peaches ( or 24 cups of peach puree)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp of allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Boil peaches for 60 seconds. Then place peaches in a cold water bath - this will help the skins comes off easier (if your peaches are not ripe the skin will still cling to the peach and the pits will be difficult to remove). Skin and pit all your peaches, then place in the blender. Puree them all into a smooth soup mixture. Pour into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the rest of your ingredients. Turn heat down to low and allow to simmer for 3 hours - stirring every 10-15 minutes. Make sure you don't walk away from it, if it is still boiling. You could also simmer on medium heat in your crock pot for about 6 hours, just leave the lid cracked so that that steam can escape. That is how your peach butter will thicken is by allowing the steam and moisture to escape.

After 3 hours turn off stove and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then freeze or pour into jars, screw on lids and submerge in a boiling water bath (5 minutes for pint jars, 10 minutes for quart jars). Then cool for 24 hours. Make sure they have sealed properly. Before serving, refrigerate for 24 hours. This will allow butter to thicken more and it just tastes better cold. Enjoy on toast, waffles, pancakes or muffins!