Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Turkey Dance!

If you know me you know that I have a very special Turkey dance, and if you know me and have seen said dance you are most likely trying to forget it right now... hee hee! But I'm loving turkey more and more! Well the other week in the store when Chris wasn't shopping with me, so he couldn't stop me, I bought ground turkey *GASP!**!!! My darlin Husband just does not see the point of said ground meat when there's a perfectly good beef version of it... WHATEVER!
So last night i decided i was going to cook it and the conversation went like this
Me:"Do you want Chili or Burgers"
Darlin: "BURGERS!"
Me: "Great Turkey burgers it is!"
Darlin: "YUCK!"
Me: "Oh yes Turkey Burgers and SWEET POTATO French Fries!"
Darlin: "YUCK! YUCK!"

HAHA! He totally forgot that he likes sweet potato french fries!
So thanks to being inspired from a recipe i found on epicurious i was able to get Chris to admit the burgers "Weren't bad... I mean they aren't beef but..." Wha ha ha!


1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion chopped in TINY pieces
around 1/2 tsp minced garlic
4 tbsp dried bread crumbs
2ish egg whites
3 tbsp BBQ sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp liquid smoke

Mix it all together... make patties and refrigerate so they can settle and stick together better. Then throw them on the grill (or i find the good ole George Foreman much more friendly to these delicate burgers) until done and top with whatever.
I topped mine with caramelized onions and reduced fat cheddar cheese... oh and then FF mayo, ketchup, and lettuce. SOOO delicious! Chris said he wanted one burger, unless he ended up liking them then he would have two... yeah, he had two! YES!


I had the best Christas surprise, MY FAMILY! They drove up to visit me! So not only did Chris and I have a wonderful Christmas at his family's house, but i also got to see MY family! YEA! See my other blog for more pictures!
This is Chris and I at the National Christmas Tree

My cute family... Chris, me, Dad, Mimie, Mom, and Seph (also known as brother) and those are Mom's dogs Peeve and Maggie.

I'll post more Christmas gift pictures soon, since they are all relevant to the cooking blog since i got... wait for it... wait for it... A KITCHEN AID MIXER! YES YES YES... among other needed and loved kitchen items!

Amish Christmas

Chris and I have decided this is our new Christmas tradition... and my family couldn't be happier! Growing up, my parents always did this HUGE yummy breakfast (fried pork chops, homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon, etc etc etc) and then we would always have the big meal and then numerous deserts. Well I got to thinking... that's A LOT! And lately i've really begun to HATE the feeling of being too full... so I thought a breakfast casserole would be perfect. When I saw an Amish Breakfast casserole on Allrecipes i knew I had hit the mother load... b/c we all know the Amish can cook!
What made this even better was that my wrist had REALLY been bothering me so when i went to put this together on Christmas Eve (so then all i had to do was pop it in the oven the next morning) Chris helped me out BIG time... I couldn't even stir! So here is our Christmas Tradition!

Amish Breakfast Casserole

1 lb sliced bacon
1 med sweet onion chopped
6 eggs, lightly beaten
4 c frozen shredded has brown potatoes, thawed
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c small curd cottage cheese
1 1/4 c shredded Swiss cheese


In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion until bacon is crisp; drain. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in bacon mixture. Transfer to a greased 13"x9" baking dish

Baked, uncovered, at 350 for 35-40mins or until set and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

This was a great dish and enjoyed by my whole family for days!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shrimp and Pasta in a Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce

Talk about packing a punch!! WOWZA! This dish is simply incredible but WOW was it SPICY! I wish I would have taken Elizabeth's advice and halved the spices because WOW! Chris and I joked that it was GREAT after the first 4-5 bites because by then your tastes buds had been nummed enough~ But this is an impressive dish, in it's very easy to make but taste like it's from a restaurant!
stolen from Elizabeth’s Edible Blog!
Modified from an Emeril Lagasse Recipe

* 1/4 cup kosher salt (or just regular salt like i have)
* 1 pound linguine (not sure if i used a pound, i used a package)
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 2 tablespoons Essence
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
* 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeño
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 11/2 cups heavy cream
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup diced tomatoes ( I used canned diced tomatoes to save time)
* 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
* 1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese (so i could only find a block of Monterey's Jack cheese so i used that and Mozzerella b/c i was also out of Parmesan)
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (omitted)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (I omitted the basil)


Set a large 1-gallon stock pot of water to a boil and add the kosher salt. Place the linguine in the pot and stir the pot until the water returns to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender, but with a bit of resistance (al dente), about 12 minutes. Drain a reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Once the butter has melted, season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the Essence and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and add the shrimp to the pan. Sear the shrimp until well browned on both sides, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and jalapeños to the pan and saute until the onions are softened and lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, remaining 1 tablespoon (I used 1/2 tablespoon) of Essence, remaining 1 1/4 (I used 3/4) teaspoons of the salt and the pepper to the pan

and bring to a boil.

Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Return the shrimp to the pan, and add the tomatoes, linguine and the reserved cooking water to the pan and cook, tossing to incorporate for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove pan from the heat and add the Pepper Jack, Parmesan, parsley and basil and toss to blend.

Serve immediately.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Amish Friendship Bread

Chris was given a bag of batter by a fellow at work (yes Chris Works on a constructions site) and brought it home to me with a page of instructions of what to do for the next 10 days and I thought what the HAY!
I would give you the recipe but I don't know it! BASICLY I think it contains a cup of flour, a cup of milk, and then a cup of sugar. You do this whole squish the bag a few days (I guess thinking of the friends you're going to give it to) then you add more stuff... squish a little more... and add more...
Then you put a cup of the batter in a gallon size bag and send it to your friends for the 10 day process.
With your left over cup you add more stuff and something of your choosing (i picked raisins) and then you bake. I baked mine in a bunt pan because i only have one loaf pan.

This bread was so yummy! It's a GREAT dessert or breakfast bread! My family came for Christmas as a surprise and LUCKILY i had already made this and they loved it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I contributed these little babies to my in office Holiday party! And while everyone enjoyed them, they LOVED the thought of taking them home to their kids even more! So away they went! I can't wait to hear what the kids thought! Now I really wish i could give credit where credit is due but I can't remember who Posted this... so if you're reading this and know, let me know!
1 box white cake mix (and the ingredients the box calls for, eggs, oil, etc)
1 tub white frosting
1 package of cookie dough in set circles
1 package of tube of cookie dough

Make the box per instructions.
Place a little batter in the bottom of each cup
Place one pre set cookie circle in the middle of each cup
Top with more batter
Bake according to Box's instructions
Let cool
Mix cookie dough tube in with white icing (the ration depends on your taste preference, do you want to taste more icing or more cookie?)
Ice Cupcakes
Take some leftover cookie dough and roll in into the smallest balls you've ever made and place in over set on 350
cook and watch VERY VERY closely!
Once cooked and cooled place on top of cupcakes.

I refrigerated my cupcake since there is raw cookie dough in the icing~

Sausage Stuffed Potatoes

When I saw these on Smitten Kittens Blog I knew they had "Chris" written all over them! And what an easy dish to throw together on a week night! Plus I LOVE to get my hands in my food, so when in the directions it said to use your hands I KNEW this was the recipe for me!
2 large russet (baking) potatoes (preferably organic; 3/4 pound each, scrubbed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon water, divided
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for coating potatoes
1/2 slice firm white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage (1 cup) or 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
5 cups salad greens (2 ounces)(we used arugula, which paired with the dijon sauce was deliciously kicky)

Prick potatoes with a fork. Microwave, covered with a paper towel, on high power until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Cutting lengthwise, remove top fourth of each potato and scoop out centers (reserve for another use), leaving 1/2-inch-thick walls.

Whisk together mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon water, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Cook onion in oil with a pinch of salt in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, tear bread into small pieces, then soak in milk in a medium bowl until very soft. Mix in sausage, parsley, onion, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce with your hands.

Divide filling between potatoes, then coat skins lightly with oil. Bake in a 4-sided sheet pan until sausage is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

While potatoes bake, whisk 1 tablespoon mayonnaise sauce with lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon water, and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove potatoes from oven and turn on broiler. Spoon remaining mayonnaise sauce over filling and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

Toss greens with dressing and serve with potatoes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pizza Rolls

Want something GREAT to eat on Sunday, after church, while watching football?? This is SO good! Chris thought it was the best idea and was happy that I was making something for my Blog that was just for him and not for others! Now even though I did make some of this "my own" I don't know if I would have ever thought of it if it weren't for Elizabeth's Edibles.
Really there's not much to this recipe
Pizza Dough (I made my own)
Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease pie pan.

roll dough out into a large rectangle and cut into pieces. Try to make them as square as possible. Mine were about four inches long.
In each dough put a spoon full of pizza sauce, a couple pieces of chopped pepperoni and a tablespoonish of cheese. Seal dough around meat and cheese and place seam side down in pie pan.

Repeat, placing balls into plate until full!

Once assembled, combine oil and spices and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
Now you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze or you can bake right away.

When ready to bake: bake at 400°F for 16-20 min. Serve with warm pizza or marinara sauce.

Mint Fudge Brownies

These LOOK like your normal brownies at first glance, but oh they are NOT.... they are sooo much better! WOW! I brought these to my work's potluck and they were a hit. Everyone was like "Oh yum, brownies" then they would try to cut them apart and saw they were brownie fudgy goodness... WITH Andes Mints! WOWZA! Thanks to Baking Blond for posting this yumminess!

6 TBS butter
6 oz semisweet chocolate (chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp mint extract (I couldn't find this so i didn't use, which i found good b/c the andes mints are VERY flavorful!)
1/4 tsp vanilla (Doubled this since i didn't use the mint)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Andes chips (or mints, chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paperdecember-015

In a heat-proof bowl, melt together butter and chcolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk or beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs and mint extract mixing until combined and smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the 3/4 cup Andes chips.

Carefully pour batter to prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Evenly sprinkle remaining Andes chips over top of the brownies. Bake for 25-20 mintues or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Garlic Knots

So I had a work party that was a potluck and I had to bring a dish. Well I work with a very diverse group from all different countries... and who would want something I would make when you can have Sushi! Sweet! So I figured that everyone would bring great sides, etc so I would bring the bread. I've been dying to start trying to make my own bread, rolls, etc rather then always buying it frozen so here was my shot! And thanks to my trusty Katie, they were a hit! Honestly, I'm not sure why I have a blog since I'm always sending ya'll back to hers! But hey, I'm just so proud that I can copy with some similarity!
1 recipe basic pizza dough (previous post)
1/2 c. butter
5 garlic cloves, minced


-After you let pizza dough recipe complete it's rise, roll out into large rectangle, 1/2 inch thick.
-Using pizza cutter, cut into measured out 1-inch wide strips.
-Take each strip and tie into a basic knot.
-Take end that is underneath and fold it over and into the middle.
-Take end that is over top and fold it under.
-Place knot onto parchment lined baking sheet.
-Repeat with all knots.
-Sprinkle generously with salt, cover with wax paper and kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In small saucepan over medium low heat, combine butter and garlic.
-Stir until butter mixture is completely melted.
-Using pastry brush, generously brush the tops of the dough with the butter mixture.
-Place in oven to bake until turning golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
-Remove from oven, brush with remaining butter mixture and serve.

These were a hit and I should have made more, Chris was upset he only got one!

Pizza dough!

What do both of these dishes have in common? They are both made from Katie's Pizza dough! It's such an easy recipe, the hardest part is the waiting to let it rise... seriously it's soo easy! I tripled the recipe so that I could make the garlic knots, the Pizza Rolls AND still be able to throw some into the freezer for future use! Sweet!
So here's what you do:
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp lukewarm water
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil


-Combine yeast and water in small bowl and let stand until slightly foamy (about 10 minutes).
-Combine 2 3/4 cups flour and salt in large bowl and form into a mound.
-Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture.
-Using a fork and stirring in a circular motion, gradually pull the flour into the yeast mixture. Continue stirring until a dough forms.
-Lightly flour a work surface with some additional flour and transfer the dough to it.
-Using the heel of your hand, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.
-Brush a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
-Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with the remaining flour. Punch down the dough and, using your hand, begin to press it out gently into the desired shape.

So Good and EASY! I'll never buy pre-made dough again!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gingerbread Cookies!!

So now that I'm AMAZING (cough cough) at making cookies, what better cookie to make at Christmas then a GINGERBREAD COOKIE! I've always wanted to make these growing up at Christmas (and I think we did once?) but as I got older I knew my cookie skills would not be friendly towards my Gingerbread heaven... but now!!! So I went to the one place i KNEW I could get an amazingly tasty recipe, KATIES Website! And i was SOOO right!! Chris even tried one and this was his comment "Wow honey, this is good, I thought you didn't make soft cookies!".... YEA, so after I smacked him and sent him on his way I finished baking ad decorating my cookies.... Now please do NOT compare my cookie decorating skills to the god called Katie, I am still a lowly beginner... but i think they are cute for a first timer!


1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1 egg
4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg

-In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
-Stir in molasses and egg.
-Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth.
-Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line with parchment.
-On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.
-Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
-Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
-Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm.
-Let cool for 10 minutes on pan.
-Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
-Frost or decorate when cool.

Oh and I frosted with Royal Icing~ Yum! Hope the co-workers like them!

Orange Cardamom Cookies

So I work in a GREAT office and some really nice people from one of the groups that I do work for brought me a tin of cookies from Trader Joe's (organic grocery store here). I LOVED them! When i read they were Orange Cardamom (a spice i recently acquired and learned about) I KNEW i had to try to make them! AND thanks to Epicurious, I found a great recipe... i even tried one that was slightly burnt and it was SO tasty! YES!

2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp grated orange zest (I just used all the zest of one large orange)
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp heavy cream

Whisk together flour, zest, cardamom, and salt

Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream (HA I almost forgot the cream! YIKES!). At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 2 batches until dough forms. Quarter dough and form each piece into a 6" dish, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2-3 hours (I did it over night b/c that was easier then waiting 2-3 hours on a week night... had to wait let it sit out at room temp for a while before i could "use it" but still easier for my schedule).

Preheat oven to 350
Roll dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper (might have to chill again if it gets to sticky) then cut out as many cookies as possible
Bake until edges are golden brown, around 9-12 mins.

You can reroll the "scraps" but only once.

Now don't be fooled by how simple these cookies look, they are GREAT and pack a tasty punch!

Apricot Walnut Thumb print Cookies

So my neighbor brought over cookies for us the other night and while Chris and I are VERY particular (especially Chris) about our cookies, he LOVED these Thumb print ones she had made. So I had another conversation with myself thinking "Now I know you've JUST started being able to bake edible cookies but You can SOO make these!!" So I did! I used Walnuts, just because i wanted to and i like how they taste and I used an Apricot Jam because that was what was in the fridge~ And you know what, he LOVED THEM! YEA!
I got this recipe from Epicurious but I changed it around a bit... mostly the nut choice and how i used the nut~

1 c Walnuts
2/3 c packed brown sugar (i used 3/4 b/c i read it wrong and i like sugar and it was great!)
1 1/3 all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces, room temp.
1 large egg yoke
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preserves (I used Apricot)

Preheat oven to 325
Throw your walnuts in a food processor and shred them into little itty bitty pieces
Blend your flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Whisk egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl then add to your crumbles
Moist clumps should form
Knead briefly to bind dough.
Form into 1 1/4" balls
Dip into a cup of water and roll in the walnut pieces until coated (you might have to do a little pushing)
Place on cookie sheet (ungreased) and using your thumb, make a deep indentation in center of ball.
Bake about 15mins, until firm to touch and golden on bottom (Yeah i couldn't SEE the bottom either so i did the touch test and guessed)
When you remove from the oven immediately use the back of a small spoon to press in the indentation, since it is mostly gone now.
Transfer to a rack to cool completely
and put a large dollop of preserves in the middle!
Now sit back and enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pot of Chicken Heaven!

Yes this is Chicken Pot pie but OOOOH it's sooo much more! It's comfort heaven! Now Chris did make the comment that "there's a lot of STUFF in here" (aka veggies) but he still ate most of it! Next time i'll just chop them smaller for him... but i like my with the Chunks! The pastry puff topping was amazing and really MADE this dish! It was so easy and looked like a gourmet meal when it was finished!

Individual Chicken Pot Pies
William Sonoma (But i got from Elizabeth's Edible Experience)


8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock (I added another 1/2c or so)
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (I used two)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions (or a little more)
1/2 cup chopped celery (and a bit more)
1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots(more again)
1/2 cup chopped white button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped red-skinned potatoes (I used white all purpose potatoes, and more then 1/2c)
1 cup chopped cooked chicken (more again~)
1/2 cup cooked fresh or frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Four 6-inch squares frozen puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water

I also added in Basil and Garlic powder... plus i upped the amount of seasoning b/c i love a seasoned dish!

Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flourand cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture smells fragrant and nutty, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the stock, whisking until smooth, and bring to a boil.

Add the thyme, bay leaf, onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, chicken, peas, salt and pepper and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Divide the filling among 4 ovenproof bowls and place on a baking sheet.

Brush the rims of the bowls with water. Place 1 pastry square on top of each bowl, pressing lightly on the edges.

Brush the puff pastry squares with the egg mixture.

Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

We really enjoyed this dish, I'll let you know how it is as leftovers... i'm not worried about the filling as much as reheating the Puff... but either way... YUMMINESS and Impressive! I can't wait to make this for Chris's parents!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zucchini, Sausage, and Feta Casserole

Thanks to Elizabeth’s edible, I made this for Chris last night and it was a HUGE hit! He didn't even mind the Zucchini! I Mean he didn't LOVE them, but he ate a few... i did make a few changes to the recipe, so it's most likely not as healthy as it was, but who cares! Chris is excited about leftovers! GO ME!

Modified from Cooking Light 2007


2 1/2 cups uncooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta) ... i used a whole box
8 ounces chicken sausage... i just used lite polish sausage that comes in a horse shoe shape b/c it's always on sale at my g-store.
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
5 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt... i used normal salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese ... i used 4 oz like Elizabeth recommended
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.... i think i used about 4oz of this too
about 1/4c of bread crumbs.


Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Remove casings from sausage. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; cook until browned.

Remove from pan. Heat oil in pan. Add zucchini, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and zucchini begins to brown, stirring occasionally.

Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute.

Combine zucchini mixture, sausage,

pasta and feta cheese in a large bowl; toss well.

Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese. I also put two pieces of toasted wheat bread in the food processor to make bread crumbs and added them on top with the cheese for some extra texture.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

This meal is amazing and easy meal!


And it's PINK!!! Can you believe it! Chris must have been either on some REALLY good meds or REALLY miserable from allergies! I don't care (I Mean i DO care about him but...)! I got a Dyson! AND it's PINK!

I went straight home and started cleaning with it, oh it did such a good job! I even cleaned again last night! Two nights in a row! Go ME! Doubt we'll make it three though because Chris is getting back at me for my Dyson obsession and now I'm sick... bleh~

But before you think Chris and I got all OOOh LA LA on you, we got a GREAT deal! It was a lower price PLUS $100 off!! SWEET! If it last it's 5 year warranty then it's paid for all of our "replacement vacs"!

Cinnamon Roll Cookies!

No Seriously they almost taste JUST like a cinnamon roll too! I never got around to icing them but OOOOh i can only imagine. OH, and Sadie (yes my dog) recommends them too! She ate half of the batter once i had it sliced into stacks to bake. She would like me to make them again! LOL!

I got this recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Cinnamon roll cookies

For the filling:
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 TBSP ground cinnamon

For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
1⁄4 cup warm water
1⁄2 tsp powdered egg whites

For the filling combine sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.
Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, and salt together for the dough in a bowl; set aside.
Cream butter and brown sugar in a bowl with a mixer until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, blending just to incorporate; do not over mix.
Trace a 16-x-9-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Pat the dough into the rectangle using your hands, then sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the dough.
Beginning on a long side and using the paper to help you, roll the dough into a log. Dust the outside of the log with the remaining cinnamon mixture (I forgot to do this). Wrap log in plastic and chill for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F; line tow baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice chilled dough into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack.
Combine icing ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies, let stand at room temperature.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle

This desert was not only yummy it was EASY to make AND I made it the night before so it was one less thing on my to-do list for the dinner party! A big thanks to Delicious Meliscious for posting this tasty treat! Here's another great thing about this treat, My new friend brought over her baby with her and while the baby turned up her nose to my mac and cheese she devowered two bowls of this yummy goodness!

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix (I used sugar-free, made with 1% milk)
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

Mac and Cheese!

This is the first time I've ever made from something besides the box. I can't help it we just LOVE all the processed goodness that Kraft makes! This seems easy enough so I thought I would give it a try and it was GREAT! I thin it would have been better if I wouldn't have forgotten I put it in the oven, but WHATEVER!
Thanks to Elizabeth's Edibles for posting this so i could take a stab at it!

Golden Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Southern Living 2004 Annual Recipes


1 (8-ounce) package elbow macaroni
2 cups milk (I use whole milk)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion salt
2 (10-ounce) blocks sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided ( I use one block of Sharp Cheddar and one block of Extra-Sharp Cheddar cheese)
1 cup soft plain breadcrumbs ( The recipe suggest homemade breadcrumbs, but I use store bought - not Italian breadcrumbs, just plain)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (I use butter)

COOK macaroni according to package directions; drain well. Set aside.

PLACE milk, flour, and onion salt in a quart jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously 1 minute.

STIR together flour mixture, 3 1/2 cups cheese, and macaroni.

POUR macaroni mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish
Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs and remaining 1 cup cheese; drizzle evenly with melted butter.
BAKE at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Roasty Toasty!

On Saturday Chris and I had a small dinner party and it was so much fun! I love cooking and it was a great time with friends! We started our day by going out and cutting down our own Christmas Tree, then we picked up a half cord of wood, and finally cleaned the house and cooked a meal so that we could con our friends that were coming over to have patience with us to take a Christmas picture of us for the cards~ Thanks Katie!

My Menu for the party was
App: Sausage Cream cheese Dip
Meal: Roast with onions and carrots
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Green Beans with Caramelized onions
Dessert: Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle!

Above you see my roast, I'll have to tell you how to make it later when I find the recipe that I used! I PROMISE I won't make a habit of this! HA!

Also here's the Green Beans I served... still working on uploading that recipe~

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mexican Stuffed Shells!

Okay can you tell I'm on a kick? HA! I really think i was born with a little south of the border in my veins because i JUST.LOVE.IT! Luckily my husband puts up with it... must be soooo hard I'm sure!
Well I saw this on Le Petit Pierogi's blog and knew it was right up my alley! It was easy and fantastic... tip: I went ahead and browned the meat for the Mexican Pie and this together and put this half in the fridge until i made it! TIME SAVER!

1 lb. ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
4 oz. cream cheese (we used non-fat)
12 jumbo pasta shells (we used a lot, mine sort of were falling apart but still worked!
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce (I used an entire small jar)
1 cup cheddar cheese (I didn't use b/c i didn't have any)
1 cup monterey jack cheese (I used a whole bar b/c that's what i had, worked great!)
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips (we omitted)
3 green onions (omitted because I didn't have any)
Sour cream


1. In a frying pan cook ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.
2. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely.
3. While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don't stick together.
4. Pour salsa (I used taco sauce) on bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
5. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9x13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
7. After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes.
8. Add any condiments you'd like (onions, black olives, etc.) Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa. Enjoy!

Mexican Pie

So please don't be fooled by the picture... it's really good. Once I wiped around it the layers stayed on their own, this was just over flow and I took a picture to show what NOT to do but then my camera died and couldn't hold Chris off to let it recharge to get a new picture. But man it was spicy and tasty. If you don't like a lot of kick though, be careful with your peppers! So thank you Delicious Meliscious for posting this GREAT treat!
For Some reason I named it Mexican Pie, but here's the real name...

Tortilla and Black Bean Pie

1 lb ground beef, seasoned with your favorite taco seasoning
1 small jar enchilada sauce
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 large onion, diced
2 mild jalapeños and 2 Serrano's (i couldn't find any Serrano's so i used 3 jalapeños!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces beer, or 1 1/2 cups water (I used water, shhh don't tell Chris!)
1 can corn, drained OR 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
2 1/2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream and salsa, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a paring knife, trim tortillas to fit a 9-inch springform pan, using the bottom of the pan as a guide. Set aside.

Brown ground beef and drain fat. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add beans and beer to skillet, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in corn, and remove from heat.

Fit a trimmed tortilla in bottom of springform pan; layer with 1/4 of the meat & beans, spoon some enchilada sauce over top (maybe 3-4 spoonfuls) and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat three times, using 1 cup cheese on top layer. Bake until hot and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Unmold pie; spoon any extra enchilada sauce on top, then sprinkle with scallions. To serve, slice into wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa.


What a wonderful thanksgiving! We visited my family in North Carolina and it was worth the Nine hour drive! We had a very casual, but VERY tasty Thanksgiving meal. Our spread included: Turkey (I know shocking!), Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Candied Yams (or as we call it Sweet potato casserole, but we don't mash the yams), Green Beans, Salad, Carrots, Yeast rolls, and that MIGHT have been it... at least until dessert! It was so much fun because my WHOLE family cooked. We all helped each other do everything so no ONE person was stuck alone. The Dogs even TRIED to help but we had to kick them out~
We were all happy and stuffed... Sadie though was not amused with us!

Green Beans with Caramelized onions and Bacon!

So this was Fantastic! Love it! Light yet quite tasty! I can't remember where I got this recipe from so I can't post that now, but I'll dig through my recipes when i get a chance and post if for ya'll!

Savory Carrots

This was a huge hit at my Thanksgiving table! My family just ate it up, I think it might become a regular dish there! Thanks Katie (who else were you expecting) for making this when I came to your house for dinner so that I could enjoy it and EAT it!

Savory Glazed Carrots

3 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
2 large shallots, large dice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 c. water
1/2 c. full bodied white wine
1/4 c. honey
1 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
3 Tbsp pure grade B maple syrup (not regular syrup, it's too sweet)
2 Tbsp fresh chopped chives

-In medium bowl, add stock, water, honey, wine, and honey and whisk to combine thoroughly; set aside.
-In large saucepan over medium heat, add carrots, shallots, top with butter and salt.
-Pour stock mixture over carrots, cover and boil until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
-Strain carrots over bowl to reserve liquid.
-Place carrots in warmed bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
-Place liquid back into saucepan and boil on medium-high until reduced and beginning to thicken, about 5 minutes.
-Whisk in flour and maple and let boil, stirring constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes.
-Pour glaze over carrots and toss in with chives.
-Serve immediately.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pumpkin Bars!

Again something GREAT to make ahead and take! I waited to make the frosting until I got to my parents for Thanksgiving, since I didn't think Cream Cheese Icing would keep very well on a Nine Hour car Ride... but the rest I did on Tuesday night before the drive!
Thanks to Elizabeth's Edible Experience for posting this yummy treat!

* 4 eggs
* 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 15-ounce can pumpkin
* 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* enough shopped pecans to sprinkle on top (my addition)

* 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
* 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer (I had to use my handheld... but not for long! Can't wait for Christmas) at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.

Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

Spread on cooled pumpkin bars (I piped them for a cleaner presentation).

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl

with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.

Stir in the vanilla and mix again.

Apple Bread

Thanks to Katie I had something that I could make ahead and bring to my parents house for Thanksgiving! This was such a tasty treat! As you can see by the picture below it was very much enjoyed! We arrived on Wednesday night around midnight or so and this is what was left by 8am the next morning!

Here's what you need to do:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 smidgen fresh ground nutmeg
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. apples (about 2 medium), diced
1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans).
-In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk to combine thoroughly, set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, combine oil and sugar and beat to combine thoroughly.
-Add egg and yolk and beat to combine thoroughly.
-Beat in vanilla.
-Turn mixer to low and add flour mixture, a little at a time, beating until just combined.
-Stir in apples and pecans.
-Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan (batter will be quite thick) and spread evenly.
-Place loaf pan into oven and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 80-90 minutes (45 minutes for mini loaves).
-Let cool before serving.