Sunday, October 31, 2010

Caramel Apples

Recipe from: Cooking Light

Yield: 16 apples (serving size: 1 apple)


16 wooden sticks
16 small apples, chilled
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 cups half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Push wooden sticks into the top of chilled apples. Return apples to the refrigerator until caramel is ready for dipping.
2. Place sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan; boil, stirring until dissolved. Boil, without stirring, 9 minutes or until light golden.
3. Combine half-and-half, vanilla, and salt; slowly stir into pan. Boil until candy thermometer reaches 235° (45 minutes), stirring frequently.
4. Pour caramel into a bowl sitting in a hot water bath. Swirl apples in caramel, and place on baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Dirt Cake


1 1/4 pounds of Oreo cookies (1 package)
1/2 cup melted butter
12-oz. container of Cool Whip (I used Fat Free)
8-oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 packages vanilla instant pudding mix
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Gummy worms (optional)


1. Crush cookies in blender.
2. Using clean flower pot or bowl, put a layer of "dirt" (cookies) in the bottom. 3. Combine butter, whipped topping, cream cheese and powdered sugar and layer over "dirt".
4. Combine pudding, milk and vanilla; blend until thickened. Add a layer over first mixture.
5. Continue to alternate layers, reserving "dirt" for top layer.
6. You can decorate with Gunny worms.
7. Refrigerate.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mocha Macadamia Chocolate Chunk Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon boiling water
1 cup plus
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces semisweet chocolate candy bars, chopped
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until softened. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in egg, vanilla and salt.
3. Dissolve espresso powder in the boiling water, add to butter mixture and beat well.
4. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and beat combined. Stir in chopped chocolate and nuts.
5. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 36.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin
2/3 cup water

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt into a medium bowl.

2. Combine the sugar and oil in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin.

3. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the water, mixing well after each addition.
4. Spoon into 2 greased and floured 5x9-inch loaf pans.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the loaves test done.

6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes two loaves.

If you need a sifter, splurge and buy the Williams-Sonoma Flour Sifter here. It was so easy and fast.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zesty Spaghetti

1 can (6oz.) tomato paste
-fill 3 times with water
1 package McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce mix
1 small onion
seasonings to taste (I used red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and garlic powder)
1 lb. ground beef (I used 1 lb. ground sausage)
spaghetti noodles (or pasta of choice)

1. Brown ground beef (or sausage) and drain.
2. Add tomato paste, water, mix, onion and seasonings.
3. Let simmer.
4. Serve warm over your choice of pasta.

Sophisticated Punch

1 12oz. frozen orange juice
1 12 oz. frozen lemonade
1 large can of pineapple juice
-fill can with water
2 liter bottle of ginger ale
Raspberries or strawberries for show (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Serve chilled.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Recipe from: Cooking Light

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 (13.5-ounce) package baked tortilla chips (about 16 cups)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

Raspberry Baked Brie

Recipe from: Pillsbury and A Day in the Life


1 can (8oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 round (8oz.) Brie cheese
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup fresh raspberries (do not use frozen)
1 egg, beaten
Assorted crackers or sliced baguette French bread


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll dough; separate crosswise into 2 sections. Press each section into 6-inch square, firmly press perforations to seal. Place cheese on center of 1 dough square; top with jam and raspberries.

2. Place square on top of cheese round. Press dough evenly around cheese, folding bottom edges over top edges; press to seal completely. Place on cookie sheet.

3. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet; place on serving plate. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm with crackers. Store in refrigerator.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wasabi and Panko-Crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce

2/3 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 large boneless, center-cut loin pork chops (I bought butterfly chops)
1 tsp peanut oil - I used olive oil
Cooking spray
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1/3 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp sake or dry sherry - I used sherry
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp wasabi paste
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
Rice made according to package directions - I used Uncle Ben's Jasmine rice with parsley sprinkled on top

1. In a shallow dish, place the egg white and lightly whisk. In another dish, add the breadcrumbs.

2. Dredge the pork in the egg white and then coat in breadcrumbs.

3. In a nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray, heat the oil over medium heat.

4. Cook the pork chops about 4 minutes on each side, being careful not to burn. (The chops I bought were about an inch thick and took about 20-30 minutes to cook)

5. In a small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, soy, sherry, sugar and wasabi paste.

6. Remove the pork chops and set on a plate. Reduce heat down, and add ginger. Stir constantly until it starts to brown (this was only like 15 seconds for me), and then pour in the sauce. Stir around to loosen the browned bits in the pan.

7. Stir in the green onions...

8. Pour sauce over the pork chops and serve with rice.

***We loved this dish. It took a little longer than expected, but in the end, it was delicious. I'd definitely try it again, but buy thinner chops. We will be having this again.

Chopped Broccoli with Pine Nuts

Recipe from: Bob Harper

1 large stalk of organic broccoli (florets and stem cut into uniform pieces)
3 Tablespoons of pine nuts (toasted) - OMITTED
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves smashed and skinned - I used 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 large shallot sliced - OMITTED
1 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes (less if you don't like spicy)
1 Teaspoon of chopped and grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper

1. Heat a large pot with olive oil, add the pepper flakes, garlic, shallot, and season with salt and pepper. Once the garlic and shallot are "soft" add the portioned broccoli. Stir until evenly coated. 2. Add 1/2 a cup of water and put a lid on the pot. Cook the broccoli until the water evaporates about 6-8 minutes.
3. Once water is evaporated add the toasted pine nuts and lemon zest.
4. With an old school potato masher "mash" the broccoli.

**This was delicious and so easy to make. Not to mention healthy! I don't care for pine nuts and I didn't have a shallot; so, I omitted, but it still tasted great.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

Recipe from: Cooking Light

1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
4 medium red bell peppers
3/4 pound ground sirloin
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups bottled tomato-and-basil pasta sauce (such as Classico), divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry red wine
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Set aside.

While rice cooks, cut tops off bell peppers; reserve tops. Discard seeds and membranes. Place peppers, cut sides down, in an 8-inch square baking dish; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at high 2 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender. Cool.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and the next 5 ingredients (beef through allspice); cook 4 minutes or until beef is lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from heat. Add rice, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, and cheese to beef mixture, stirring to combine.

While beef cooks, combine 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce and wine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.

Spoon about 3/4 cup beef mixture into each pepper. Place peppers in a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; add wine mixture to pan. Cover with foil.

Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve peppers with sauce. Garnish with pepper tops.

**I've made stuffed peppers before, but this was a great recipe. I loved the flavor of the peppers. Also, we had rice on the side instead of inside the pepper.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Easy Calzone

Recipe from: Simply Made...with Love

1 can of crescent rolls
pepperoni (or any pizza topping you want)
shredded mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese
1 T. italian seasoning
pinch of garlic salt
olive oil (1 T)

1. Preheat oven to time directed on rolls can. Roll out 4 separate rectangles (2 triangular squares together).
2. Place pepperoni on top of the dough. Place cheese on top of the pepperoni (in the center).
3. Roll dough & pinch dough to seal the ends. Brush with olive oil & seasonings. 4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until dough is brown.

**We loved these. They were so easy and so delicious. I made two chicken and two pepperoni.

Zucchini Patties

Recipe from: Haystacks & Champagne

3 medium zucchini
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 very small onion (or half a medium onion), diced
1-1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
½ cup Asiago cheese (or Parmesan/Romano)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Wash and cut the end off of the zucchini--do not peel. Shred the zucchini using the large holes of a cheese grater. Squeeze the shredded zucchini inside of a clean towel until you’ve removed as much liquid as possible. Or, alternately, you can put the shredded zucchini on several paper towels, lay more paper towels on top and pat down gently (repeat a couple times).

Place shredded zucchini into a medium sized bowl. Add garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, cheese (shredded), eggs, salt and pepper. Stir with a fork until well mixed.

Heat olive oil (about ¼ inch deep in bottom of skillet) to a medium heat (I used a bit less and it turned out ok). When the oil is hot enough drop a glob of zucchini batter into the skillet and flatten it a bit.

After about two minutes, turn the cakes over ( they should be a nice shade of golden-brown) and cook on the other side until done (about 2-3 minutes).

Place on paper towels (to absorb any oil). Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice and enjoy!

Serves 6.

**These were phenomenal. We loved them! And they were so easy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Italian Spinach



1 tbsp. minced garlic (or add more if you like)

1 can of fresh spinach

1 can of petite diced tomatoes

Parmesan cheese (OPTIONAL)


1. Warm EVOO and garlic in skillet. Do not burn the garlic.

2. Once garlic is browned, add spinach and tomatoes (be sure to drain both cans).

3. Heat all ingredients until warm (3-5 minutes) and serve.

It's really that easy and it's delicious!

Dump Cake

1 can (21 Oz.) Strawberry Pie Filling (or Cherry - your preference)
1 can (15 Oz.) Crushed Pineapple
1 box (about 18 Oz.) Yellow Or White Cake Mix (I used Yellow)
1 stick Margarine - or several spritzes of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
Whipped Cream - Optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Dump pie filling and crushed pineapple into baking dish. Stir together.
3. Sprinkle cake mix over the top of the fruit.
4. Slice margarine and butter and distribute over the surface of the cake mix. (Or spray lots and lots of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Recipe adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

When I asked Fred if it was good, he said, "It's too good!" Pat on the back for moi!