Sunday, October 24, 2010


This dish can be assembled up to 8 hours ahead of time; refrigerate, covered, until ready to bake (add a few minutes to the cooking time).
1/2 leftover thyme-roasted chicken, skin removed, meat shredded (see notes below)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeno, quartered (remove ribs and seeds for less heat, if desired)
1 t. chili powder
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (6 oz)

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and scallions. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. In a blender, puree pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 t. salt, and 1/4 t. pepper until smooth. Pour 1 cup of sauce in bottom of an 8 in square pan.
3. Layer tortillas on work surface; mound chicken mixture on half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Roll tortillas; place, seam side down, in baking dish.
4. Pour remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with cheese. Place dish on a baking sheet; bake until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. Let cool 5 min before serving.
NOTES: You can cut way back on the amount of chicken by using black beans and mushrooms as a substitution...delicious! I will also leave out the jalapeno if I do not have one and just up the garlic a little. It is also yummy to use the water you boil the chicken in to thin out your sauce. The recipe calls for a thyme roasted chicken, but I boil a few breasts in a pot with a few dashes of thyme and that works fine as well!

Caramel Apple Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. Vanilla or French Vanilla Instant pudding
1 cup water
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, and coarsely chopped
20 caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, eggs and oil in large bowl until well blended. Gently stir in apples. Pour into pan. Bake 50 min to 60 min until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool 20 min and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
Microwave caramels and milk on HIGH for 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until blended. Cool 10 min, until slightly thickened. Drizzle over cake.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

From Napa Valley Grille restaurant in the Mall of America

1 lb pumpkin puree (1 sm. can + a bit more)
1/2 stalk of celery, diced
1 yellow onioin, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 T allspice
1 T cinnamon
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
4 T. butter
6 c. vegetable stock (3, 14 oz cans)
salt and pepper to taste
paper thin apple slices, cut into small bits for garnish

Sweat celery, onion, carrots and ginger together until tender with a little vegetable oil. Add cinnamon and allspice and let flavors develop. Add vegetable stock and pumpkin puree. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 30 min. DO NOT BOIL! (Boiling will make your soup turn a brown rust color)Add sugar, cream and butter. Puree in a blender. Add salt and pepper to adjust flavor at the end. If your soup is too thick, add more liquid. Garnish with apple bits.

Carmel Dip

1 stick butter, melted
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. white corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
pinch of salt

In a med. saucepan, combine all ingredients. Over med. heat, bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Let cool and use as a dip for apples. Carmel will thicken as it cools.

Makes 1 quart

Monday, October 11, 2010

Asian Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad
...another great salad from Jenny Bollwitt!

1 head napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions
green/yellow/red bell peppers (or any combination of bell peppers)


1 package top ramen
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2-3 T butter


1/2 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Chop vegetables, combine.

Topping: Toast almonds in 2-3 T butter until golden brown. Remove from heat, add noodles and seasoning packet.

Caramel Apple French Toast

Caramel Apple French Toast

Angela Smeed makes this every Conference weekend for breakfast. She gave me the recipe the week before conference, so I thought we'd try it! It was DELICIOUS, and it looks so beautiful when it's served!!

Make the night before your breakfast
4 large Granny Smith apples
1 tsp. cinnamon
sugar to taste
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 T light corn syrup
3 T butter
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans
12 slices of firm white bread (Texas Toast)
3 eggs beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1. Peel, core and slice apples. Pour 1/2 cup of water over apples. Simmer 4-5 minutes until apples are softened. Drain apples, place in bowl. Gently mix in cinnamon and sugar.
2. Set aside apples. In the same skillet, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar melts and mixture comes to a slow boil. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with nuts.
3. Place 6 slices of bread on top of syrup and nuts. Divide apples among bread slices and top with remaining 6 slices.
4. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and nutmeg. Pour over apple sandwiches. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. In the morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
6. Remove from oven cover with a serving platter and invert (so caramel and nuts are on top). Cut each sandwich in half diagonally and serve with vanilla sauce.
Serves 12

Vanilla Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 T cornstarch
2 T butter or margarine
1 T vanilla

1. Mix sugar, cornstarch and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook stirring often, over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
2. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.
3. Stir until butter melts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

A hearty filling soup-comfort food to warm you up . . . great for a family or crowd!

2 14 1/2 ounce cans chicken broth
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/3 cup leek or green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons margarine or butter
1 cup half and half milk
1 cup carrots, sliced (may use canned to speed things up)
1/3 cup wild rice, uncooked
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (bite size pieces)

In a saucepan, mix broth, carrots, celery, uncooked rice, leek (or onion), thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover, simmer 50 minutes or until rice is tender.
Melt margarine or butter. Stir in flour, then stir in half & half. Cook and stir 1-minute more. Slowly add half & half mixture to rice mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken; heat through. Best when served immediately or same day. (Next day it separates a bit and has some condensation that can be resolved by re-warming it.) Toppings like chives, bacon or cheese can be added, but are not necessary. The soup stands on its own fine without them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stuffed Acorn Squash

With this crowd pleaser, you'll be the hostess with the mostess!
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 pound ground beef, preferably lean chuck or sirloin
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the squash in half crosswise and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Trim the ends so each half will stand upright. Place both halves in a baking pan, flesh side up, and pour hot water into the pan to reach about halfway up the squash. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to the center of each squash and season with salt and pepper. Loosely cover the pan with foil. Bake the squash until tender when pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Prepare the couscous according to the package directions and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Push the onion aside, add the meat, season with salt and pepper and cook through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the walnuts, cranberries and couscous; season with salt and pepper.

Remove the squash from the oven and, using a spatula, carefully transfer each half to a plate. Pour out any excess liquid from the centers. Divide the couscous among the squash.

*For a more hearty flavor, add some brown sugar to the squash before baking and also to the meat while cooking.

Healthy Harvest Stuffing

Plan ahead for Thanksgiving with this healthy, delicious version of stuffing!

  • 1 pound whole-wheat Italian bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium celery stalk with leaves, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and caps chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (you may not need to use it all)
  • Olive-oil spray (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees with oven rack in middle position. Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl along with walnuts and dried cranberries; set aside.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery, and shiitakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add apple and continue to cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, sage, and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper.
  • Add onion mixture to bowl with bread mixture; stir to combine. Add enough of the broth to thoroughly moisten the bread mixture without soaking it (there shouldn't be any excess broth in the bottom of the bowl). Spoon stuffing into a 2-quart casserole dish, cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Uncover, mist the top of the stuffing with olive-oil spray, if desired, and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more
  • To cook in turkey: Moisten the bread mixture with only 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and spoon half of the mixture into the turkey; cook turkey as preferred. For the rest of the bread mixture, add more of the broth to moisten, being careful not to soak (see above). Transfer the remaining stuffing to a 1-quart baking dish or 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Cover with foil and proceed as above.

  • Pumpkin Waffles

    Pumpkin Waffles
    This recipe is courtesy of Valerie her down home recipes! These are awesome as is, but I like a little sweeter waffle, so I add 1-2 T of sugar to the batter. 

    Mix dry ingredients:
    2 c. flour
    2 T. baking powder
    1 T. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. salt

    Mix wet ingredients:
    4 egg yolks (set aside egg whites)
    1 c. pumpkin
    1 T. vanilla
    1 1/2 c. milk
    1/2 c. butter melted
    Combine wet and dry ingredients. Beat egg whites in metal bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in egg whites. 

    Buttermilk Syrup

    1 stick of butter
    1 c. buttermilk (or milk and tsp. vinegar)
    2 c. sugar
    2 T. light corn syrup

    Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Add 2 tsp. vanilla and 2 tsp. baking soda. Let sit a few minutes before serving--will be frothy at first.

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

    Lezlee Strong brought this recipe to the menu board project night. Sounds delish!

    3 cups flour
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp salt
    4 eggs
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 cups sugar
    2 cans (2 cups) pumpkin
    1 1/4 cup oil
    1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

    Mix dry ingredients. Beat in eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin. Pour into bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 min. Makes 2 large loaves, or 4 small.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Cauliflower Soup

    Cauliflower Soup

    I got this recipe from Ree, aka, the Pioneer Woman. I've tweaked a couple things for the next time I make it. It was really delicious!

    1 stick Butter, Divided (you could probably reduce this by a 2-4 tablespoons.
    ½ whole Onion, Finely Diced
    2 whole Carrots Finely Diced
    1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
    1 whole Cauliflower Head (roughly Chopped)
    2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley (chopped)
    2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
    6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
    2 cups Whole Milk - I used reduced fat milk, and it tasted fine!
    1 cup Half-and-half
    2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste
    1 cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature - I omitted this, don't know what I missed!

    In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt half of the butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.
    Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.
    Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
    In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly.
    Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
    Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.

    Crock Pot Lasagna

    Crock Pot Lasagna

    adapted from Tasty Kitchen

    The beauty of this recipe is that you get 2nd day lasagna taste (you know, when all the flavors get better acquainted with each other) the 1st day you make it.  It's not going to be as pretty as when you make it in a casserole dish, but if it's just for the fam, it's fine! You could probably make just about any lasagna recipe this way as long as there is enough fluid to cook the noodles and still be juicy!

    1 small onion, chopped
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 lb lean ground beef
    1 jar spaghetti sauce (I actually use about 1 1/2 jars, or you can add extra tomato sauce out of the can-this is important, because the noodles are absorbing the juices to cook, and having too little sauce will result in a slightly drier lasagna)
    2 cups cottage cheese, or ricotta is you're fancy!
    1 egg, beaten
    Shredded Mozzarella cheese
    Shredded Parmesan cheese
    Uncooked, regular Lasagna noodles

    Brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Add sauce, mix. Separately, combine the cottage/ricotta cheese with the egg and parsley. Put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the crock pot, then layer the uncooked noodles (you may have to break them a bit to fit), then more sauce. Drop spoonfuls of cottage/ricotta cheese mixture on top of the sauce, mix slightly to combine. Sprinkle cheeses on top, repeat the layers until you have about 3 layers of noodles. Cook on low for 4 hours. Mangia!

    Grandma's Sloppy Joe's

    2 lbs. Hamburger meat
    1 can Campbell's chicken gumbo soup
    1 cup tomato sauce
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1 Tb. vinegar
    2 Tb. ketchup
    2 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
    1 Tb. mustard
    2 Tb. chopped onion

    Brown hamburger and onion. Drain the fat. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

    Ham and Potato Casserole

    This recipe isn't an exact science. So you can add more or less of the potatoes/ham/sauce depending on how many you're feeding. But for a family of 6 this is what I do:

    Par boil 5 potatoes (that means boil them but take them out a few minutes before they are tender--partially cooked through) Cut the potatoes into bite size chunks.
    Buy a small ham or use left over ham or buy a thick slice of ham. Cut it up into bite size chunks.

    Put the potatoes and ham in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

    Melt 4 Tb. butter in a saute pan. Once it starts to bubble add 4 Tb. of flour. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of milk (you may need more or a bit less--you just want a nice saucy thickness). Add salt and pepper and dry mustard to desired flavor. It should be a nice tasting sauce. Pour over the potatoes and ham and gently fold in to cover all in the pan.

    Cover dish in tin foil and bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Add cheese on top at the end. Enjoy!!!

    My entire family loves this meal! Hope you enjoy!