Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas came early...

Thanks to Santa (aka, my husband and my parents), I am the proud owner of a brand new Canon Rebel.

NO MORE camera problems!! I was so happy to see my old one go, and now I don't have to borrow my dad's. YAY!!

Thank you, Santa - you are awesome - extra cookies for you this year. :)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

We had bits and pieces of our families over for dinner last night (the ones who weren't sick or working or already had plans) and at first I wasn't even going to make a dessert.

But when I was scrolling through my reader to find dinners for the week, I came across this Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from Beantown Baker.

Oh, was this delicious... it did end up a little bit sweet, and I was bummed that all chocolate chips sank to the bottom so it wasn't really cookie-ish (more like a fudgey layer on the bottom) but it was gooooood. I completely cheated and used a ready-made pie crust (a chocolate one!!).

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • Serve with ice cream (optional)
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high until foamy.

Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter.

Stir in morsels and nuts and spoon into pie shell.

Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm.

Pasta e Fagioli

I've tried to make Pasta e Fagioli a few times, but never really found one I was in love with.

Until now.

Thanks to Brooke for posting this copycat from the Olive Garden - I will never, ever try another recipe.

This makes a TON - be prepared to either have a lot of company or to freeze a good amount.

I can't wait to make this again - so freaken fabulous.

Cooking spray
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1/2 of a small 1 lb. bag of baby carrots, chopped
5 stalks of celery, diced
2 (14.5 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (32 oz.) carton + 1 (14.5 oz.) can of beef broth (I also used an additional can of beef broth)
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped (I used dry)
3/4 tsp tabasco sauce
1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 cup dry small pasta (such as ditalini or elbow macaroni)
salt to taste

Brown ground beef in oil. Drain if necessary.
Add onion, carrot, celery and diced tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes.
Add beans, beef broth, oregano, pepper, parsley, tabasco sauce and spaghetti sauce.
Simmer soup on low for about 30-45 minutes until carrots are almost tender.
Add pasta to pot and simmer on low for about 15-30 minutes until pasta is just shy of al dente. As the soup cools, the pasta will absorb the broth. You can cook the pasta separate and add it to the soup after the soup has cooled.

Baked Orzo with Fontina

A few weeks ago, Brooke hosted a NJ get together with some of the local girls from our cooking board. We each made a different component of the meal, and I was "in charge" of pasta. Brooke (who made a pumpkin gingerbread trifle and hot apple toddies) and I have been friends in real life for a few years now, but it was SO nice to meet Jenn (chicken marsala), Colleen (pizza pockets), and Sarah (zesty broccoli casserole)! (Check out their blogs for some yummy food, as well as recaps of our day - Sarah did a great job!)

Since Jenn was making Chicken Marsala, I thought this dish for Giada's Baked Orzo with Fontina (via Elizabeth's Edibles) would be perfect.

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup) (I ended up using all mozzarella because my husband he couldn't find fontina at the store...)
  • 4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the Marsala. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until the Marsala has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Add the cream, fontina, mozzarella, peas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and dried thyme. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Fall Exchange!

A few times a year, the cooking board I call home does a gift exchange.

Here is the beautiful package I received from Emily:

What's "funny" is that I didn't even realize I had signed up for it. I was so pleasantly surprised when I received this awesome package, but incredibly guilty that I didn't send anything out to my recipient. But hey - who doesn't like shopping? My recipient's gift was a little less fall-themed and a bit more wintery, but hopefully she doesn't mind...!

Thanks again, Emily - I can't wait to use all of this cool stuff!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Want some Fiestaware??

I know that I have been a TERRIBLE blogger lately. I do have a bunch of things to post about one of these days, but with work and the holidays and a very active toddler, "downtime" is a foreign concept to me...!

But anyway, to hold you over, run-run-RUN over here and sign up to win FOUR 4-piece settings from Fiestaware.

Actually, DON'T. Because if you do, that will lessen my chances and I would be sad...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Need an apron?

Thanks to Kim's blog, I ran over here and signed up. I always thought aprons were lame, but I am seeing ones that are just cuter and cuter, and now I totally want one. And this one is adorable!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Another dessert from Ryan's party! This delicious dip comes to me courtesy of Kelly, and it was another crowd-pleaser. So fast and easy to put together!

I served this with vanilla wafers, chocolate graham crackers, and animal crackers. Yum!

(The recipe is actually supposed to be a cheese ball, but I left it as a dip instead.)

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in confectioners' sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

1-2-3-4 Cake

Oh, this cake was gooooood. Moist, and flavorable, and yummy... it was a big hit, and there wasn't much left after Ryan's party was over.

This cake was recommended to me by lovestoeat, and it was a winner. I may never buy a box cake again...

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (I omitted and just used a little extra vanilla.)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour three 9 inch cake pans (I used cupcake liners and cupcake pan). In a mixing bowl cream butter and gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and flavorings, beating after each addition until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 mins. Cool in pans 10 mins and remove from pans to finish cooling. Top with frosting.

Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

I brought a billion party-related questions to my cooking board, and those ladies never let me down. Bethany recommended this Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, and it was freaken fantastic. Moist, gooey, chocolatey... perfect.

Don't mind the picture. First of all, I didn't let the icing thicken long enough, so it's all gooey. Plus, I hate my camera, so I couldn't get a decent shot. Looks can be deceiving, however, because this cake was gooooood. Did I already say that?

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Deep Dark Chocolate Frosting
from Hershey's, recipe on back of Special Dark cocoa

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk

Melt the butter. Stir in cocoa. Add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency. Makes about 2 cups.

Tomato-Basil-Mozzarella Skewers

These little bites don't really require a recipe, but they are just so adorable that I had to share them. I made them for Ryan's party, and at the end of the night, there were only a couple left.

Come on, how CUTE are these things!!

  • 1.5 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
  • bunch of basil leaves
  • 8oz fresh mozzarella, diced
  • balsamic vinagrette
Stack one of each of the first three ingredients and secure with a toothpick. Serve alongside the balsamic.


I wanted a fun layer dip for Ryan's second birthday party, and Ashlee's blog delivered!

This was incredibly easy to make, and as you can see from the photo above, people started digging in before I could even snap a picture! This was delicious, and I will for sure make it again.

  • 1 brick of lowfat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 c. thick salsa
  • 1 28 oz. can vegetarian refried beans
  • 2 c. guacamole
  • 1 sack of shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. light sour cream
  • 1/2 c. salsa or pico de gallo
  • Optional: Chopped jalapenos, olives, or red onion
In a bowl, mix cream cheese and salsa. Spread into the bottom of a clear, deep dish.

Spread beans over cream cheese layer.

Make guacamole, spread over beans.

Top with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and other toppings.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Oven-Fried Honey Chicken Nuggets

This chicken recipe from Brooke is one of the yummiest and easiest chicken dishes I've had in a long time!

I chose to chop up the chicken into nuggets, mainly because Ryan will eat anything he can dunk. And eat these he did; actually, I believe he ate 7 or 8 of them!

Thank you, Brooke, for a new favorite. I know I will make these frequently in the future.

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I used cooking spray)
  • 6 (4 to 6-ounce) fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halves

Preheat oven to 375°F.In shallow bowl, whisk together honey and vinegar. Pour bread crumbs into separated bowl. Set bowls aside. Spread oil over foil-lined baking pan large enough to hold all chicken pieces in one layer. Roll chicken pieces in honey mixture, then in bread crumbs; place in pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.

Spaghetti with Zesty "Bolognese"

While this is so very much NOT a bolognese, it was still very good. I found this on Elizabeth's blog; I believe she found it in a Kraft magazine.

  • 12 oz dry spaghetti noodles
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 2 TBSP Cream cheese, softened (I used 2 oz)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
Cook pasta to al dente. Drain & set aside.

Meanwhile, saute onions & garlic in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add ground beef and brown. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.

Add tomatoes, Italian dressing, & Italian seasoning, & parsley. I also added a cube of frozen basil from Trader Joe's. Bring to a low boil. Add red pepper flakes.

Add cream cheese and stir in until melted and well-combined. Toss with pasta. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Rachael Ray Show!

My awesome friend Brooke scored tickets to a taping of the Rachael Ray show, so she and I and a couple of her friends headed into NYC to check out the Queen of the EVOO.

(The next two pictures are from Brooke.)

Here we are in the middle of our 2-hour wait outside: Karen, me, Kim, and Brooke. We hung out and snacked while we waited to be approved to get in. But... we made it!

She didn't tape a whole show, which was kind of a bummer... she taped 3 different segments for 2 shows. One was a spot with Greta (who was cool in person, but she didn't talk too much with us) about how to fix leg problems, and then she did two cooking sets. In one, she made a broken spaghetti risotto, and the other was a 2-meals-in-one where she cooked a chuck roast and then used leftovers for a stoup. The studio smelled yumo!

I was hoping for some awesome giveaway, but our Snack of the Day was totally kick-ass - these BrowniePops. I haven't tasted something so fabulous in a long time...

The weather was nice, the company was great, and we really had a fabulous time. I believe the two shows should be on in the next week or so... look for us! :)

French Onion Meatloaf - Revisited

About six months ago, I made French Onion Meatloaf. It was kind of my own little creation, and those are few and far between!

While I did like it, I didn't LOVE it. It wasn't quite French-Onion-y for me, but it was a great start. I was excited to give it another shot.

I made it again a few days ago, and please don't be turned off by the gross picture. This was GOOD. I wanted a meatloaf that was moist enough to not need gravy, and I think I got it. Actually, it was JUST slightly too wet. But that's okay. :)

  • EVOO
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 T. Italian seasoning
  • 2 & 1/2 T. Ketchup
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1/2-3/4 cup beef stock
  • a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • a handful of French-fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the onion in the oil until softened and done.

Combine onions with all remaining ingredients except for the French-fried onions into a bowl. Shape into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9 x. 5 inch pan. Sprinkle fried onions onto top; gently press them into the loaf a bit so they "stick." Bake, covered loosely with foil, for 50-60 minutes, or until meatloaf is cooked through.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Italian Baked Bruschetta Chicken and Pastina

Brace yourselves, folks - I've done it again. I have created my very own dinner.

Okay, that is a total lie.

When planning my meals for the week, I couldn't decide between Giada's Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina and Kraft's Bruschetta Chicken Bake.

But then... it occured to me; make BOTH!

So I did.

I pretty much doubled Giada's version minus the topping, and then used the Kraft's topping instead.

Delicious. But not a friendly meal if you are cutting back on carbs. ;)


  • 1 lb pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered (or sprayed) 9x13 baking dish.
In a small bowl mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened. Layer the stuffing mix on top of the pasta.
Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli in a White Wine Cheddar Sauce

This dinner by Katie was amazing. It has popped up on my Google reader about seventy billion times, so I knew it had to be a winner. It absolutely was. I don't even know what else to say about this meal, other than the fact that it will for sure make a encore appearance.

I ended up using chicken thighs instead of breasts, but that's really only because I accidentally grabbed them out of the freezer. Otherwise, I don't think I changed a thing...

  • 1 lb. ziti
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup roasted garlic paste (made by roasting garlic in oven and squuezing garlic out of skin) (I used about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of roasted garlic paste in a tube, and it was perfect.)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 c. low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 large head of brocolli, cut into florettes (about 2 c.)
  • 10 oz. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (about 2 c.)
  • 3 oz. aged reserve cheddar (preferably white), grated (about 1 1/2 c.)
  • 4 - 6 thin strips of parmesan cheese (optional)
  • salt and ground pepper

Bring 4 qt. of water to a boil in lare pot and cook ziti according to box directions to only al dente and set aside.

At the same time, lightly steam broccolli florettes on to of pan in steamer and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

When just coming to foaming, add garlic paste and cook until fragrant (about 1 min)

Add flour and cook until beginning to turn golden (about 2 min.)

Add vermouth and cook until evaporated (about 1 min).

Stir broth into pan and simmer sauce until slightly thickened (about 2 min).

Add cheddar and stir constantly while returning to a boil.

Fold in ziti cook for one minute additional and remove from heat.

Add brocolli and chicken and fold until sauce covers uniformly.

Plate and top with one or two strips of parmesean (optional) and serve.

Crockpot Lasagna

After being nervous all day about the lasagna drying out in my crockpot, I must say that I was beyond scared when I opened up the crockpot and saw this:

Even though I added a ton of extra sauce, it totally curled up and burned on the edges.

But really? It wasn't bad at all! I STILL had to add even MORE sauce when serving it (I probably used close to 3 times the amount in the original recipe), but only the top layer was a bit crispy. Everything else? Yummy.

I got this from Kelly, but hers looks MUCH better. I bet mine would have been nicer (and less dry) if I hadn't had to leave it on the "warm" setting for as long as I did.

I certainly wouldn't use this as my default lasagna or anything, and it did take a little more prep work than I would have liked, but not too shabby.

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz package of no-bake lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I ended up using about 4 cups of homemade marinara, PLUS a little less than a full jar of sauce)
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 15 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
1. Using a little olive oil, add onion and garlic to a saute pan. Then add beef. Over medium heat, cook until completely browned. Add sauce to meat and simmer for a few minutes.
2. Mix milk with ricotta cheese, add egg and mix completely. Add shredded cheeses and mix well.
3. Using cooking spray or crisco, cover sides and bottom of crockpot.
4. Pour 1/4 of meat mixture into crockpot, then a layer of noodles (you will probably need to break them in order to fit), followed by a layer of the 1/3 cheese mixture. Repeat 3 times. Then top with remaining meat mixture. Make sure all noodles around the edges are covered with sauce
5. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicken Cobbler Casserole

I couldn't wait to make this dinner that Brooke posted a week or so ago. How freaken fabulous does it look?

I changed a couple of things, but overall kept it the same. This was such a great dinner to make on this weird, cold, snowy day.

This was REALLY good... except when my husband complained that I didn't make enough of it for a substantial amount of leftovers. Hee hee!

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 4 slices cubed whole wheat bread, about 4 cups
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-size sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) shredded cooked chicken (I diced up three chicken thighs and cooked them up on the stove)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss 4 tablespoons melted butter with next 3 ingredients; set aside. Sauté onions in one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until golden brown. Add mushrooms, and sauté 3-5 minutes. Stir in wine and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until bubbly. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish; top evenly with bread mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

I was really in the mood to make some sort of dessert-y treat, but had already gone to the grocery store for the week. So I needed something that didn't require an extra trip.

I decided on ice cream, but I wanted something COOL, you know? Not just plain old vanilla or chocolate... something with CHUNKS. I love ice cream with chunks!

I realized that I had a handful of mini-Reeses cups in the cabinet, so off to Google I flew, in search of a Reeses recipe.

Well, I found an awesome one on the Cuisinart website!

I pretty much kept the recipe exactly, except that I used 1/2 skim milk in part of the milk addition. Also, for the peanut butter? I used my super cool Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, which not only gave it a kick-ass taste, but also made it look like chocolate ice cream.

And the taste? A-MAZE-ing. I seriously want to go grab it out of the freezer and have even more.

The pics were taken immediately out of the machine, which is why it's not really solid.

Speaking of pictures... I am sad to say that I have returned my parents' Rebel to its rightful owners. I've had it for several months and have loved every minute of it... I was finally starting to learn how to USE it! But maybe Santa will bring me one this year... I've been a very good girl, don't you think? :)

So future pictures will be taken from my Sony CyberShot or my Fuji FinePix... while I mourn the Rebel that was never mine. Hee hee!


  • 1-1/8 cups good quality peanut butter (not natural)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped chocolate peanut butter cup candies

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or whisk to combine the peanut butter and sugar until smooth. Add the milk and mix on low speed until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 25 to 35 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the chopped candy through the top and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.

Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories 261 (69% from fat) • carb. 15g • pro. 6g • fat 21g • sat. fat 9g • chol. 43mg • sod. 110mg • calc. 49mg • fiber 1g

©2008 CuisinartCuisinart® is a registered trademark of Cuisinart, Stamford, CT 06902.

Pumpkin Scones

I could not wait to try these Pumpkin Scones from Cooking Up Memories. I love scones, and I love pumpkin, so... voila! YAY!

For some reason, though, my glaze wasn't as opaque and glaze-ish as hers; it just kind of saturated the scone and made it unnecessarily soggy. I think I didn't use enough powdered sugar, though - I just finished what was left in the box without measuring. So that was probably the cause! I definitely didn't have enough for the spiced glaze, so I didn't even attempt that.

Anyway, when you scope out these pictures, notice how each shot seems to have fewer and fewer chocolate chips...

What a little grub!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 large egg


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

To make the scones:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

To make the plain glaze:
Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.

When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.

To make the spiced glaze:
Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.

Chicken Rigatoni with Cream Cheese Sauce

This was a delightful little dish from Lynsey Lou's Place. I love her blend of flavors and creative additions. This is definitely a nice, easy keeper!

  • I think the only thing I'd change is to double the sauce; other than that - big winner!

    Check out my little green bean thief:

  • Busted!


  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 3-4 Chicken cutlets -cubed
  • Olive oil-for drizzling
  • Fresh cracked pepper- to taste
  • Garlic salt - to taste
  • 2 1/2-3 Cups sugar snapped peas-prepared as directed
  • Parmesan cheese-for sauce and to garnish

Cream Sauce:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese-at room temperature
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
  • Fresh cracked pepper-to taste

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook about 8-10 minutes. Once finished, drain the pasta and set aside.

Warm some olive oil in a skillet and then add cubed chicken. Stir in chicken and season with pepper and garlice salt. Cook about 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked entirely through. Remove chicken to drain.

Cream Sauce:
In a small sauce pan add cream cheese and butter, melt together over low to medium heat.

Continue until the blend is smooth and creamy. Stir in milk, fresh cracked pepper and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

Simmer mixture over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Once finished combine chicken, pasta, sugar snap peas and cream sauce and mix together.

Serve with parmesan cheese on top along with fresh cracked pepper.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Veggie Pot Pie

The second recipe for October's Barefoot Bloggers was a yummy one: Veggie Pot Pie. Thanks, Deb, for a great selection!

I have to confess, however, that a lack of some ingredients (and a big lack of talent and time!) made me deviate more than a little from the recipe. For Ina's awesome version, click on the link above. Below, you'll find my version. While it may not have tasted as good as the original, it wasn't bad - and it was a whole lot quicker!

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 tsp dried fennel
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
  • 1 package frozen butternut squash
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 frozen pastry shells

Bake the pastry shells according to package directions.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve and add to the sauce. Add the squash, frozen onions, frozen veggies, and parsley to the sauce.

Pour over warm pastry shells.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I found this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken on Colleen's blog (I believe it originated here) and it was... interesting. It wasn't quite as crispy as I was hoping for, but it wasn't bad at all. I would definitely try this again!

Before I get to the recipe, let me just flaunt my adorable son who tried to show off his already-rotting pumpkin, and then stole some carrots:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced - about 6-8 minutes.

Crockpot Chicken Parisienne

This is another recipe from Don't Panic--Dinner's in the Freezer.

Forgive the picture - I could not capture anything that didn't represent goo. However, while it wasn't bad, it certainly wasn't anything spectacular.

It was kind of lumpy and thick when I took it out of the pot, so I actually added a few spoonfuls of jarred gravy over the top.

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 10oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 chicken breasts

Mix wine, soup, and mushrooms together. Stir flour into sour cream and add to soup mixture.

Place chicken and sauce in crockpot. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika over top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

To freeze: Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag and freeze.

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