Monday, October 31, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pin It Happy Halloween!  What better way to celebrate than by carving a pumpkin and getting a delicious, nutritious snack out of it as well.  The smell of roasting pumpkin seeds reminds me of fall and being a kid and carving pumpkins with my family.  Even though we don't have kids, my husband and I still carve a pumpkin to welcome all of the trick-or-treaters to our home.  You don't have to actually carve the pumpkin to enjoy these delicious seeds, but it is an added festive bonus.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 pumpkin for carving
1 tsp olive oil
seasoned salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Cut off top of pumpkin and scoop out seeds and goo.  Separate the seeds from the goo.
3. Arrange seeds in a single layer on a foil covered baking sheet.
4. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently.
5. Sprinkle with seasoned salt to taste.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, tossing every 5, until golden brown.
7. Cool slightly and enjoy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Candy Corn Cookies

Pin It Just in time for Halloween, perfect 2-bite cookies.  Great for taking to a party and definitely a crowd pleaser.   The original recipe can be found at Life as a Loft House, one of my new fave food blogs.  Lots of good ideas and recipes.   Note - you need to let the dough chill for at least 3 hours, so plan accordingly.

Candy Corn Cookies

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
Zest of 1 medium lemon
Juice from half of lemon
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups flour (all purpose)
1/2 tsp baking soda
red food dye
yellow food dye
1/2 cup sugar for rolling
1. Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
2. Add egg, lemon juice and zest.  Beat until smooth.
3. Slowly add flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix until combined.
4. Divide dough into 3 equal parts.  Leave one piece white, dye one piece yellow and the other piece orange.
5. Line a loaf pan with foil.  Press white dough in an evn layer on the bottom.  Then layer orange dough.  Top with yellow dough.
6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  Dough must be firm.
7. Preheat oven to 325.
8. Remove dough from loaf pan and foil.  Slice off a 1/2 inch think slice from the short end of the loaf.
9. Lay flat and cut slice into 6 triangles.  Roll each triangle in sugar.
10. Arrange dough on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.
11. Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden.
12. Cool and enjoy.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Pin It I have a habit  of buying bananas and never eating them.  I know they are healthy, but I really can't handle the texture.  Because of this I always have very ripe bananas at my house and sometimes I just don't want banana bread.  I stumbled upon this recipe at Skinny Taste, my go to website for recipe ideas.  This is a great use for those leftover bananas.  I would describe it more as a dessert than a breakfast muffin, which is why I looked forward to waking up and eating one of these for 3 days in a row.

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

  • 3  ripe bananas, mashed

  • 1/4 cup apple sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp butter, softened

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • 1. preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    2. Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, applesauce, vanilla and bananas.  Mix thoroughly.
    3. Slowly add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Blend at low speed until just combined.  Be careful not to overmix.
    4. Stir in chocolate chips.
    5. Evenly divide mixture into 12 lined muffin cups.
    6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Meat Lovers Lasagna

    Pin It My huband loves meat.  The more meat the better.  I on the other hand prefer a variety of flavors and textures in my foods.  Veggie lasagna is my fave.  This recipe was my first attempt at no boil noodles and I am now converted.  They are so simple and save you tons of time.  I thought they might be gummy or hard, but they tasted just like regular boiled noodles.  This can also be made the night before and just heated before dinner the next day.  Leftovers store really well. 

    Meat Lovers Lasagna
    **makes a 2 qt, 7 x 11 baking dish**
    1 pkg no boil lasagna noodles (I used Barilla)
    1 lb ground beef
    1/2 lb ground italian sausage, hot or mild
    1 cup ricotta cheese, rediced fat is fine
    1 1/2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
    1 can Italian style diced tomatoes, drained
    1 large can tomato sauce

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Brown ad crumble beef and sausage in a large skillet.  Drain and return meat to skillet.
    3. Add tomatoes and sauce.  Heat through.
    4. Spread 1/2 c meat sauce on bottom of 7 x 11 baking dish.
    5. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 ricotta cheese on noodles, pour meat sauce to cover cheese, sprinkle with mozzerella.  Repeat until you have 3 layers.  End with mozzerella on top.
    6. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Roasted Cauliflour with Parmesan and Raisins

    Pin It I have recently developed a love for cauliflour.  I always thought it was a boring vegetable that was part of the California Blend frozen vegetables, but beyond that I didn't really deal with it.  That is until I learned to prepare it correctly.  Roasting is exactly what this boring vegetable needs.  Juicy raisins and salty parmesan create a great flavor balance.

    Roasted Cauliflour  with Parmesan and Raisins
    1 head cauliflour, chopped
    1-2 T roasted garlic grapeseed oil (or olive oil and up the amount of garlic)
    1/4 c raisins
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    2 T grated parmesan cheese
    salt and pepper to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Toss cauliflour and raisins with garlic oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper until well coated.
    3. Place in a shallow baking dish and top with parmesan cheese.
    4. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Chocolate Bread Pudding

    Pin It I was always a bit leery of bread pudding.  It just didn't sound appetizing to me.  My friend, Megan, convinced me to try it while we were out for a girls' night.  It was phenomenal!  I would describe it as a warm, moist cake drenched in caramel sauce.  What's not to like.  I realized that I had been missing out on a culinary gem for years.  So when I stumbled across a recipe for chocolate bread pudding I knew I had to try it.  This bread pudding turns out so moist that an additional sauce is not required.  The melted chocolate acts as the sauce.

    Chocolate Bread Pudding (makes 2 individual servings, can easily be doubled to fit your crowd)
    adapted from

    4 Hawaiian rolls, crusts removed, cubed
    2/3 cup milk
    1 egg, beaten
     2 T sugar
    1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 oz. chopped chocolate bar (I used milk chocolate, but any variety will work)

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place cubed bread on baking sheet.  Bake 5-10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Allow to cool slightly.
    2. Combine milk, egg, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Toss in bread cubes until coated with milk mixture.
    3. Spray 2 small ramekins with cooking spray.  Fill each ramekin half way with bread mixture.  Sprinkle with half of chocolate pieces.  Cover with remaining bread mixture.  Top with chopped chocolate.
    4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    5. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.
    6. Place ramekins in an 8 inch baking dish.  Add 1 inch of hot water to the dish.
    7. Bake for 35 minutes or until set.  Serve with a scoop of ice cream or whipped topping.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Creamy Tomato Soup with Asiago Garlic Croutons

    Pin It
    I absolutely love Panera Bread's Creamy Tomato Soup woth Asiago Croutons.  It is one of my favorite fall flavors.  However, my budget and my waistline don't allow me to have this delicious dish as much as I would like.  I stumbled across a tomato soup recipe at Smitten Kitchen and it inspired me to add some cream and oregano to recreate my beloved soup.  It's not exact, but pretty darn close and a lot healthier too!

    Creamy Tomato Soup
    3 pounds plum or roma tomatoes
    2 T olive oil
    salt and pepper
    4 cloves garlic
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I like mine spicy, adjust to your taste)
    1/2 cup fat free half and half (regular half and half works too)
    2 cups chicken stock

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Slice tomatoes in half and arrange on a foil covered sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper.
    3. Wrap garlic in foil and place on pan with tomatoes.
    4. Roast tomatoes for approximately 1 hour or until tender and starting to brown and shrink.  Cool slightly.
    5. Unwrap garlic pounch and squeeze garlic into a food processor with tomatoes.  Pulse until it forms a chunky puree.
    6. Pour puree into a large pot.  Add oregano, red pepper, half and half and chicken stock.  Simmer for 25 minutes or more.  Salt and pepper to taste.

    Asiago Garlic Croutons
    2 cups cubed asiago cheese ciabatta bread (I found mine at my local store, any type of french bread would do though)
    2 T roated garlic oil (I use Wildtree brand)

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Place bread on a foil lined cookie sheet.
    3. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
    4. Bake 15 minutes, turing occassionally, or until golden brown.

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Sunset Dinner for Two

    Pin It
    A winery near my house hosts Sunset Dinners.  When my husband and I were first dating we went to one and had an amazing meal.  A few months later I surprised him by recreating the meal at home.  He was quite impressed (and to be honest I impressed myself).  This is one of those meals that looks fancy, but is quite simple.  One the menu tonight: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Wine Sauce, Oven Roasted Potatoes, and Sauteed Green Beans.

    Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Wine Sauce
    1 pound pork tenderloin
    2 T minced garlic
    salt and pepper
    white wine (any variety that you like to drink)

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Coat a glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Place tenderloin in the center of the dish.
    3. Liberally sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic over the top of the pork.
    4. Pour white wine in dish until it covers the bottom.
    5. Bake in oven for approximately 1 hour or until cooked through (time will vary depending on size of tenderloin)

    Blackberry Wine Sauce
     1/4 cup blackberry jam (seedless works best)
    3 T wine (same kind used for roasting pork)

    1. Add jam and wine to a small sauce pan over medium heat
    2. Whisk vigorously until jam breaks up and there are no large globs.
    3. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.
    4. Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
    5. Serve immediately over pork.
    **The original recipe called for blackberry wine which makes a sweeter sauce.  Any wine can be substituted.**

    Oven Roasted Potatoes
    1 pound Teeny Tiny Potatoes (or Fingerling Potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces)
    olive oil cooking spray
    2 T seasoning of your choice
        *I like Mrs. Dash Original, Italian Seasoning, or Rosemary and Garlic.*

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Generously spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Add potatoes and spray with cooking spray.
    3. Toss with seasonings.
    4. Bake 35-40 minutes, turning halfway through,  or until potatoes are tender and golden.

    ***I have found that cooking spray is easier to work with than olive oil because it evenly distributes.  You could use olive oil in a mister if you have one, or just straight olive oil if you prefer.***

    Sauteed Green Beans
    1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
    2 T finely chopped garlic
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
    1 T butter
    salt and pepper

    1. In a large skillet add green beans and enough water to coat the bottom of  the pan.
    2. Bring water to a boil and cook beans for 5 minutes (they will still be crunchy)
    3. Drain water and add butter, garlic, onions, beans and red pepper flakes to the pan. 
    4. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes until garlic and onions are tender.