Sunday, January 11, 2015

Crock Pot White Chicken Chile


I think Crock Pot meals were invented to help ease the 'witching hour'. That time between about 4 and 6 PM when life falls apart. Kids are cranky, (not just pre schoolers), everyone is hungry and Mom is franticly scanning thru Pintrest looking for easy dinner ideas.
 Welcome the Crock Pot. Dinner is slowly cooking, the house smells wonderful. Family members know dinner is near because they can smell it. Mother can play games with toddlers or help youngsters with homework, because she already knows what's for dinner. Yes, the Crock Pot is a wonderful invention, maybe a life changer.
 Valyn Baker served this White Chicken Chile at the Ward Christmas Party, people begged for the recipe. She directed the droves to this link in the LDS Living Magazine. Here is my take on this recipe, I have served it several times with positive reviews.

Crock Pot White Chicken Chile
10 frozen chicken tenders
1 cup Salsa Verde--I used Herdez brand
I tried to find the difference between Salsa Verde and Green Enchilada Sauce. I have both sitting in front of me. I went with the Salsa Verde because it has less ingredients I can't pronounce. They look similar, I think either could be used in this recipe. Anyone know more on the subject?
2 cans chicken broth
1 onion diced
2-3 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup minced cilantro
Put frozen chicken tenders in crock pot add Salsa, chicken broth, beans and seasonings. I know the purpose of a crock pot meal is quick cooking. So if you want to just put the onion in I'm sure the cooking police will not come for you. However, I have found that onion sometimes takes forever to soften in a crock pot. I sautĂ© the onion in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes and then add it to the crock pot. It smells great and adds a deeper flavor to the soup.
We use the crock pot for long slow unattended cooking. I did just that for years and tried to develop a palate for dried out chicken. This recipe cooks for about 2-3 hours on high. Chicken is done at 165 degrees. It will be flavorful and juicy. Remove chicken from the crock pot, shred it with 2 forks and return. Add sour cream and stir till combined. Top with cilantro and serve with corn bread, tortilla chips or strips.
 All crock pots cook differently, adjust. Chicken tenders cook quicker than chicken breasts. Thawed chicken cooks quicker than frozen. So many variables. The only truth in crock pot cooking is that chicken should not have the same texture as jerky! Enjoy. This really is a simple, delicious recipe.
Printable Recipe

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins




I have never really been a breakfast person. I like a glass of juice and a piece of toast.
But I do like Brunch. A meal served at 10, when one is fully awake and moving is my kind of meal. There are so many available options for brunch. A light brunch may just be juice, muffins and a fruit tray. When my sons are in town if I mention the word, 'brunch' I better have bacon, sausage links and sliced ham. Other great brunch choices are Sunshine CasseroleDenver Omelet, Breakfast Pizza or a breakfast burrito. These also are great for dinner.
Now back to the blog post--I'm talking the most delicious Almond Poppy Seed Muffins, these gems are chuck full of flavor and texture.
I found this delicious recipe on Life Made Simple.

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cake flour--to make cake flour put 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a half cup measure, fill with all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
9 tablespoons butter--softened
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
slivered or sliced almonds for the top
Sift together flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt three times. Set aside. Yes, I really did this. Beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add extracts and poppy seeds. Add the flour alternating with the sour cream. Mix gently.
Either spray muffin pan with Pam or put in cupcake liners. I found some darling liners at Gygi's. Using a large scoop fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Do not overfill. Sprinkle almonds on top of batter. This recipe made 12 regular size muffins and 12 mini muffins. Bake at 375. 20-23 for regular size muffins, 10-12 minutes for mini muffins. Toothpick should come out clean. Don't over bake.
Printable Recipe


Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Book List


Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I read books on my phone and kindle. I love audible books and I always have a stack of books by my favorite chair. I often read 3 or 4 books at the same time. Which is my favorite method to read? Depends on the day. It is good to have options!

Here is a list of the books I have read this year. I decided to grade the books I have read--just like school grades. If I like an author I might binge read several of her books. I enjoy historical fiction. I like a good romance but I do stick to clean romances. I want to be able to give the books I read to my mother or my daughter.

 I enjoy learning about civil rights--I grew up in the 60's in a sheltered little town in Utah. I had no idea what was going on just a little to the south. I like self-help books and religious books. I like books that make me laugh and cry--in the same chapter. In choosing a book I always come back to something I memorized in my teens. '....If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy. We seek after these things.'

I enjoy being part of a book group. I have read so many good books that I might not have chosen on my own. Here are the books I have enjoyed and a rating. I do a lot of research on the books I read. That way I am not often blind sighted by language or content.

A Lion and a Lamb by Rand Packer--An incredible book about Mormon history. A young couple embarks on a 25 year mission. This true story begins in the early 1900's. It is a story of trust, friendship and persecution. I passed this short book to several family members. All learned from it.
It is a solid A

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--A book club read that provided a lively discussion. Narrated by Death, what an interesting concept. This book used colors to describe feelings and events. A WW II book set in Germany. This book took me quite awhile to read. It is heavy and filled with emotion. I read a few pages and then had to digest it. I easily give this an A. It does have language but it is in German so it was easy for me to pass by. I also enjoyed the movie.

Wonder--RJ Palacio--This was my pick for book club this year. It is young adult fiction. I think it should be read by everyone--every year! The story of a teen, Auggie Pullman,who was born with a severe facial deformity. Told from the perspective of the Auggie, his sister, her friend etc. It provided great discussion at book club. Enjoyed by my 10 year old granddaughter and my 86 year old mother. It is an A.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper--I was reading Wonder while at the beauty salon. Another lady with foils in her hair saw what I was reading. She suggested I read Out of My Mind another YA book. This is about a girl with a disability. She is confined to a wheelchair but her mind is very sharp. No one knows it because she can't communicate. Made me rethink the way I treat those with special needs. B+, this would be a great book to read out loud to your children. Background for some great discussion.

The Fault in Our Stars--came with great recommendations but I didn't love it. I read it at the same time as Wonder and Out of My Mind. I just wasn't impressed. It has some language that I like to avoid. I have not seen the movie. It was a C.

Orphan Train by Christian Bakerkline--This book popped up on my Amazon account. If you like this book you will like this etc. YA fiction about a troubled teen in foster care that gets to know an older woman that was also an orphan. They helped each other. Not a bad book but I wouldn't read it again. I will give it a B-. I often wonder why an author will throw in the 'bad' word once or twice. It is a PG 13 book--read it before you give it to your teen.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes--Another book with just enough language that I can't pass it to my mother. It has received some good press.  A girl helps a guy that is paralyzed. How about that for a quick summary. B-

29 Gifts by Cami Walker--simply put a lady changes her life by giving. Not a bad concept at all. but, I had to plow through a lot of stuff I didn't care about to get to the 'giving' concept. I threw the book away, I guess that means it gets a D-.

Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin--Historical fiction at it's best! The story of Anne Marrow Lindberg and her famous husband Charles Lindberg. There are plenty of facts in this book woven together with the authors vision of how things may have happened. This was a book club read. We had a lively discussion about marriage in the early 1900's. Great book, it is an A. After reading this book I had to skim one of my favorite books Gift From the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindberg another A.

Sycamore Row by John Grisham--Grisham's first book was published in 1989. That means I have enjoyed his writing style for 25 years. If you like Grisham you will like Sycamore Row. A

The Help by Kathryn Sockett--This is a re-read or in this case a re-listen.  Audible brings The Help to life with great narration. I also had to watch the movie version again too. I thought the movie was very well done, it did the book justice. A+

The All Girls Filling Station by Fannie Flagg--This is one of Flagg's best. I don't know if this book is considered Historical Fiction but it has plenty of facts about life during WW II. I passed it to mom and she enjoyed it. Brought back memories from years ago.
 Fannie Flagg writes about life in the south. Her works are filled with quirky characters that just may sound familiar. This is light reading, probably not life changing but enjoyable. B+
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven--B
I Still Dream About You--B
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man--C+
Red Bird Christmas--B
All books by Fannie Flagg.  Keep one on you phone, it will make waiting at the Doctor office more enjoyable.

Shannon Guymon-- is an amazing local author. She writes romance that you can share with your mother! Shannon's book are full of real characters. People that have problems--just like you and me. People that are working through life, making decisions both good and bad. Shannon has the ability to make her character's so real that if you saw them at the mall you would immediately recognize them. Her books may have a good guy, a bad guy, a crazy Mother-In -Law and everything in-between. There are cops and robbers and maybe a little mystery.
Shannon believes in happy endings. I do to. Her books are perfect to load on you kindle for vacation reads. I like her writing because it makes my elliptical time go quickly. Shannon is an A. She has many books. Check Amazon.

The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas--I have read several books by this author and have really enjoyed them. Easy fiction about women helping each other. Quilting is a background theme for many of her books. Problems are solved, people understood and friendships are made around the quilting frames. This book is set in rural Kansas about 1930. Life is hard, crops are burning, jobs are non-existent. A highlight of each week is a quilting bee of The Persian Pickle Club. Dallas has the ability to develop interesting characters. This is a fun book, I was surprised to come upon one bad word. Really--was it needed?? B+, Dallas really is a fun author.

A Distant Prayer--Miracles of the 49th Combat Mission by Joseph Banks--I enjoy reading books about WW II, this was excellent. This is the true story of Joseph Banks. At the time of his service one could go home after 50 missions. His plane was shot down on his 49th mission, Joseph was the only survivor. He was captured by the enemy. This is the amazing story of his miraculous escape and return to his wife and son. Miracles do happen. There is plenty of history packed in this short book. This is an A.

A Higher Call by Adam Makos--Another book about WW II. This was a book club read, several of us have parents that served in WW II so we are always happy to read more about this period of history. This is an interesting story about a American pilot and a German pilot. Their lives collided in a most remarkable way. I passed this book to my 5 brothers, mother and others. Excellent read. A.

My Story by Elizabeth Smart--Simply put this is the story of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. This story made national news. Elizabeth gives a full account of her kidnapping, torture and finally her return to her family. This true story is difficult to read but I couldn't put it down. I knew the story as it happened so close to my home. Everywhere I went were posters of Elizabeth Smart. Told simply with much emotion. B+

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth--is a memoir. Worth was a Midwife in 1950's in the East End of London. People were very poor, they had little healthcare and antibiotics had just entered the scene. Midwifes provided prenatal care and delivered babies alongside trained nurses. Worth shares her memories of interesting characters, tough living conditions and miraculous births. This book is graphic in parts, PBS has turned it into an excellent series. B+

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd--I loved this book it could possibly have been my favorite read this year. Kidd is the author of Secret Life of Bees another personal favorite.
This book takes place in 1830's, it is based on the life of Sarah Grimke and her sister Angelina. They rebelled so vocally against their family, society, and their religion that they were reviled, pursued, and exiled from their home city of Charleston, South Carolina, under threat of death. Their crime was speaking out in favor of liberty and equality and for African American slaves and women. Their lectures and pamphlets drew thousands. This book is well done on Audible. I love the southern accents of the characters. The authors notes at the end of the story are so interesting. I am amazed at how authors research and actually put the research into an enjoyable read. A+

Well, this turned into a long post. I have a long list of books to read in 2015. I will review books quarterly this year--shorter posts! I realize book choices are very personal--I would love to know what your favorite reads are. Please share. I tried to include links to each book, all books can be found on Amazon or your favorite library.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Temptations--Cookies for Santa

Sometimes the best place to look for recipes is on the back of the product package. These delicious little gems come right off the back of the Reese's Miniature Peanut Butter Cup package. They are easy to make, the perfect treat to leave for Santa--and Santa will love them. I know!


Peanut Butter Temptations
about 40 Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Have little helpers remove wrappers from candy. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Using Pampered Chef small scoop shape dough into a ball and place in an ungreased mini muffin pan. Do not flatten. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes until puffed and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Immediately press peanut butter cup in center of each cookie. Cool completely in pan. Remove, put on a plate and leave for Santa!
Printable Recipe


Monday, December 8, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie


Candise brought a fresh plate of cookies last time she came to visit. They were the best pumpkin cookies I have ever eaten. They are delicious and simple to make--that is one great combo. These could become your favorite holiday cookie.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Penzey's Apple Pie Spice or cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips--I used milk chocolate
  • Mix together pumpkin, egg, oil and sugar. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix milk with baking soda and add to wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. 
    Drop on parchment lined baking sheet using a medium size cookie scoop. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
    Recipe from I Heart Naptime
     

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    Crispy Halibut




    This is our favorite way to eat halibut. My mother, who does not like fish at all, is always happy to come to Sunday Dinner when I serve crispy halibut. This is so simple I can hardly call it a recipe--but I had to share it! We have over 50 pounds of halibut in the freezer so this dish will appear often.
    Serve it with Homemade Tarter Sauce and a lemon wedge. It is simply delicious.

    Crispy Halibut
    1 pound halibut--sliced 1/2 inch thick
    1/2 cup Panko crumbs
    1/2 cup cornmeal
    salt and pepper
    1 egg, beaten
    2 tablespoons water
    vegetable oil
    Mix together panko crumbs, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Put in a shallow dish. Mix together egg and water, put in a shallow dish. Dip halibut slices into egg mixture then into Panko mixture. Heat about 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees. Gently place breaded halibut into hot oil. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. Put cooked halibut on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve with lemon juice and tarter sauce.
    Printable Recipe

    Sunday, November 2, 2014

    Tartar Sauce



    I don't often devote an entire blog post to a sauce--but this is just too delicious not to share. It makes up in a minute with ingredients found in your fridge. We have a freezer full of halibut--I can't imagine eating halibut without this yummy sauce.

    Tartar Sauce
    1 cup mayonnaise (for a lighter version use 2/3 cup mayo and 1/3 cup plain Greek Yogurt)
    1/4 cup chopped dill pickles, I like Famous Dave's Spicy Pickle Chips
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon finely diced onion
    1 tablespoon diced pimento (if desired)
    Mix together and refrigerate. Delicious on halibut, fish tacos, fish sticks.
    Printable Recipe

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Quiche for Two

    I do wish Quiche was a bit more photogenic! But, you will have to trust me--this is delicious. I like quiche, actually I really like quiche. I just don't like it for several days in a row. Enter, 'Quiche for Two'. Some brilliant chef decided that you really could cut a quiche recipe way down and put it in a small casserole--rocket science I know.
    Really this is a great recipe, it is crust less which is fine by me.  I'd rather forgo a high calorie crust and eat a brownie! There are so many ways to change this recipe--use what you have in your fridge. It will always be yummy. This recipe came from a Pampered Chef Cookbook. I don't know which one, as I have a tendency to rip recipes out of cookbooks, do you do that??


    Quiche for Two

    Base:
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup half and half
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp all purpose flour
    Ground black pepper

    Filling Options
    3 slices crisply cooked bacon, 1/3 cup seeded, chopped tomato, 2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onion, 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
    OR
    1/2 cup chopped ham, 1/3 cup chopped fresh broccoli, 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

    Protein, vegetable, cheese

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray small oval baker with nonstick cooking spray.  Whisk together base ingredients, set aside.

    Combine fillings and cheese, spoon into the bottom of the baker.  Pour base over filling ingredients.

    Bake 30-35 minutes or until the center is set.  (A knife inserted will come out clean.)  Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 
    Printable Recipe



    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Chicken Coconut Pistachios and Rice

    I have over 60 tasty recipes containing chicken on my blog. It was 4:00 and my menu plan wasn't going to happen. I had chicken tenders and a well stocked pantry. Certainly I could find a yummy dish. I checked out all 63 recipes and I had all the ingredients for exactly one dish. It looked like dinner would be Pistachio and Coconut Chicken and Rice (yes, I do keep a stash of pistachios). This recipe is a hidden gem. So I updated the photo and adjusted the recipe and wondered why I don't make this dish more often. Yummy rice simmered in coconut milk, browned chicken, peas and a sprinkling of pistachios and cilantro. And the leftovers were delicious. This recipe needs to be at the front of your 'list of dinner ideas'. I think you will love it and it can be on the table in about 45 minutes. That's a good thing!
     Chicken Coconut Pistachios and Rice
    1 to 1 1/4 pounds chicken tenders
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, minced
    1 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
    1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
    3 medium garlic cloves, minced
    2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
    1 cup frozen peas
    1/2 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
    1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
    Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken tender in the flour, shaking off excess.

    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through about 8-12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Tent with foil to keep warm.

    Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the onion, Garam Masala, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    Stir in the chicken broth and coconut milk, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook about 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender. Stir occasionally as rice cooks

    Off the heat, sprinkle the peas over the rice, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Add the cilantro and gently fold into the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve with the chicken.
    Top with chopped pistachios
    This recipe serves 4-6. It makes plenty of rice, but the leftover rice is delicious. I tried cutting down the recipe but I really don't like having partial cans of coconut milk in the fridge.
    Printable recipe


    Adapted from a recipe found on one of my favorite blogs-- Mels Kitchen CafĂ©.


    Thursday, October 9, 2014

    Panko Crusted Salmon--30 Minute Meal

     
     

    Hubby spent a wonderful week in Alaska on my brothers fishing boat. He came home with 150 pounds of seafood! This Panko Crusted Salmon is amazing. It is quick--yes a true 30 minute meal. Heating the oven to 425 takes a few minutes so plan ahead. This is what I call 'fast food'. If you don't have a freezer full of salmon check out the frozen salmon at Costco, it is consistently good.

    Panko Crusted Salmon from Pink Parsley
    2/3 cup panko crumbs
    2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
    2 tsp grated lemon zest
    kosher salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    olive oil
    4 (6-8 oz) salmon fillets, skin on
    3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
    lemon wedges

    Preheat the oven to 425.

    In a small bowl combine the panko, parsley, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Stir until the crumbs are evenly coated and set aside.

    Place the salmon filets skin side down on a board.  Brush with the Dijon mustard, then season with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of each filet.

    Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Wait for the oil to be very hot, and then gently add the salmon filets, skin side down and sear for 3-4 minutes, without turning.

    Transfer the pan to the oven for 5-7 minutes until the salmon is almost cooked through and the panko has browned. You may need to turn the broiler on for the last minute or two to brown the panko. Remove from the oven and loosely cover with foil.  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.
    Printable Recipe

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread


    I saw a sign a couple of weeks ago at my local Kneaders announcing the arrival of Pumpkin Bread. I almost did a U turn right there. I know their bread is good. But I knew I had all the ingredients at home to make my own Pumpkin Bread. I wanted to try a new recipe and this was at the top of the list. I found the recipe at Our Best Bites--I made a few minor changes and decided it was delicious!
    Welcome Fall!

    Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
    2 cups all purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled)
    1 cup whole wheat flour (again spoon, don't scoop!)
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 cup white sugar
    6 oz container vanilla yogurt
    3 eggs, slightly beaten
    15 ounce can pumpkin puree
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 tsp vanilla
    1-2 cups chocolate chips (plus a few extra for the top) I like plenty of chocolate in my pumpkin bread so I used 2 cups. I tried mini semi sweet chocolate chips in one batch, not bad. But the second time I made this recipe I used 60% Cocoa Semi Sweet chips--much better, I like a bigger bite of chocolate  in my pumpkin bread.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk gently to combine and set aside.

    In a separate bowl combine sugars and stir until well mixed.  Add yogurt, eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

    Slowly add dry ingredients and mix gently, being careful not to over mix.  When combined gently stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter between pans that have been sprayed with Pam and sprinkle the top with additional chocolate chips.

    Bake large loaves for 50-60 minutes, check smaller loaves after 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out with on a few crumbs attached. Don't over bake!  Let cool for 10 minutes and then run a sharp knife around the edges before removing from the pan.

    This recipe makes two large 9x5 inch loaves of pumpkin bread; however I have better luck with smaller loaves and I wanted to share with friends. At my local Walmart I found a set of 5 Mini Loaf Pans that are disposable. Perfect. This recipe made 6 mini loaves. I decided they were a bit too full so the second time I baked them I made 6 mini loaves and 2 muffins (I cooked the two muffins in small 1 cup glass dishes). I know this is probably too much information but I really don't want pumpkin batter all over the bottom of your oven! It is a good idea to put loaf pans (whatever size) on a cookie sheet to bake, this avoids oven messes and makes it easier to transport loaves in and out of the oven.
    Printable Recipe




    Monday, September 29, 2014

    Fresh Fruit Salad



    The phone rings--it's 4:30. Frantic daughter is on the other end. "Mom,I need to take a salad to a church pot luck--tonight. Years ago you made a fruit salad--I think it has fruit juice and is thickened with cornstarch. I have looked all over and can't find the recipe."
    I know exactly the recipe she is talking about. It takes me a bit of digging but I find it. I realized I have not blogged about it. Over 500 recipes and some how I missed it. This recipe was given to me by my sister-in-law Keri. It feeds a crowd, can be made any time of the year with most any fruit. And it is delicious!

    Fresh Fruit Salad
    Juice from 1 lemon
    Juice from 1 orange or lime
    Juice from a can of pineapple
    1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch
    3/4 cup sugar
    6-8 cups diced fruit--apples, oranges, pears, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, melon, bananas, pineapple, mandarin oranges, etc.
    Mix fruit juices and cornstarch--heat to a boil. Stir until thickened. Add sugar and stir until it dissolves. Cool.
    Pour cooled mixture over diced fruit, stir gently. Serve immediately.
    What if I don't want a salad to feed 10?? Make sauce, store in the fridge, it will keep several days.. Dice about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fruit per person. Spoon on enough sauce to just coat fruit.
    Top with whipped cream for a delicious dessert.


    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    Mini Puff Pancakes


    EJ is not a difficult child to please. She is happy and generally excited about all we do. But...if I really want to make her day I whip up a quick batch of Mini Puff Pancakes.
    Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or a Snack--this will certainly please. There is something wonderful  about anything in miniature. These little gems are no exception.
    Toppings? Fruit, powdered sugar, syrup, Nutella and of course a bit of whipped cream. Let your child choose their favorite. EJ loves raspberries and whipped cream, great choice.
    .

    Mini Puff Pancakes
    3/4 cup flour
    3/4 cup milk
    2 eggs
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    2-3 tablespoons melted butter
    Place a mini muffin pan in the oven and heat to 400 degrees. While oven is heating mix together flour, milk, eggs and salt. I use my Immersion Blender, blend till smooth. Remove hot pan and quickly brush each well with melted butter. Fill each well 3/4 full. I used a mini muffin scoop. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes till puffed and golden. Serve immediately with your favorite topping.
    Makes 24 Puff Pancakes
    Printable Recipe

    Monday, September 1, 2014

    Taco Seasoning and Taco Chicken Tenders



    I needed some Taco Seasoning for a recipe and was out of my favorite Penzy blend. No fear, within seconds I had more Taco Seasoning recipes than one could ever need. I wondered how there could be so many different recipes for the same thing??? I chose one that I had all the ingredients for, because I did need it immediately. It was very tasty; I saved the recipe and knew I had to blog about it quickly as I have a very short memory.
    So, throw out your prepackaged Taco Seasoning--it has too much sugar and salt (read the label) and other stuff. This was delicious!

    Taco Seasoning
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 tablespoon cumin
    1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon oregano
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Mix together, use in any recipe calling for Taco Seasoning.
    Printable Recipe

    Slightly altered from Allrecipes


    Taco Chicken Tenders
    Use about 1 tablespoon per pound on chicken tenders. Fry chicken in a tablespoon of oil about 4 minutes per side. The chicken has a beautiful color and is so tasty. Serve with roasted veggies and fresh fruit. Easily a 30 minute meal.

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    Chicken Taco Salad


    According to Pioneer Woman you can make this meal in 16 minutes! That may be stretching it a bit but with a helper you could pull it off in no time. This is the perfect season for this salad, fresh corn and tomatoes make it wonderful. I served it for my dinner group and it got rave reviews.

    Chicken Taco Salad
    Dressing
    3/4 cup Ranch Dressing (I used Lighthouse but I'm sure you could make your own)
    1/4  cup Salsa--I used Pace Medium Salsa
    3 tablespoons finely minced Cilantro
    Mix together and refrigerate, covered.

    Chicken
    2 Chicken Breasts or 6-8 Tenders
    2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning, I used this recipe, it is my new favorite recipe--check it out. But I'm sure you can use packaged Taco Seasoning
    2 tablespoons Butter
    1 tablespoon Oil
    Generously season chicken with Taco Seasoning. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, cook till golden brown on both sides and done in the middle. Remove chicken, allow to cool and dice.
    Place the ears of corn in the skillet and roll around, cook on medium high until it has a bit of a charred look. Slice off the kernels with a sharp knife

    Salad
    Shredded greens--I used romaine, spinach and Napa. That is what was in the crisper, Napa is a Chinese cabbage, it has a mild flavor and a light crunch, I use it often. I shred the greens with a sharp Chef's knife and put them in a salad spinner. I like to prepare salad greens in the morning and let them chill. This gives you a great jump on dinner. Or use a package of prewashed greens.
    sliced green onions
    julienne carrots
    diced red pepper
    diced tomato
    sliced olives
    shredded pepper jack cheese
    diced avocado
    chopped cilantro
    slightly crushed tortilla chips
    2 ears of corn
    I like to serve this 'Salad Bar' style. Put the greens, green onions, carrots and cilantro in a large bowl. Put chicken, corn, red peppers, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese and avocado in small bowls. Let each person make their own salad--just the way they like it! Top salads with dressing and crushed tortilla chips. This salad is beautiful platted on a large platter, it is so fresh and colorful.
    Printable Recipe
    This is my new favorite salad. For very detailed step by step instructions check out Pioneer Woman.