Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sundays For Sarah-Love Birds - Chicken in Pastry

The first thing I want to share with you today is that Sarah has made it to the first "benchmark" set by her doctor...29 weeks gestation! Whooo-hoooo! When I spoke with her earlier today, she sounded incredibly relieved and joyous to have reached this monumental point. This is certainly cause for celebration and to extend a gracious thank you to everyone who has lifted Sarah and her family up in your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for the health and growth of baby Hannah and for Sarah to remain patient, calm and relaxed during her time of bed rest. Also, please keep Mike (her husband) in your thoughts as he takes on more responsibilities at home, that he not become overwhelmed and for Josh ( her precious little boy) that he understands some of the limitations that his Mommy has but never questions her unconditional, unmeasurable and unending love for him.

Now, for the food portion of our weekly adventure. This week's recipe is another selection from Rachel Ray that she prepared this week on Food Network. She prefaced this recipe preparation as a great dish to fix for an anniversary or engagement celebration, so this was a perfect selection to celebrate Sarah's milestone of 29 weeks.
This recipe was a lot of fun to prepare and came together incredibly easy. You have to love recipes that posses those characteristics. This would certainly be a great dish to serve for a small dinner party since it takes such little time to get into the oven to bake. The original recipe calls for fontina cheese, but I couldn't find it in two grocery stores, so I opted to use provolone for it's mild flavor that would not overwhelm the fig preserves. And speaking of fig preserves....oh my, I fell in love with the stuff and it was a perfect addition to the chicken and cheese. Wrap all that up in a delicious puff pastry and you have savory, culinary success. Mmmmm.

Sarah, thank you for allowing me to share your family's story through this blog. I can't wait to see what blessings are in store for you and your family with all the thoughts and prayers that are being said on your behalf.

Love Birds - Chicken in Pastry
4 pieces skinless chicken breast, boned (about 8 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 springs fresh finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 sheet puff pastry (11 by 17-inch)
8 sliced Italian fontina cheese, slices should be 2 to 3-inches square and 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick)
1/2 cup fig preserves
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water-for egg wash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary. Cut each piece of chicken in half across the breast giving you 8 equal portions. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the chicken on both sides, 5 minutes total. Remove from heat.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pastry into 8 pieces. Place a piece of cheese on each pastry square and top with spoonfuls of fig preserves and the chicken pieces. Pinch and seal the dough up and over the meat and cheese. Seal with egg wash, flip the pastry packets over and brush the tops with remaining egg wash. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden.
For entire portions, simply leave chicken breast whole and cut the pastry into quarters. Trim off excess dough and use it to decorate the pastry with small cut outs such as heart shapes.

Source: Food Network

Friday, October 24, 2008

Apple Crumb Cake

It's finally beginning to feel like fall here in the Midwest with cooler temperatures and chilly rain. I'm overly anxious to sit, curled up in a blanket, by a crackling fire with a cup of hot chocolate and yummy, baked goodies. When I found this recipe this week, I thought it sounded perfect for my Autumn "mood". My friend, Sarah, had given us quite a few apples that needed to be used before they spoiled, so I had the perfect recipe to use them up. The apples are layered between the cake batter and then sprinkled with a streusel topping....oh my!! This was the moistest (moistest or most moist?-I'm certainly no English Major) cake I've baked in a long time. Since I had such great success with the streusel topping on my apple cobbler, I duplicated it for this cake, YUM! This was like eating apple cobbler in cake form. I couldn't help taking little bites off the edges of the cake as it cooled. Because of the moist texture, I stored this cake in the fridge to keep it from getting yucky at room temperature and then just warmed the pieces up in the microwave when I was craving another piece. No, I won't tell you how often that was. I haven't enjoyed this delicious cake by the fireplace yet (hint: Marty hasn't brought wood up to the house) but am definitely planning to bake this again to savor on a chilly afternoon.

Apple Crumb Cake

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used 2 packets Cinnamon Roll Flavor oatmeal)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
5 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. stick butter, softened

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. each baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream at room temperature
3 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved, cored and very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9x2 in. baking pan with nonstick foil, letting foil extend 2 in. above ends of pan.
2. Topping: Mix flour, oatmeal and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until large crumbs form.
3. Cake: In a large bowl with mixer on low speed, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt 3 minutes or until creamy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time until blended. With mixer on low speed, add flour alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour and beating just until smooth.
4. Spoon 1/2 into prepared pan; spread evenly. Cover with 1/2 the apples, the remaining batter, then remaining apples. Crumble topping over apples.
5. Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Holding foil ends, lift cake from pan to rack to cool. Cut in squares with a serrated knife and serve warm, or cool before cutting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD-Pumpkin Muffins

This week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe is Pumpkin Muffins and was chosen by Kelly from Sounding My Barbaric Gulp! What a great recipe to enjoy this time of year. I adapted the recipe, once again, to please the palates of my family. Why go through the time and effort of baking if it's not going to be enjoyed by your loved ones, right? Dorie's recipe called for raisins to be folded into the batter and also to sprinkle sunflower seeds on the tops of the muffins prior to baking. I knew my kids wouldn't come near the muffins if they saw seeds on top, so I added mini chocolate chips in the batter and placed regular sized chips on top. I can't seem to move past the wonderful combination of pumpkin and chocolate. got me.....I like to add chocolate to nearly anything and everything that I bake and this gave me another opportunity to indulge in my craving. There, I feel better admitting my weakness.

The muffin batter was incredibly simple to mix together and took very little time. This would be a great muffin to whip up on a chilly winter-y morning for your family. I think the next time I make these I'll add a little more cinnamon and maybe some pumpkin pie spice. I like to really taste the pumpkin flavoring in my cookies and muffins.

As I write this post, the kids are beginning to devour the muffins. So, this is another Tuesday's with Dorie success. Thank you Kelly for choosing this great recipe!

Source: Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sundays For Sarah-Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie

This is the first installment of "Sundays for Sarah" and I am thrilled to report to you that Sarah is doing well. It's been very touching to read through some of your comments and know that your thoughts and prayers for Hannah and Sarah began immediately after reading the post launching our exciting venture. Thank you. thank you!

For our first week of cooking, Sarah chose a Rachel Ray recipe. As you know, Rachel's 30 minute meals are so popular, not only for their preparation time but also for their wonderful flavors. This dish was very simple to prepare. You could summarize the process with just a few adjectives; browning, peeling, chopping, boiling, mashing and browning. That sounds so easy doesn't it? And aren't you proud of my literature skills? Well, I digress...the thyme and the chives that are added helped to create a fantastic, savory meal that was perfect to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon of football. I loved the crispness of the sauteed veggies with the creamy mashed potatoes, great combination! This was a definite success at both Sarah's and my home. I hope you decide to fix this wonderful, warm dish and think of Sarah and Hannah during your preparation. Enjoy!

Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie

3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
coarse salt
2 tablespoons EVOO-extra-virgin olive oil-2 turns of the pan
1 1/3 pound ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, available in small cans on spice aisle of market
(You may substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons each sweet paprika and cumin combined)
coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons, 5 or 6 springs, fresh thyme leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery from the heart, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream, divided
3 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, beaten
10 to 12 bladed fresh chives, chopped or snipped

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Heat a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, to the skillet. Add bacon and brown it up, then add ground turkey to the pan and break it up. Season the turkey with smoked paprika, salt and pepper and thyme. When turkey browns up; add onions, carrots, celery. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, then add red pepper and peas cook another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook flour 2 minutes. Whisk broth and combine. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and combine. Simmer mixture over low heat.
Preheat your broiler to high.
When potatoes are tender, add a ladle of cooking water to the egg. Drain potatoes and return to the warm pot to dry them out a little. Add remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, butter, half of the chives and salt and pepper. Smash and mash the potatoes, mashing in the beaten, tempered egg. If the potatoes are too tight, mix in a splash of milk.
Pour turkey mixture into a medium casserole dish. Top turkey with an even layer of smashed potatoes and place casserole 5 inches from hot broiler. Broil the potatoes until golden at edges and remove the casserole from the oven. Garnish the casserole with the remaining chives and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Source: Food Network

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles

I mentioned in an earlier post that I love pumpkin...pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies etc. but in all my baking with this fabulous puree, I have never made pumpkin waffles. Never even thought about it, but what a wonderful idea! The other night I came across this recipe as I was reading through my new Taste of Home magazine and thought they sounded so good that I fixed these the very next evening for dinner. These were very simple to whip up and were perfect for our crazy, busy night. These are undoubtedly, unquestionably delish. I added mini-chocolate chips because I love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate. These Belgian waffles were wonderfully crispy on the outsides and the taste of the pumpkin slathered in butter and syrup was yummy. I can't imagine fixing ordinary waffles anytime soon.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles
1 cup all-purpost flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
4 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg, milk, pumpkin and butter; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Fold in pecans.

Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown.

Source: Taste of Home

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Colors of Fall

The leaves around our home have had such beautiful, vivid colors this year that I had to take my camera out yesterday to capture the season. And I'm so glad I did, last night it rained and was quite windy so many of the leaves were blown off their branches and left to swirl on the ground. Typically, if your desire is to see vivid, fall colors you need to drive further south in Indiana, but this year God has blessed central Indy with the richness of fall. The above picture is of an old basketball goal on a small court in our side yard. This picture could be straight out of the movie "Hoosiers" know, the one with Gene Hackman. Yeah..we love basketball here in Indiana!!

I know you're checking my site today to look for another, new, yummy recipe and I promise you that I have some wonderful recipes yet to be posted, but I wanted to take a moment to slow-down and share with you what I captured and hopefully you'll enjoy the beauty of the season from our home.

This picture is taken from the road and shows the drive up to our house. The house sits beyond the tree-line to the right. Yes, this can be a BEAR to drive in the winter and can be downright scare if it's icy. But yesterday, I reveled in the beauty of the setting. With the horse corral, red barn and colorful trees it presented a perfect photo op for this amateur.

Now, while you enjoy the last couple of pictures, I want to share an exciting and fun new "element" to my blog that will begin next Monday, the 20th. My wonderful friend Sarah has been assigned to bed rest for the next three months of her pregnancy with her baby girl. Sarah has experienced some pre-term labor and to help the baby to grow and "stay put" until Sarah's due date, she has to take it easy for awhile. Sarah LOVES to cook and she's great at it. Just ask her hubby. Anyone who's been told to stay off their feet for a period of time will understand and tell you that there's not much to do other than read, sleep, watch t.v., or knit. Well, Sarah doesn't knit (I don't think), so she's relegated to sleeping, reading and watching the t.v. During the day there's not much worth watching except maybe every cook's favorite.....TheFood Network. Can you imagine having a love of cooking and watching chef after chef prepare savory dishes that you would love to try but aren't allowed to? I'm almost positive that in some areas of the world this could be viewed as some form of torture. So I came up with an idea to partner with her and with some coaxing, she jumped on board. I have asked Sarah to choose a dinner and desert recipe that she finds in books or sees on the tele' and my oldest daughter and I will prepare this recipe for Sarah's family and ours on Sunday afternoon. While Megan and I fix dinner, we're going to pray for Sarah and Hannah (their precious baby girl) that all stay healthy, relaxed and no further complications come up. I will post the recipe on Monday for all to see and ask that when you read over the post that you lift Sarah's family up in your thoughts and prayers and if you decide to prepare the meal, you think of them during that time too. I get chills thinking about the many blessings that could be reaped while people all over the country and possibly outside of the USA think about and pray for Sarah and her family! WOW!! I'm calling this new adventure...."Sundays for Sarah". With Sarah's permission, I will share updates on how they're all doing and hopefully we'll be able to post a picture of a full-term, beautiful baby-girl that you've been praying for.

I can't tell you how excited I am about this new partnership with Sarah and trying out some new recipes that she chooses to post on "Sundays for Sarah". I hope that many of you will become as energized and excited as I am and that you'll share this opportunity with many of your friends and family. Let's begin this fun, flavorful food adventure together!! Stay tuned....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuna-Cheddar Melts

This is one of my favorite "fall-back" recipes. No matter how well I've planned our weekly menu, there are times that the best intentions go flying out the window with wings and I am rushing to put something edible together at the last minute. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious! It's ooey-gooey with cheese and is flavored up with chopped onions and olives and the buns are warm and crispy from baking. Delish!!

Tuna-Cheddar Melts

2 cans (6 ounces each) water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use a little more)
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Dash of ground black pepper
8 hamburger buns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine tuna, celery, onion, cheese, olives, mayonnaise and pepper. Divide tuna mixture evenly among buns. Wrap sandwiches loosely in aluminum foil. Place on baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Source: Recipes from the Heart Cookbook

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD Lenox Almond Biscotti

This week's TWD post was chosen by Gretchen of Canela and Comino ( I had such a great experience with this recipe. I have never tried to bake biscotti before but have salivated over the many different variations I have seen on mulitple blogs. But whenever I decided to bake a batch of cookies, the kids' requests always win out over my desires, so this was a valuable opportunity to try biscotti. My dough was the perfect consistency...sticky to the fingers, and it was fairly simple to make the logs. The almond extract added the perfect touch and smelled wonderful while the cookies baked. Yum! I can never leave good enough alone, so I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and drizzled over the biscotti. I love the presentation it gave the cookies. Thank you Gretchen for choosing Lenox Almond Biscotti for this week, otherwise I would probably continue to postpone trying these and would have missed this pleasurable experience!

Source: Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Monday, October 13, 2008

Reece's Cup Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

"You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!"......"You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!" This is the dialog from the Reece's Peanut Butter Cup commercial when I was a kid. I remember the first time I tasted the yummy combination of these two ingredients....fantastic and addicting! It remains a favorite to this day, some 20 something years later. When I saw this recipe on Annie's blog ( I knew I would have to make this. What an ingenious idea..put the combination together in a cake. Wow! I first baked this and served it poolside for our end of the summer celebration for the kids and they raved over how wonderful this was. And this past weekend, our little girl requested it as the cake for her birthday party. How could I tell her no?

The cake is so moist and rich and when you add the creamy peanut butter icing and chopped up Reece''s a combination that can hardly be topped! It's an incredibly rich cake, so I served small pieces along with ice cream. It's also great with an ice cold glass of milk.

Reece's Cup Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt.
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

For decorating:
1 1/2 - 2 batches peanut butter frosting
miniature Reese's cups, halved and/or chopped

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9x2" round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese's cups). Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese's cups as desired.

Source: from Annie's Eats, cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, frosting from Ina Garten

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Taco Soup

One of my many reasons for loving the Autumn season is that I get to dust my crock-pots off and put them back to work after months of resting in storage. There's nothing more pleasing than to arrive home from church on Sunday and smell the aroma of dinner cooking away. Isn't it great to know that dinner will be ready in the evening without any more preparation responsibility from you? I LOVE my crock-pots!! This soup recipe is another simple one and is thrown together in just minutes. We first tried this soup at our small group from church and I knew immediately that I would ask for the recipe and would be preparing this over and over for our family. It's a great combination of ground beef, tomatoes and beans and topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese it tastes similar to a taco. I serve Frito's Scoops alongside for an added crunch. Who wouldn't love that combination?

Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef-browned
2 cans black beans
2 cans Rotel tomatoes (I use the mild-the original is too spicy for the kids)
2 cans whole kernal corn
2 packages Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1 package taco seasoning (I use half of the packet to make it less spicy)

Place all ingredients in a crock-pot and stir to mix. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and corn chip.

Source: My wonderful friend Lori Roberts

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Glazed Pumpkin Bread

Here's another fantastic fall recipe that I actually bake throughout the year. I love to enjoy a slice of this bread with my coffee in the morning and it's a favorite after school snack for the kids. This bread is incredibly moist and tastes even better the day after baking when the flavors have had time to merge (merge?, mingle? socialize?..take my word, it's just better after 24 hours, but yummy eaten the day it is baked too). The original recipe came from a great, little pumpkin cookbook that I picked up at our local apple orchard. I added a little extra appeal for the kids' tummies and glazed the bread with a confectioner's sugar glaze. Mmmmmm. The recipe is so simple to prepare and is mixed together by hand so you're ready to pop this loaf into the oven in just minutes. Couldn't be easier!!

Pumpkin Bread

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1/4 cup water

Sift dry ingredients together. Blend sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin and water and add to flour mixture. Mix well. Pour into greased, floured 9x5" loaf pan and bake in 350 degree oven 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Source: Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Recipes-Bear Wallow Books


3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well and pour over cooled bread.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

"Just like Grandma used to make". That's what the commercials for canned soup say to get you to buy their products. Well, after you make this soup, you'll never again want to eat canned chicken noodle soup, and depending on how good a cook Grandma was....this may even beat her's! Typically, when I fix a large pot of soup, we have a few meals worth of leftovers. But the we loved this soup so much that there was barely any for me to heat up for lunch the next day. Bummer!!

I purchased a whole chicken to fix because I wanted some leftover meat to shred for chicken salad and economically, it was certainly cheaper that way. Boy was I glad I did, the flavor of the chicken was amazing! I experimented a little with the broth as I boiled the chicken. I added poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, celery leaves and chicken base (something I read about on Pioneer Woman) to the water with the vegetables and cooked on a medium-low temp for a couple of hours. You can just imagine how that smelled while cooking! The chicken literally fell off the bone as I removed it from the pot. As I was pulling chicken into bite sized pieces, I couldn't keep little fingers from grabbing chicken strips to munch on. "Mom, this chicken is so good!!" "Well, if you keep eating it I won't have any left for the soup, now out...all of you." Never thought I would have to shoo the kids out of the kitchen for eating CHICKEN. Yay-what a success.

The creamy base of the soup was incredibly creamy and delicious and added the extra "pop" I was looking for. I love a soup base that makes you savor it's texture and flavors slowly. Yum.

This is the soup that I fixed my baking soda biscuits for (otherwise known as hockey pucks) and that Marty drowned in the creamy soup base. I was so pleased with how the soup turned out that it almost made me feel better about my failure with the biscuits. ALMOST. I'll conquer those biscuits one day.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole chicken
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 of medium onion-chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/3 cup chicken base
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk or light cream (I used the cream)
2 cups medium egg noodles

In a large pot cover the chicken with water. Add onion, celery, carrots, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and chicken base. Cook chicken on medium low for 1-2 hours until done. Remove chicken from pot and tear or chop into bite sized pieces.

In a large saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour. Add chicken broth and cream. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Stir in chicken, veggies and noodles. Cook until noodles are tender. Garnish with fresh snipped parsley.

**I prepared this earlier in an afternoon so I added the chicken and veggies and let simmer on the stove until near dinner time and then added the noodles. I didn't want soggy noodles in our soup!!

Source: Christy's Kitchen Creations

***Don't ask me why the text is different..I've tried like heck to fix it and can't figure it out, so I'm posting as is. If there is a blogger geek squad out there, please HELP ME!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TWD Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

Today is my first Tuesdays with Dorie post. Tammy from Wee Treats by Tammy chose this week's selection. Be sure to check out her website @ I had a great time adapting this recipe to fit our family's personality. Tomorrow is our baby girl's 6th birthday and I thought it would be fun to have individual sized cakes instead of one large cake. I've also been dying to use my new Wilton pan, so this fit both wishes perfectly.
I didn't use the peanuts called for in the original recipe because of allergies and after reading many posts about the caramel topping burning easily, I chose to top my cakes with a white chocolate glaze. This also made these perfect for our birthday celebration.

This cake was so simple to put together. I didn't even have to get my Kitchen-Aid mixer dirty for this one, everything is whisked together by hand. Couldn't get any easier. I filled the pans a little too full and had cake everywhere on the pan, so the kids had tidbits of cake to munch on while I glazed the cakes. Personally, I didn't taste the cake, but the kids all gave it a huge thumbs up. Thanks Tammy for choosing this fun recipe.
Source: Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Apple Crisp

Last weekend we took the kids to the local orchard to pick apples and to enjoy a beautiful Autumn day. We handed a bag to the boys and another to the girls to pick to their hearts content. Marty and I had a ball watching as the kids climbed tree after tree to pick the perfect apple. We ate and picked and picked and ate apples for over an hour and had such a great time. We also brought home more than enough apples for me to bake with...yay!!
The first thing I wanted to prepare with all these yummy apples was an apple crisp. I've had several recipes that have been my favorites over the years and wanted to try my hand in combining the best of all and see how it turned out. I used a mixture of Jonathon and Red Delicious apples, not typically the best to bake with
but it's what the kids picked. I increased the ingredient amounts for the topping and drizzled maple syrup over the top before baking. OH MY WORD...this was divine. The apples were sweet and juicy and full of cinnamony flavoring and the topping with the added maple syrup was thick and crunchy and perfect. If only we had ice cream to top it off...well maybe next time.

Apple Crisp

Enough apples to fill a 9x13 pan 2/3's of the way up
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 cup flour
3 individual sized packets Cinnamon Roll flavor oatmeal (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup (1 stick) salt free butter cold
maple syrup
Line a 9x13 pan with sliced apples until 2/3 full. Combine sugar and cinnamon and pour over apples. Cut butter into flour and oatmeal with a pastry blender and crumble over the apples. Drizzle with maple syrup. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Sources: Granny (Edna Harris) and Zandra White

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Honey Ham Quiche

Sometimes on busy nights, we love to have breakfast for dinner. When the kids were younger this meant only pancakes or waffles. They would never try anything that looked slightly different. But, thankfully times have changed and my precious little ones' tastebuds are beginning to venture out to new and exciting recipes. Whoo-Hoo!!

Not too long ago, I was craving something different. I had a ready-made pie crust in the fridge and decided to see what the family did with a quiche for dinner. If the kids didn't eat it, there was always cereal for them to eat.

I was so pleased with how this quiche turned out. With the artichokes and red peppers "in" the dish, the kids never suspected what they were eating and the swiss cheese was just the right amount that the kids recognized it and loved it. What kiddo doesn't like cheese? The sweetness of the honey ham went incredibly well with the eggs and the crispness of the pie crust completed the quiche to make a perfect dinner!! I have made this several times since that first time and I'm thrilled that our breakfast-for-dinner now includes a new recipe!!

Honey Ham Quiche
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
3/4 c. solid shortening
4 T. cold water
1/3 c. sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
2 T. butter
7 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. milk
3 T. parsley, chopped
4 oz. honey ham, chopped
14-oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped
4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Blend in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle with water, one tablespoon at a time, if dough is too stiff. Roll dough out thinly and place in a quiche dish. Bake crust for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a skillet saute onions and red pepper in butter until tender. In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sour cream and milk thoroughly. Add parsley, ham, artichoke hearts and onions and red peppers. Pour over crust and sprinkle cheese over top. Bake until quiche is firm. Allow to stand 5 minutes, cut into wedges.

**I have used ready-made crusts the many times I've made this.
Source: Gooseberry Patch: Backyard Gatherings

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Baking Powder Biscuits

Before I post any further successful ventures from my kitchen I had to share my first major FLOP since starting my blog.

Yesterday afternoon I fixed this amazing Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (post to follow soon). I was pondering what I could serve alongside my soup that would support the flavors of the soup but not detract from it. "Maybe an herbed biscuit", I thought to myself. I haven't tried to make biscuits from scratch for awhile and I'm determined to master this "skill". I went to my trusty Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook to find a simple biscuit recipe and found one for baking powder biscuits. Sounds simple enough, right???

Step 1-cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender. "Check" - my bowl of dough looks just like the picture of Martha's.

Step 2-pour cream into flour mixture and fold in with a spatula. "Check"-again, my dough looks like Martha's...Yay!!

Step 3-plop onto a lightly floured surface, pat into a circle and cut out biscuits. "Check"...this is fantastic,I can't wait to taste these yummy biscuits that I made with my own hands.

Bake...blah, blah, blah. They smelled so good while they baked. My taste-buds were waiting to savor these herbed biscuits with my soup. Oh biscuits, please hurry and finish baking!!

I reach into the oven to pull out my culinary success and...........they didn't look like Martha's biscuits at all!!! Mine were 3 inch diameter FLAT, hockey-like disks while hers looked all browned, puffy and perfect!! CRAP!!! Where did I go wrong???? Mine were still flaky like a biscuit and didn't taste ALL that bad....Marty still ate 3 of them, actually he drowned them in his soup...but I'm very disappointed. Was my baking powder too old? Did I work the dough too much? HELP!!!

So, all you perfect bakers out there, please help me out. Any pointers you can offer will be greatly appreciated by my family. Otherwise I'm contacting our local boys' hockey team and supplying them with brownish colored, very flat, 3-inch diameter disks to practice with. And to all of you who were waiting for me to post my first failure, you've got it, baking powder disks.

Here's to posting more successfull, fun, flavorful recipes and enjoying our culinary adventure together!!!!