Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Few Quick Halloween Treats

I am in the midst of Halloween season which is the beginning of my favorite time of the year... so of course, I am hosting a ton of Halloween type things.  Well at our last party and at our party this coming weekend...these are a few of the things I served!

Bread Bones
1-2 cans of refrigerated bread sticks or croissants
coarse salt
cooking spray

These suckers are so easy it is ridiculous... so you just take your bread and shape it into a bone like shape.  spray it lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle salt on them and bake them according the package.
This recipe as well as this wonderful picture came from:

Mummy Dogs
1 package of hot dogs
2 packages of croissants or bread sticks

Once again, ridiculously easy.  Just pull the bread out into thin chord... then starting at the base of each hot dog wrap it up like a mummy.  Leave a space for the face.  Bake according to directions on can of dough...Let those mummies cool off then give them some little mustard eyes!

This awesome picture as well as the recipe comes from:

Then of course you can do an easy dessert... cupcakes!  I just used a box of cupcakes and prepacked icing for this... but I wanna share a pic of what they look like when they are done... Or what they are supposed to look like, mine didn't look quite so professional.  They tasted really good though!  Well foo, I can't find the picture I was looking for.  So here is what you do to ice them. 

Make circles starting from the inside going out to the outermost portion of the cupcake in a contrasting color to the base icing.  Take a toothpick and drag from the center of the cupcake to the outer edges.  Repeat several times... Google spiderweb cupcakes to see what I am talking about.  I didn't want to steal anyone's blog photography! 

Happy haunting!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

So at the end of the pay period, I always have to get pretty creative with that my poor family don't just end up eating chicken nuggets and mac n' cheese.  Here is my latest solution to keep the food fresh and interesting.

6 chicken tenderloins
several slices of bacon depending on how much you want
8 oz cream cheese softened
dash of dried onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash of parsley (makes it pretty)
package of pillsbury pizza dough
2 tbsp melted butter
  1. Combine the cream cheese, onion, garlic, and parsley.  Stir until well blended. Portion into 3 balls.
  2. Take one chicken tenderloin, top it with a cream cheese ball, top that with another chicken tenderloin, then wrap the whole enchilada in bacon.  Repeat until all 6 chicken tenderloins are sandwiched.
  3. Pour melted butter over the chicken and bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.  Take out of the oven.
  4. Cut pizza dough into 3 even sections.  Turn oven temp up to 425 degrees.  Wrap each chicken portion in a section of dough pinching it closed.  It is kinda like a chicken calzone.  Repeat with the other sections of chicken.  Place them back in the same baking dish.  Cook for an additional 18-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked all the way through and the dough is crispy. 
Now, I only made enough for my husband and I.  There is no way our 3 year old would even try to eat it.  So, if you have a bigger family, just make more.  I had way more dough and cream cheese than I needed.  I am sure you can stretch the dough to fit more that the 3 chicken tasties... I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

Sorry I have been away for a while.  I have been crafting my little heart out and burning the crap out of my fingers.  Clumsy people should not be allowed to operate a glue gun, but I digress.  The other reason I have been MIA is this little website called Pinterest... or as I have come to call it The Great Distraction!  But, thanks to this little website I found a recipe that I tried out last night.  I am reaping the rewards of its deliciousness this morning!  Here is the website from which I pilfered the recipe:

What You Need

6-8 Strips of bacon
1 onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 green pepper seeded and chopped
1 (2lb.) bag of frozen hashbrowns
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
12 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

  1. First spray down your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cook the bacon until it is crisp, cool, then chop it up into 1/2 inch pieces, set aside. (I used the precooked bacon you can buy at the grocery store because that is all we had in the house).  Saute onion, garlic and pepper for 5 minutes.  (I used dried onion and garlic powder because once again that is all I had in the house.  Who are these people that have cloves of garlic laying about).
  3. Place 1/3 frozen hashbrowns in the bottom of the crock pot.  Add 1/3 of the bacon, 1/3 of onion mix, and 1/3 of cheese.  Repeat layers finishing it off with a layer of cheese.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together milk, eggs, dill, salt and pepper.  Pour over the ingredients in the crock pot.  Cover that bad boy up and cook for 8-10 hours.

So, as most of you know by now, I can't leave good enough alone and I totally change perfectly good recipes.  Well since there are only 2 and a half of us eating in my household I cut the recipe in half and it totally worked just fine.  I also didn't have a pepper so I used Mexican Cheese blend with Jalapenos and it added that little bit of spice it might have been missing.  Come to think of it, this would have tasted awesome with salsa dumped on it... never mind, moving on.  I also added some leftover sausage into the mix.  It was super tasty.  This is the perfect dish if you have people coming to stay but you hate mornings as much as I do.  I am thinking it is a definite holiday recipe!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Squash-Stuffed Baked Apples

*WARNING:  This recipe is not for the faint of heart.  It is very time consuming, but I think that the results are worth it if you have the time!

This is another of many recipes that I have gotten out of the Taste of Home Magazine.  I don't use nearly as many apples as the recipe calls for.  I would say to definitely adjust the recipe to your needs.

Squash-Stuffed Baked Apples

8 medium tart apples
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups mashed cooked butternut squash
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut butternut squash lengthwise.  Clean all of the seed and goop out.  Place squash halves face down on a lightly greased baking pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the flesh is tender.
  2. Core apples, leaving bottoms intact.  Peel the top third of each apple  Remove the pulp leaving a 1/2 in. shell.  Chop the removed apple and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, saute chopped apples in the butter until they are tender.  Add squash; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes stirring often.  Stir in the remaining spices and sugar.  Spoon into the baked apples.
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes longer or until heated through, basting occasionally.  Drizzle them with the pan juices before serving.
I added in a splash of juice while cooking the apples and squash on the stove.  I found there wasn't enough liquid in the mixture to adequately combine the two.  As I said in the beginning, this recipe is very time consuming.  It is by no means a last minute easy addition to a meal.  So if you embark on this journey please pack plenty of patience!

This recipe is brought to you by the Taste of Home Halloween Magazine from 2010.  Lord knows what all I will get from this years.  Brace yourselves people!

My Seeester's Zucchini Bread Recipe

I went in search of a zucchini bread recipe yesterday.  I have never had it before and I thought that I really needed to use up the gigantic zucchini in my refrigerator.  Thus, I posted on facebook my intentions to embark on this bread baking journey.  My lovely sister gave me the following recipe which is truly quite tasty.  My kid even likes it miraculously!  In giving me the recipe, my sister decided to clarify that the zucchini needed to be shredded.  I suppose once upon a time I might have plopped the whole zucchini in the middle of the loaf.... but not these days sister!  I got this! 

Zucchini Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl until they are well mixed.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, cinnamon, oil, sugar, and vanilla until well blended.
  3. Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until well mixed.  Add in the zucchini last.  I mix it up with my hands, but if you prefer to be less messy, you can always use a spatula.
  4. Separate batter into two greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-60 minutes.

This makes a whole lotta zucchini bread by the by.  So prepare yourself to be eating bread for a while unless you are having some bread or zucchini loving company!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes/Muffins

I found this recipe on another blog and for the life of me, I can't remember which one.  I think that I have probably tried at least 20 different recipes for pumpkin muffins and cupcakes.  This recipe is by far my absolute favorite.  I try not to make them too much because the husband doesn't like pumpkin and I end up eating a dozen cupcakes/muffins all by myself.  My thighs don't appreciate it!  These little treats are really fluffy and light and ever so yummy.

Pumpkin Muffins/Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
splash of vanilla extract

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients.  Sift them together until they are well mixed.  I use a whisk and it works just as well as breaking out a sifter.
  2. Slowly mix in the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and oil.  Mix all of the ingredients until they are well blended and smooth.
  3. Fill each cup in a cupcake pan 3/4 full.  To avoid a big mess, I always use the little cupcake paper cups.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when they are done.

Now if I am making them muffins I put this topping on while they are baking:

Muffin Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

  1. Mix the two ingredients together until they are well blended.
  2. Sprinkly on top of each uncooked cupcake.

If I am making them cupcakes I add cream cheese icing after the little morsels have cooled off.  Here is the homemade cream cheese icing recipe:

Cream Cheese Icing

1 stick softened cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together.  If you prefer a strong vanilla taste add more vanilla.  Likewise, if you prefer no vanilla, you don't have to add any!
  2. Ice your cupcakes and pig out!

Home-style Stew (Crockpot awesomeness)

So, I am actually attempting this recipe today.  I haven't ever made it, but it looks like it might just be delicious.  I will let you all know after attempting it if the results are desirable.  Until then, I am going to go ahead and throw this little puppy up here.  I will add some pictures later so that you can all see what the delicious little concoction looks like.

Home-Style Stew

2 packages (16 oz each) frozen vegetables for stew
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-in. cubes
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup
1 envelope reduced sodium onion soup mix

  1.  Place vegetables in a 5 qt. slow cooker.  Take a large nonstick skillet and spray it lightly with cooking spray.  Brown the beef on all sides.
  2. Put the browned beef into the slow cooker.  Combine the remaining ingredients.  (Do not dilute either of the cans of soup).  Pour remaining ingredients over the top.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until the beef is tender.
*This recipe was super tasty.  However, I added in a can of beef broth just to give it some more liquid!