Monday, November 30, 2009

Meatball Sliders


These cute little sliders are the perfect appetizer for a day full of College football. They are also great for a game night with friends, which is exactly what I made these for. They are the perfect bite, filled with both sweet and spicy flavors. While the meatballs on their own are good, the flavor of the relish adds a spicy element that keeps you coming back for more. This is an easy dish to put together and can even be made in advance if you are short on time.

Monster Meatball Sandwiches

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32 bite-size frozen meatballs

1 (9 oz) jar mango chutney

1 cup chicken broth

16 fresh dinner rolls or slider rolls

1 (16 oz) jar hot diced cherry peppers or other sandwich relish

Stir together the frozen meatballs, mango chutney, and chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cut rolls vertically through top, cutting to but not through bottom. Place 2 meatballs in each roll. Top with desired amount of relish.

Source adapted from:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!


For those that might be wondering why I haven't posted any new recipes this week, things have been a little hectic and unexpected lately. I spend the first half of last week in Oklahoma, which was an unexpected trip, but I was happy to be there. Thursday I flew into Destin, FL for my sister-in-law Beth's wedding and have been in Florida all of this week for a little rest and relaxation, so I have not had much if any time in the kitchen.  Check back next week for some new recipes.

I wish everyone and their families a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sausage and Peppers



Since living in New York we have picked up a few new recipes that are popular to this region. When we first moved in and were invited to a BBQ, my husband and I both thought that meant burgers and hot dogs. After going to a few BBQ’s we realized it was all about sausage and peppers which we have since grown to love. This Italian inspired meal can be both sweet, spicy, or a combination of  both, depending on the type of sausages used. A lot of times this dish is made straight from the grill, but since the weather is getting colder I thought I would share my version made straight from the stove top.


Sausage and Peppers

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5 or 6 whole Italian sausages (Hot, Sweet, or a combination of both)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, sliced into rings and halved

1 green bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 tablespoon house seasoning

Olive oil

Italian bread

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place sausages into boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Pour in olive oil to coat skillet pan. Place peppers and onions and garlic over medium high heat in a skillet. Season vegetables with the house seasoning. Sauté the vegetables just until they begin to soften. Transfer contents of skillet to a large bowl and set aside.

Slice sausages into 1/2 inch pieces. Add olive oil to pan in order to coat, if needed, and fry the sausages until they are lightly browned along the edges. Stir in the cooked vegetables and continue to cook on medium high for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Assemble as a sandwich using Italian bread or other hoagie style bread.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sweet Potato a la carte


The sweet potatoes have arrived in the grocery stores, so I thought it was time to share with you my favorite way to eat a sweet potato, a la carte.  Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. I love almost any sweet potato casserole that is filled with marshmallow goodness. This version is perfect for a simple weeknight meal that goes with just about anything. It can easily be adapted to your liking. I prefer a little bit of ginger, but it would also be good with some cinnamon.

Individual Sweet Potato

Medium size Sweet Potato


1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

dash of Ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake sweet potatoes for about 40 minutes, or until fork tender.

Slice down the middle and place pads of butter, brown sugar, and ground ginger. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup


This is my all time favorite soup recipe. The recipe was shared to me by my wonderful sister-in-law Melinda and it’s the one soup I am always in the mood for. I look forward to cool weather just so I can make this soup….it’s just that good. Most of the ingredients are canned goods, which makes for an easy prep. The recipe suggests simmering the soup for an hour so you want to make sure you have the time, the flavors marry so well together.  The use of Rotel tomatoes gives the soup the perfect amount of spice. Serve soup with your favorite cornbread recipe for the perfect meal.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken

1 can whole kernel corn

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 cans low sodium chicken broth

1 can tomato soup

Served with: Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream, Cheese, Limes and Cilantro

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, corn, white wine, tomatoes, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, chicken broth, and tomato soup; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.

For Serving: I usually squeeze half a lime in the soup mixture before serving. I prefer to place crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl. Top with soup, sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake


I must confess I love this pumpkin Bundt pan!! I was snooping around my mother-in-law’s bakeware and found this beauty and just knew I needed to make something with it. I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been used in quite sometime, but I was happy to put it to work! As for the cake, I figured I needed to make something pumpkin and looked through all the recipes I had marked to try and found this one from the Food Librarian. I enjoyed the pumpkin cake part, not positive I loved the combination of pumpkin and chocolate chips. This might have been because I only had regular chocolate chips on hand instead of minis, but next time I think I will cut back on the amount of chocolate chips. I have adjusted the measurements for the chocolate chips below. For those that are curious about the Bundt pan, it can be found here.

Pumpkin – Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

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1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour either loaf or Bundt pan. Sift together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar, then beat in eggs one at a time. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Beat dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture alternately with milk. Stir in chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tested inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes.  Turn cake out onto rack to cool completely.

Source adapted from: The Food Librarian, originally from Epicurious

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Favorite Mashed Potatoes


I’m sure you’re thinking mashed potatoes…so what? Well, I happen to think that these mashed potatoes contain a secret ingredient that make them so much better and I’m not talking about butter, I’m talking about whipping cream. My mom made plenty of mashed potatoes growing up, but I guess I never really paid much attention to how she made them. So several years ago, when the hubby and I were newly married I had to search through cookbooks to find out how to make the perfect mashed potatoes. Since finding this recipe, I haven’t deviated. I love how creamy and perfectly seasoned the potatoes are. It’s the perfect comfort food! It is also a great compliment to the Roast with onion-mushroom gravy I posted about yesterday.

Simple Mashed Potatoes

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2 1/2 lbs red potatoes

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup whipping cream

Bring potatoes and cold water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven; boil 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Beat potatoes at low speed with an electric mixer just until mashed. Add 1/4 cup butter, salt, and pepper, beating until butter is melted. Gradually add cream, beating just until smooth. Serve immediately.

Source: Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook, Oxmoor House, Inc, 2006

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Roast with an Onion-and-Mushroom Gravy


I’m trying my best not to let the perfectionist in me keep from sharing some of my favorite recipes. I hate that this is the best picture I took, but honestly all I wanted to do was eat by the time this meal was ready. This is another one of my favorite slow cooker meals. Roast are commonly made as the perfect Sunday dinner, but with the convenience of the slow cooker it can also be a meal you can enjoy during the week. The meat has always come out juicy and tender and  the mushroom gravy is the perfect addition for pouring over the meat. I rarely look forward to leftovers, but this meal is one that I can’t wait to eat for lunch the next day!

Roast with Onion-and-Mushroom Gravy

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1 2.5 lb boneless beef chuck shoulder roast

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (14 oz) can low-sodium beef broth

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup

1 (1 oz) envelope dry onion soup mix

2 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

Sprinkle the roast with pepper; place, fat side up, in a  5 quart slow cooker. Add beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, and onion soup mix.

Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or until tender. Transfer roast to a serving platter, reserving juices; keep warm.

Whisk together cornstarch and water; slowly whisk into juices. Increase heat to High and cook uncovered, 1 minute or until slightly thickened, whisking frequently. Serve roast with gravy.

Source Adapted from: Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook, Oxmoor House, Inc 2006

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies


I've been feeling a little homesick lately, yes even after three years I still get homesick quite often. One thing that brings me back home is my mom’s cookie recipes. Her peanut butter cookies are one of my favorites and they were just what I needed in order to cheer up! Soft, chewy, and peanut buttery…so yummy. If you’re really feeling naughty they are also great with some Nutella spread on top. You just can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate!


Peanut Butter Cookies

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1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter (I like to use chunky peanut butter)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until blended. Roll into balls and roll balls in a bowl of sugar. Flatten cookies using a fork.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Minis

Tis the season of pumpkin! I saw this recipe over at Picky Palate and it looked too good not to pass up. I was also intrigued by the seasonal pumpkin kisses everyone seems to be buzzing about. I had never heard of them before so it sparked my curiosity and figured I had better try them. The mini cheesecakes were super good. The chocolate crust was a great compliment to the pumpkin flavored cheesecake. The pumpkin flavor in the cheesecake was nice and subtle, not too overpowering and I’m always up for caramel, so all was good! As for the pumpkin kisses…not so much. If you are a big pumpkin fan, you would probably enjoy them, but they aren’t a necessary topping for this dessert.

Black Bottomed Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

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8 whole Oreos, finely ground in food processor

1 1/2 tablespoon melted butter

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Caramel topping

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, optional

Note: The recipe suggests to use a mini cheesecake pan. This pan is basically a deeper mini muffin pan. I chose to use a brownie pan which worked out fine. I didn’t get as many cheesecakes, but the serving size was perfect! If you don’t have either pan, you could use a regular mini muffin pan, just be sure to adjust the cooking time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ground Oreos and melted butter into a bowl until well combined.

Spoon into a greased pan. Press into the bottom of each cup so the crust is flat. Partially bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.

In a stand or electric mixer beat the cream cheese, ,sugar, and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. Pour evenly into molds, filling about 3/4 full. Spoon about a teaspoon of caramel into the tops of each filled cup and swirl with a toothpick gently. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until cheesecake is cooked through. Let cool completely.

Remove cheesecake from pan and top each with a spoonful of remaining caramel and (if desired) a Pumpkin Spice Hershey kiss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source adapted from:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

My picture of this dish does it no justice, so don’t let your eyes deceive you. This is honestly the best Chicken and Dumpling recipe I’ve had. While this isn’t the most colorful of dishes, the flavor is all there. Lots of chicken and big strips of biscuits in each bite. The best part is the recipe is extremely easy to put together by using store bought chicken and biscuits. My mother-in-law made this meal for us a couple of weeks ago and it was so good we’ve had it twice in the past two weeks!

Chicken and Dumplings

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1 (32 oz) container low-sodium chicken broth

1 (14 1/2 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth

3 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 (10 3/4 oz) can reduced fat cream of celery soup

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 hard-cooking eggs, chopped

1 (10.2 oz) can refrigerated jumbo buttermilk biscuits

Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired (I forgot this ingredient, which would have added color to the dish!)

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add chopped eggs.

Place biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat each biscuit to 1/8 inch thickness; cut into 1/2 inch wide strips.

Return broth mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat. Drop strips, 1 at a time, into boiling broth. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Source: Southern Living Comfort Food, Oxmoor House, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spicy Pork Tenderloin with a Ginger-Maple Sauce

This dish is for all the Ginger lovers out there. The sauce was excellent with the pork tenderloin and made for a yummy combination. If you aren’t a fan of ginger, no worries, just use your favorite BBQ sauce or no sauce at all. The pork was very tender and juicy and the spice rub only added to the flavor of the dish. I highly recommend you give this recipe a try and add some rice in to soak up some of the sauce!

Spicy Pork Tenderloin with a Ginger-Maple Sauce

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2  teaspoons  chili powder

1 1/4  teaspoons  salt

1  teaspoon  black pepper

1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon

1 1/2  pounds  pork tenderloin, trimmed

Cooking spray

2  tablespoons  butter

1  cup  chopped onion

2  tablespoons  bottled ground fresh ginger

1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/2  cup  maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; rub pork with spice mixture. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook 6 minutes; brown on all sides. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 155°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

While pork bakes, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add ginger, and cook 4 minutes. Stir in broth and syrup, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring broth mixture to a boil; cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Cut pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices; serve with sauce.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Almond Coffee Cakes

I made these little cuties over the weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve made this recipe and I’m kicking myself now for forgetting about them! They have the perfect layers of flavor with the streusel topping cutting through the middle  and tops of the cake. I also really enjoy the moistness that the sour cream provides to the batter. Overall the taste and texture is the perfect morning treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

Almond Coffee Cakes

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For the Crumbled Almonds:

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup almonds

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the Coffee Cake Batter:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients for the crumbled almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 10 molds of a 12-mold mini square pan.

Combine butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

Continue beating at medium speed and add egg, beating until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder. and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture just until combined.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of batter into each mold. Spread 1 tablespoon of the crumbled almonds on top, followed by about 2 additional tablespoons of batter. Finish with a sprinkling of crumbled almonds. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans. Once turned over invert immediately to keep the crumbled almonds on top of cake.

Source: Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse: Cupcakes, Small Cakes, Muffins, and Other Mini Treats by Liv and Kaye Hansen