Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010 – Part III: Desserts


The third and final part of my 2010 best dishes recap is all about desserts. This was the hardest category of all to narrow down, but I think I did a good job picking out the best of the best. Whoopie pies were a definite favorite this year. After discovering how much I love them, I made several different variations and guess what….I have even more to try next year! Almost all of the recipes have been shared with friends and family and are now requested on a frequent basis.

Looking back, 2010 has been a good year. I have finally finished my grad school classes and hope to devote even more time in the kitchen in 2011. Until then, I wish you all a safe and Happy New Year and all the best in the coming year!!

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies


Lemon Blossoms


Chocolate Chunk Mocha Cookies


Coffee Heath Bar Crunch


Banana Whoopie Pies


Oatmeal Cream Pies


Praline Cookies


Apple Spice Drop Cookies


S’mores Bars


Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake


One Year Ago Today: Chewy Chocolate Raisin Cookies

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of 2010 – Part II: Main Courses


The second part of the 2010 recap is all about the main course. The recipes below are the exception to my rule of never making the same dish twice! We have enjoyed these dishes throughout the year and plan to continue to make them apart of our future dinners. If you are new reader, here are some great recipes to try. For those that have been with me throughout the year, hopefully you will find some recipes that you intended to make, but have yet to try. I’m looking forward to 2011 and all the new food recipes it brings!

Brazilian Shrimp Soup


French Onion Soup


Sausage Stuffed French Loaf


Sweet and Sour Chicken


Andouille Burgers with Creole Remoulade Sauce


Alabama Smokehouse Burger


Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza


Curry and Spice Chicken


Spicy Chicken and Rice Bowl


Burrito Bowls


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best of 2010 – Part I: Breakfast Favorites


Well it’s that time of year to reflect on what was accomplished through 2010. It was really hard for me to pick out my favorites. The most I could condense was to capture my favorites in three parts. The first of three are the many different breakfast recipes that my family can’t seem to get enough of. We make many of these recipes a weekly basis and they are all worth trying.

Sausage and Grits Casserole


Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups


Fruit Bruschetta


Buttermilk Pancakes


Yeasted Waffles


Blueberry Crumb Muffins


One Year Ago Today: Italian Baked Pastina

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year’s Eve Appetizers


If you are like me, I’ve been thinking about what to serve for New Year’s Eve for the last week. I am excited to try a few new recipes, but I also plan to include a few faithful recipes that we all enjoy. I’m not big on going out to New Year’s Eve parties, but no matter what your plans are, you can bet there will be food involved. We like to snack around on a variety of appetizers throughout the evening, so I decided to recap some of my favorites in case you are still looking for something to make yourself.

Buffalo Chicken Bites


Pretzel Bites


Aloha Meatballs


Meatball Sliders


Buffalo Chicken Dip


Monday, December 27, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap


I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! We are snuggled into quite a snow storm this Monday morning. Our Christmas was fairly laid back this year. We celebrated Christmas Eve with our usually dishes: Turkey (which I got to make this year!), Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Dressing, and a Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Here are a few more recipes that caught my eye last week as we finish out the Holiday baking:

  • I’m not typically a fan of peppermints, but I do enjoy peppermints covered in chocolate, especially Andes mints. Gimmie Some Oven posted Chocolate Mint Puddles that take chocolate cookies and top with an Andes mint.
  • Another chocolate and peppermint combination that looked too cute to resist was Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies posted by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.
  • It’s been a while since I made gingerbread, but it is definitely perfect for this time of year.  Pink Parsley posted White Chocolate-Gingerbread Blondies that I can’t wait to try.
  • Holiday baking is over and I should probably be taking a break from all the sweets and focus more on main course meals. The Enchanted Cook posted Slow Cooker Carnitas that sound like the perfect meal after a long day at work.

One Year Ago Today: Gingerbread House

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies



During our Thanksgiving break, my mom fixed a batch of these cookies which both my husband and I really enjoyed. I’m not sure what it is about a thumbprint cookie, but I always tell myself that I don’t like them…and then I attempt to try one and realize that I do in fact enjoy thumbprint cookies filled with jam. The cookie itself is a buttery shortbread with hints of almond, filled with some jam, and topped with a sweet drizzle of icing. The recipe doesn’t specify, but it is important that a seedless jam is used to fill the cookies. Try the cookie with raspberry jam first and then decide what other flavors would taste good in the center and switch it up!

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

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For the Cookies:

2 sticks butter, softened

2\3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups flour

2\3 cup raspberry jam (make sure you use jam)

For the Frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

To Make Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, sugar, and flour. Add 1\2 teaspoon almond extract. Chill for 1 hour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.
Make indention in each cookie with thumb. Fill with 1\2 teaspoon jam. Bake for 14 to
18 minutes.  Cool 1 minute, then remove to wire rack.

To Make Frosting:

Combine powdered sugar, almond extract, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid until
desired consistency is met. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

One Year Ago Today: Breakfast Empanadas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake



In case anyone in still planning their Christmas menu or perhaps looking for a New Year’s Eve dessert, may I convince you to bring this cheesecake?!? I can’t say enough about this dessert. I made this for my Department’s Christmas party and after tasting it, I was ready to go home a make another one which I could eat all by myself! The outside crust is lined with gingersnaps, the cheesecake has added spices of pumpkin pie, and the apple topping is too good to resist. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the cheesecake, there was only one or two slices left over which I gladly took home to eat on my own! This would be a great dessert for any special event or Holiday party and is sure to get rave reviews from your guests!

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

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For the Crust:

2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about a 14 oz package of cookies)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperate

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup apple cider

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Tightly wrap a 9 inch springform pan in heavy duty foil. (This step prevents leaks when using a water bath.)

Mix together the crust ingredients. Press into the bottom of the pan and about 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack.

Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and sugar; mix until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla; combine until thoroughly incorporated and smooth in texture.

Pour batter into prepared crust. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have some jiggle to it. At this point, close the oven door, turn off the heat, and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for a least one hour, but up to 3 hours. After the recommended cooling time has passed, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cake is completely cooled, place it into the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.

Three hours before serving, prepare the apple topping. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. In another bowl, sprinkle apples with the juice of 1/2 lemon and toss.

Melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour and stir for about one minute. Slowly whisk in the apple cider followed by the sugar and spice mixture made in the previous step.

Add in the apples and cook until slightly tender (about 5 to 7 minutes) stirring constantly. Once apples have reached a desired texture and the sauce has thickened, remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow apple topping to cool completely before topping the cheesecake. Arrange apples on cheesecake and chill for at least one hour before serving.

Source: My Baking Addiction

One Year Ago Today: Apple Cranberry Compote

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Special "K” Cookies



This happens to me a no-bake cookie near and dear to my heart. My mom made them for me and my brother growing up and we both still love them today. I love to make them when I need a peanut butter fix and they definitely offer you a lot of peanut butter flavor. They are super simple to make and a quick prep if you need a cookie and don’t have much time. I’ve mentioned before that I am trying to break away from using corn syrup. This recipe calls for just that, but if want to substitute for cane sugar syrup you can find a homemade recipe here.

Special "K” Cookies

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1 cup sugar

1 cup white Karo syrup

1 cup crunchy or plain peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups Special “K” Cereal (you can also substitute cornflakes)

Place sugar and syrup in a sauce pan. Mix to combine and place on stove. Bring to a good rolling boil (don’t over cook).

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Mix well and add vanilla and cereal. Mix to combine. Drop by teaspoonfuls on wax paper. Let cool before eating.

One Year Ago Today: Pork Tenderloin in an Apple Maple Brine

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls



My Holiday baking this year has been different from previous years. I usually make an assortment of baked goods, but this year we had family in town for the past few weeks, which has cut down my time in the kitchen quite a bit, but no complaints here. This year I decided to make cinnamon rolls as gifts for the folks in the office. I liked this idea because everyone likes a cinnamon roll and they can be frozen and saved for later in case anyone wants to stay away from the overdose of sugar for a while! This recipe makes anywhere from 40 to 50 cinnamon rolls, perfect for gift giving and it does not skip on anything. There is a lot more than just dough and a few sprinkles of cinnamon and sugar. They were quite good and hard to eat just one!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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For the dough:

1 quart (4 cups) whole milk

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

2 packages active dry yeast

9 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

1 scant teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoons salt

For the Filling:

2 cups melted butter

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cinnamon

For the Icing:

1 bag powdered sugar

1 tablespoon maple flavoring (or vanilla extract)

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

a dash of salt

To make the dough:

Mix the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but not hot, sprinkle both packages of active dry yeast. Let this sit for one minute. Add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise at least 1 hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add additional cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it, punching down as needed.)

When ready to make rolls:

Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into a thin rectangle measuring approximately 30 x 10 inches. Drizzle 1/2 cup to 1 cup of melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by 1/8 cup of cinnamon.

Starting at the opposite end from you, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

At this point, you can place melted butter in a seven inch round foil or pie pan. Cut the rolls approximately 1 1/2 inch thick and lay them in the butter pans, being careful not to overcrowd. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light golden brown.

To make the frosting:

While the rolls are baking, mix together powdered sugar, maple flavoring, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Stir until smooth.

Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Monday, December 20, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap


Well I hope that everyone has been able to spend sometime out of the kitchen and take a break from Holiday baking. I finished up the last of my baking over the weekend, but there are so many new recipes that I can’t wait to bake up. Here are a few recipes that caught my eye last week:

  • The Way the Cookie Crumbles posted Oreo Cheesecake Cookies that resembles Oreo cheesecake baked into cookie form.
  • I have seen several variations of cookies and brownies topped with peppermints this week, but Sweet Peas Kitchen posted Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies that looked a little better than the rest. Shortbread cookies topped with dark chocolate and peppermints.
  • BS in the Kitchen posted German Chocolate Cake Cookies that provide you with a mini version of German Chocolate Cake in cookie form. Who knew it was even possible!
  • My mother-in-law makes great chocolate fudge, but I also have a sweet spot for peanut butter fudge. Brown Eyed Baker posted Peanut Butter Fudge that promises for a quick and tasty treat.
  • The Novice Chef Blog posted a recipe for Pumpkin Praline Cake. The picture alone was all I needed to see to know I would love this cake.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Parker House Rolls



Last year around this time I started getting into baking homemade breads. I asked Santa for a cookbook that was all about bread and he delivered….the only problem is I haven’t been able to devote enough time to the hobby between all my school work. With the holiday coming up, I wanted to try making homemade rolls that I could feature with our holiday meal. I was very pleased with the results, but the rolls should come with a warning…hide them until you are ready to serve dinner. I had a hard time keeping family members away from them until dinner time!

Homemade Parker House Rolls

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3 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup whole milk

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 to 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Stir together warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and yeast in a small bowl until yeast in dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes.

Melt 3/4 stick butter in a small saucepan (or microwave). Add the milk and heat until lukewarm. Pour into a large bowl and add yeast mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, bread flour, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Stir in 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, dump out onto a clean work surface and begin to bring the dough together into a ball. If your dough is too sticky to handle, add up to 1/2 cup of all purpose flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough is just slightly sticky.

Knead dough until a smooth and elastic dough begins to form, adding all-purpose flour as needed. (I used my stand mixer with the dough hook instead of kneading by hand.) The dough will be smooth, satiny, and just slightly sticky after 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl, turning the dough so that the entire ball is covered. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest in a warm, draft free place until double in size, about 1 hour.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. Roll each one into a ball and arrange evenly in 4 rows of 5 in a baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free place until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Using a floured chopstick or the edge of a ruler, make a deep crease down the center of each roll. Let rolls rise, loosely covered for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and cool slightly. Brush the tops of the rolls with butter and place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool rolls in the pan for 5 minutes then remove and serve warm.

To reheat rolls, wrap in foil and place in a 375 degree oven until warm.

Source: Joy the Baker, Originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

One Year Ago Today: Snickerdoodle Pie

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Curry in a Hurry



Today’s dish is one my mother-in-law has made for us a few times that we all enjoy. This is the perfect meal for the cold weather we have been having. It offers you warmth and comfort with the ease of a quick, fast meal. It has a good bit of heat in each bite so if you plan to serve kids, you might consider adding less curry as it might be too spicy for their taste buds. The mango chutney adds just the right balance of flavor while the golden raisins soak in all the flavors, giving you a plump and juicy burst of flavor with each bite.

Curry in a Hurry

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Jasmine or white rice

4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into chunky pieces and dusted with a handful all-purpose flour

1 yellow medium Spanish onion, peeled, halved, and cut into 1/4 inch strips

1 piece fresh gingerroot, about 2 inches, grated

3 cloves garlic, minced

15 oz low sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons mild curry paste

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 to 3 tablespoons mango chutney

2 tablespoons peanut or sesame oil

Coarse salt, to taste

Start a pot of water to boil for jasmine or white rice, following the directions on the box for 4 to 6 servings. The rice will take longer than the dish to prepare.

In a large skillet, working over medium-high heat, brown the chicken for 4 minutes on each side in the peanut or sesame oil. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add onion, gingerroot, and garlic. Sauté for another 3 minutes, until the onion becomes tender. Add broth and scrap off the bottom of the pan. Add curry paste and raisins. Return chicken to the pan. Heat through to a boil. Give the pan a good shake. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in chutney to thicken and sweeten. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to desired thickness.

Serve with white or jasmine rice.

Source: Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meals

One Year Ago Today: Salmon en Croute

Monday, December 13, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap


Continuing the theme of Holiday baking, here are some more recipes that caught my eye last week:

  • I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t like Oreos. I especially like them around this time of the year… double stuffed with a pretty red filling! Tracey’s Culinary Adventures posted a recipe for Thomas Keller’s Oreos, which consists of a dark chocolate cookie sandwiched between white chocolate ganache…YUM!
  • I’m pretty much a sucker for anything that has the word “caramel” in it, so I was excited to see My Baking Addiction posted a recipe for Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies.
  • I am always being reminded that you can make anything at home. The Savory Sweet Life posted a recipe for Homemade Peppermint Patties that quite honestly look even better than the store bought version.
  • Another holiday classic that I remember growing up was the round container filled with butter cookies, individually lined with a paper wrapper. Annie’s Eats posted a recipe for French Butter Cookies that are the homemade version of the irresistible “container” cookies.
  • The Girl Who Ate Everything posted a recipe for Turtle Tassies that uses a basic sugar cookie for the outside, filled with chocolate, topped with caramel, and sprinkled with pecans.

One Year Ago Today: Ginger Snap Cookies

Friday, December 10, 2010

Carrot Cake



In keeping with the theme of my mom’s dishes, I wanted to share her carrot cake recipe. My mom has been making this carrot cake for years, and while I am somewhat biased, it is the best carrot cake I have tasted by far. For large family get-togethers or events, this cake seems to get more mileage out of a large sheetcake pan, but if you are serving a smaller dinner crowd, it can definitely be stacked into a two tier layered cake. I always get compliments on this cake and several inquiries for the recipe. This would be a great addition to any holiday dinner, sure to please your guests!

Carrot Cake

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For the Cake:

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

3 cups grated carrots

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

6 oz package cream cheese, room temperature

1 box of confectioner’s sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

To Make the Cake:

Mix the sugar, eggs, and oil in a mixing bowl. Add grated carrots. Mix in flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool cake before frosting.

To make the Frosting:

Combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla. Mix into smooth. Once cake has cooled, spread frosting on top of cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jello Salad



One of my favorite dishes during the holiday season is my mom’s jello salad. Everyone in my family loves it and I’m pretty sure we would all be disappointed if it didn’t make it on the holiday menu. It includes some of my favorites: strawberries, pineapple, and bananas. It is easy to make and would be perfect side for any meal. For those that are familiar with strawberry pretzel salad, this is it’s rival, and honestly it would be hard to name a favorite between the two because they each offer something a little different. If you are debating what to serve this holiday season, consider this salad…it is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Jello Salad

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1 large box of Strawberry-Banana Jello

1 medium to large can crushed pineapple

1 bag frozen strawberries

2 to 3 crushed bananas

Bring the water for the jello to a boil. Add the jello and the frozen strawberries, stirring until thawed. Add pineapple and bananas and mix together.

Place half the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan (or a similar size). Let sit in the refrigerate until mixture is somewhat firm. Add the rest of the jello and store in the refrigerate until set for several hours or overnight.

One Year Ago Today: Pumpkin Pie Bars

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken and Rice Casserole



When my husband and I first got married, I had a rotation of about five recipes that were cooked over and over again. One of those was a casserole which we both got sick of rather quickly causing me not to make a casserole dish for several years. Since things have started to get a little crazy and our schedules are running a little tighter, I have been looking for quick and easy meals to throw together. This casserole caught my eye because to used curry powder and a cornbread stuffing for the topping. Both ingredients are quite different from any other casserole I have tried. While this will only be something I make probably once a year, my husband and I both enjoyed it, not only for the convenience, but also for the taste!

Chicken and Rice Casserole

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6 oz package long-grain and wild rice, cooked according to directions

4 cups diced cooked chicken breast

2 (10 3/4 oz) cans cream of chicken soup

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste

8 oz package Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Dressing Mix

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

Put the rice in a 2 quart casserole. Layer the chicken on top of the rice. Mix the soup, mayonnaise, and curry powder, and pour this over the chicken. Sprinkle the dressing mix over the casserole and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Source: The Lady and Sons, Too!

One Year Ago Today: Cheese on the Cob

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sausage and Peppers Pasta



Sausage and Peppers is a dish my family has come to love since moving to the Northeast. At first, I thought it could only be eaten with bread, but after trying it with pasta, I might have just found an even better variation to the dish! Adding pasta to an already good meal is a great way to switch things up a bit and add a new twist to a meal. Now that we have two variations, I am quite sure we could never grow tired of sausage and peppers. The pasta also makes for really good leftovers, which is always an added bonus for me! After having this variation, I am wondering what else could be turned into a pasta dish.

Sausage and Peppers Pasta

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1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (14oz) package beef smoked sausage, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (Italian turkey sausage can be substituted)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

16oz package penne pasta, cooked according to package directions and kept warm

Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until sausage is browned. Add peppers, onion, and garlic; cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in tomatoes, Creole seasoning, crushed red pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, or until heated through. Add cooked pasta, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Source: Cooking with Paula Deen, March/April 2009

Monday, December 6, 2010

Starred Recipes Recap


I am still processing the fact that we are in the month of December. I completed all my Christmas shopping yesterday, which is always a stress reliever! The weather here is settling into winter, making for some really cold and windy days. I am excited about the Christmas season and love seeing all the holiday baking recipes posted by fellow bloggers. Here are some that caught my eye last week:

  • I have a pretty good recipe for homemade Gingersnap Cookies, but I am always intrigued by a cookie recipe that becomes a sandwich with some sort of filling in the middle. Sweet Peas Kitchen posted a recipe for Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Filling that I’m tempted to add to my holiday baking menu.
  • This is the time of year, I’m always in the mood for a cup of Hot Cider or Cocoa, but I never thought I could have it in the form of a cookie. How Sweet Eats posted a recipe for Hot Cocoa Cookies that is described as tasting just like a cup of hot chocolate.
  • If I had planned better, I would have made homemade vanilla extract as Christmas gift to friends, family, and co-workers. My Baking Addiction highlighted some tips regarding the process of making homemade vanilla extract, including a tutorial, vendors to purchase vanilla beans from, and cute bottles and labels for making the perfect gifts.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Football Fridays Recap


College Football is winding down. Saturday is the SEC championship game and sadly we won’t be watching our team play for the title. Today I decided to have a recap of all the recipes posted for Football Fridays. Hopefully the recipes will become part of your bowl game parties. For those that don’t follow football, the recipes are still great to bring to any kind of function that calls for appetizers and/or quick finger-foods and snacks. Until next season, I promise to stop commenting on football!

Happy Friday and Have a great weekend!


Buffalo Chicken Bites


Spiced Pumpkin Dip


Pretzel Bites


Aloha Meatballs



Caramel Pretzel Bites


Oatmeal Cream Pies


Praline Cookies


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chocolate Nutella Thumbprint Cookies



Eating nutella straight out of the jar is always a dessert option, but there are several other ways to incorporate nutella into dessert as well. When I saw the recipe for thumbprints filled with nutella I thought it was genius! The chocolate cookie itself taste somewhat bitter, but with each bite you get a taste of creamy chocolate nutella, which helps to balance all the chocolate flavors together, creating one sinful cookie. For anyone needing their fix of chocolate, this cookie will not disappoint your chocolate desires!

Chocolate Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

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1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 to 3/4 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. In a separate, larger bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat well. Mix in flour mixture at low speed, just until combined.

Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and knead a few times until it is smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 24 1-inch balls. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Press thumb into the center of each cookie, leaving an indentation.

Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a generous teaspoonful of nutella into the center of each cookie.

Source: RecipeGirl, originally adapted from Cooking Light

One Year Ago Today: French Toast Casserole