Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I've been a bad food blogger, for I have made bounteous meals (including Dinner Divas and my recipe exchange!) and have not blogged. There are photos, oh yes, but nary a blog entry. And now's not the time.

For I have punkins to eat! I don't have time right now to relay all the sordid details (Stella likes frosting), but I'll leave you with a picture. Alas, some of my punkins' frosting melted, but they still taste fan-freakin-tastic. And I have a dozen left over at home!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Pear Cake

Yum! I made this for a meeting on Sunday (which I was late for, thanks cake) and it was still warm when we cut it almost two hours later. I also licked the bowl for the glaze. Good Stuff.

Fresh Pear Cake (from Weaver's website, my fave orchard)

3 eggs
2 c. sugar
11/2 c. vegetable oil
3 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
11/2 c. pears, peeled and finely chopped (2-3 pears)
1 tsp. vanilla
11/4 c. confectioners' sugar
2 Tbs. milk

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs on medium speed. Gradually add sugar and oil; beat thoroughly. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda; add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in pears and vanilla. (The batter will be stiff.) Spoon into a greased and floured 10 in. tube pan.
Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool in pan for 10 min. before inverting onto a serving plate. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and milk; beat until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake. Cool completely. Yield: 14-16 servings.

Used by permission from Reiman Publications - Taste of Home

(hopefully TOH doesn't come after me for this...)

Pictures to follow, I was in such a rush I didn't take any beforehand.

Oh, forgot to add, since I was running late the hubs offered to help. New skills he has since acquired:
♥ greasing a pan
♥ flouring a pan
♥ learning NOT to ask me stupid questions when I'm baking

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cat Roasts a Chicken

Look Ma, I'm all domestic-like!

Not really though. I had my first experience with dead animal skin two Thanksgivings ago, when I (foolishly) agreed to brine the 20-lb turkey for my Mom's T-day supper. It was slimy. And disgusting. Do you know how hard it is to lower a 20-lb turkey slowly into a bucket of brine? My kitchen floor knows.

So, this time, I started small - 5lb little sucker. Got it at my fave orchard (yes, chickens too!) and it still had feathers on it when I got it out of the packaging. Gross. I also had to chop the neck off (after a call to Mom...we had a 'what would Julia do?' moment) Here's what it looked like:

So, I dealt with the sliminess and got through the cutting off of the neck (ew) and buttered the little sucker and stuck him in the oven.

Leroy is not impressed by my culinary skills.

And it turned out great in the end actually! I do have to work on my timing, because the potatoes were cold and I forgot all about the corn. Oh well. Yay for chicken!

Here's the recipe I used:

Roast Chicken, courtesy Julia Child via
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 cup celery leaves (not a fan of celery, so didn't use this)
Salt and black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the chicken in hot water and dry thoroughly. Season the cavity with salt and black pepper and stuff with the onion, lemon, and celery leaves. Rub the chicken lightly with softened butter and season all over with salt and pepper. Tie the drumsticks ends together and set the chicken, breast side up, in an oiled v-shaped rack or on an oiled roasting pan in the oven.

Roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees, baste the chicken, and roast for 15 minutes. Add the chopped onion and carrot to the pan, basting them and the chicken. Continue roasting the chicken until the juices run clear, for a total of 45 minutes plus an additional 7 minutes for each pound. (In other words, a 3 1/2 pound chicken would take a basic 45 minutes plus an additional 25 minutes, for a total 70 minutes or 1 hour and 10 minutes of cooking time.)

Remove the chicken and spoon the fat out of the roasting pan. Into the pan, stir in the herbs and blend in the broth and, stirring constantly, boil for several minutes on the stovetop to concentrate the flavor. Correct the seasoning and strain the sauce into a warm sauceboat. Carve the chicken and serve with the warm sauce.

oh yeah, here's the sauce and the giant mutant carrot that hubs got at the farmer's market this morning:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Listaciousness Volume Food

Inspired by a recent post on WC, I've made my own to-do list for this season.

♪Pear Cake
♪Baked Mac 'n' Cheese
♪Apple Caramel Upside-Down Cake
♪Roast Chicken (tomorrow, yay!)
♪Christmas Cookies
♪Mini Pumpkins in my new Bundt pan
♪Sugar Cookies (frosted) with Candy Corns
♪Chicken Pesto Pasta (hopefully before the end of Oct!)
♪Mexican Lasagna (ditto!)
♪Chicken Salad
♪Homemade Tomato Soup
♪Corn Chowder

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Hubs' Buffalo Wing Dip

I just recommended this dip to someone on the Nest and then didn't tell them the recipe, GUILTY. So, here it is! This is some guy who works with Hubs' version of the infamous Buffalo Wing Dip (aka Crack Dip).

Buffalo Wing Dip

2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 8oz bottle of ranch dressing (I used 10oz to make it a lil creamier)
1 package of shredded jack/mixed cheese
10oz of Hormel canned chicken (I believe I got two 9.75 oz cans and used about 15oz total to make mine a little more chicken-y)
1 5oz bottle of Frank's Red Hot Sauce

Mix cream cheese, ranch dressing, chicken, and hot sauce until thoroughly combined. Put in baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top (I add half of the shredded cheese to the mixture and put half on top, this makes it less greasy). Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. *be careful as the cheese on top will make it a little greasy/slide-y!*

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pasta with Turkey Sausage

K came over last night for dinner and brought some excellent turkey sausage and multigrain bread, so we had a pasta night. Pretty simple really, but the combination of the sausage and sauce was great!

I used ziti, and K cut the casings off of the sausage and we fried it up with a lil olive oil (cause I'm paranoid about my pans, haha). It was different, I usually use regular sausage or ground beef with my sauces, but this was flavored excellently.

The sauce was great too, if you get the chance try it! Seeds of Change, Garden Vegetable Piemonte (which is a region of Italy acc to Wikipedia, because I am clueless about Large Words in Other Languages) - it is sooooo good! The combination of the sauce and the sausage was wonderful flavor.

So, that was my easy-peasy dinner. Maybe this week, I'll actually *gasp* make something! Wait for it...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pasta Quest

So, another in a long line of 'list'-focused things for me. I have decided to embark on a season-long Pasta Quest. I will attempt to try every kind of pasta I can get my hands on, baked, cooked, whatever. There is a local Italian market that now stocks many a strange, new pasta type, and I am forever looking for new recipes in which to use said pastas.

Some may be older recipes, and things I have done before, and some may be new. But whatever they are, it's gonna be mighty tasty.

- to try one new pasta every two weeks (because, honestly, I would love mucho carbs every week, but my hips would not)
- to make these pastas using different recipes, not just 'spaghetti and meatballs'
- to blog about these dishes so that others may benefit from my pas-telligence.

Let me know if there are any odd pastas you have tried, or recipes you want me to try which aren't your everyday tomato sauce-type dishes!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Layered Mini Lasagne Casserole

Or, as I like to call it, mini lasagna.

This recipe comes from the back of the Mafalda box. Mafalda is a mini lasagna noodle basically. It's cut short though; at times I will see mini lasagna noodles in the store which are only 1-2 inches wide but still are extremely long; these are almost square.

This is the easiest lasagna I have ever made. Ok, it's the only lasagna I have ever made. I have actual lasagna noodles in my cupboard, but haven't used them. They may be used as part of my year-long pasta quest.
Anywho, these noodles only appear once in a blue moon on my grocery shelf, so I stock up like a mad Y2K shopper whenever they appear. I heart this lasagna so much. I am so disappointed that I didn't get a picture when I first made it, because Hubs then proceeded to eat the rest of it. So, picture next time!

Layered Mini Lasagne Casserole
(courtesy back of the San Giorgio box)

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (I omit the on, not a fan)
3 cups (about 26-oz jar) spaghetti sauce (make sure you get ex sauce, a reg jar is only 24 oz, we usually end up adding ex sauce!)
1 package (12 oz) San Giorgio Mafalda, uncooked
3-3/4 cups (2 lb) ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 TBS dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (I used an Italian mix)
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oven to 375ºF. In large skillet, cook meat and onion until meat browns; drain.
Stir in spaghetti sauce; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, pepper, and salt (I usually add some of the cheese into this mixture, I'm all about cheese).

In 13x9x2-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup meat sauce; evenly layer one-half pasta over sauce. Spread ricotta mixture over pasta; sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers of meat sauce and pasta. Spread remaining meat sauce over pasta, covering pasta completely; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired; cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes of until hot and bubbly.

10 servings (1 cup each).

And, for your viewing pleasure, my copy of the recipe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mmm, muffins. We were finally home together last night and decided to go all out for dinner. We had grilled salmon fillets, fresh green beans from the orchard, and a rice mix that we found at our local grocery. I think it has wild, brown, and long-grain.

So, obviously, I had to make something for dessert. Hubs isn't fond of pumpkin, but since he ate my bananas I couldn't make banana bread for him, so I pulled out a recipe I'd been wanting to try, healthy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I didn't know I had three cans of pumpkin in my cupboard so these will be made again, oh yes.

I was amazed at the amount of batter I had, but I'm not sure that my mini-muffin tin was actually 2 1/2 inches (looked more like 1 1/2) so I filled my 36-mini muffin tin and another regular tin of 12. Without further adieu, here's the recipe:

Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins
(courtesy Very Best Baking by way of lovestoeat's blog)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
(I only had one cup so I used one cup of milk choc chips to compensate)

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease thirty-six 2 1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups.
COMBINE all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Combine eggs and sugar in large bowl. Add pumpkin and oil; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until moistened. Stir in morsels. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove from pans.

Here is my plethora of muffins:

And here is my lovely oven, complete with periwinkle (yes my kitchen is periwinkle) wall, green teapot, red toaster, and myriad salt shakers. Notice the weiner dog salt shakers.