No Slivers Here

October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Bars

Filed under: Dessert, Holiday, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 1:23 pm

Oh my goodness! Why do I make myself wait until October for these delicious morsels?? I can buy pumpkin in a can in the store anytime of year! I guess eating pumpkin treats in the fall is much better and much more cozy feeling. I got this recipe from a friend last year and made these I would say about 3 different times. I brought them to work once and some where else and then a whole pan stayed at home with my husband and I! This pan of Pumpkin Bars is getting divided between my husband and I, my friend who is having foot surgery tomorrow and her husband, and my mom and Lance.

I’m such a produce snob that I find it hard to use canned food when I could just as well buy it fresh and make it myself. The recipe calls for canned pumpkin but I bought two sugar pumpkins when we were at the Pumpkin Patch 2 weekends ago. I’ve already baked one and the other is still sitting on the deck waiting. I got about 4 cups of puree out of one pumpkin so I think that I have one cup left. Hmm! I might have to use that last cup for the scone recipe my friend sent me!

Enjoy! Try not to lick the screen or drool on your keyboard. Go make these, they are so easy! The hard part is waiting for them to cool so you can frost them.

Pumpkin Bars

source: my friend Jodi

Ingredients:
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Frosting
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 c. cream cheese
2 Tb. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×13 pan.
2. On medium speed, beat eggs and sugar for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and oil.
3. On low speed, add dry ingredients.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes. Until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Frosting: Beat confectioners sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.
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October 30, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore with Crisp Polenta

Filed under: Chicken, Italian, Main Dish, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:48 am

I spotted this recipe in my Everyday Food magazine recently. I know that comes as a great surprise that I am posting a recipe from that magazine!! I love Chicken Cacciatore and this recipe sounded great to me. I thought that the olives and mushrooms would give it a different flavor would add a new element.

I enjoyed this recipe but I don’t think that my husband enjoyed it. I made the mushroom pieces large enough so that he could avoid them/pick them out! I think if I do make it again I might shred the chicken before serving it.

This was our first time trying Polenta. I thought it was very good and I’m excited to try it again in other recipes. When I was at the grocery store I had the polenta in my cart and when I was in the meat department I had to ask the butcher a question about some chicken. He saw the polenta and asked me if it was good. I had to tell him that I hadn’t tried it but I would let him know. So now the butcher and I are friends! Ahh! I’m one of those people who made friends with their butcher.

Chicken Cacciatore with Crisp Polenta

source: Everyday Food; Martha Stewart

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds total)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice, broken up with a spoon
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, halved
  • 1 tube (16 ounces) plain prepared polenta, sliced into 12 rounds

Directions

  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, sear chicken, meaty side down, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a plate (chicken will cook more in step 2).
  2. Add mushrooms to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes (with their juice), wine, onions, garlic, olives, and chicken (with any juices). Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Season stew with salt and pepper.
  3. While stew is cooking, heat broiler. On a rimmed baking sheet, brush both sides of polenta slices with remaining oil; season with salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve chicken cacciatore over polenta.

Golden Potato Leek Soup with Cheese Toasts

Filed under: Bread, Main Dish, Soup, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:22 am

I love this soup and to me it says Fall. I went to the Farmer’s Market in town for it’s last weekend until it starts again in May. It was so relaxing to stroll around the market with my Caramel Apple Cider, thank you Starbucks, on a sunny crisp afternoon. So many of the vendors were having great specials on their fruits and vegetables. I think it was because of all the produce they had that they needed to get rid of quick. One farmer had bunches of leeks that were $2 so I had to take advantage. I ended up buying 2 bunches at that price. I’m giving one to my mom in a few days.

I love the simplicity of this recipe as well as how quick the soup is ready as opposed to slaving away in the kitchen all day over the stove! This is the second time I have made this recipe. I did make a few changes in the recipe but it still turned out fine. I used red potatoes and dried Thyme instead of sprigs of it. I also used chicken stock instead of vegetable broth and I used about 2 cans and a half instead of just 2 cans. This recipe also freezes well too.

I found this recipe at my favorite website, Cooking Light. I really need to get a subscription of my own to the magazine instead of waiting for my mom to give me her leftovers!! Hint hint!! Nudge Nudge!!

Enjoy!

Golden Potato-Leek Soup with Cheddar Toasts

source: Cooking Light

Yield

8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup soup and 1 toast)

Ingredients

  • Soup:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 medium)
  • 6 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • Cheddar Toasts:
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut sourdough French bread baguette
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Remaining Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Thyme sprigs (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare soup, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally (do not brown).

Add potatoes, water, salt, broth, and 2 thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

To prepare cheddar toasts, place baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 7 minutes or until toasted. Turn slices over; coat with cooking spray, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese over each slice. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle evenly with red pepper.

Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprigs. Partially mash potatoes with a potato masher; stir in cream. Sprinkle with black pepper. Serve with cheddar toasts. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

October 28, 2008

Dinner Divas: Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Filed under: Dessert, Dinner Divas, Fruit — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:57 pm

It’s that time again! Dinner Diva recipe time is here. This months recipe was chosen by Julie at Jewels in the Kitchen. Go check out her blog! When I saw the choices for this month I was excited to see something that I could bring to the dinner party that Nate and I were going to this past weekend. This was my first cheesecake and I must say it was a great first cheesecake to try out. I loved it and it was quite well received.

The only minor snafu that I had with the recipe was how to decide if the center was done. Since I have never made a cheesecake before I didn’t have much to go on. I’ve eaten cheesecake but I was still stumped!! So I did what anyone does when they have a cooking/baking question. I called my mom!! Sadly, she didn’t know how to tell if the center was done either but she thought it would be similar to a pumpkin pie so she suggested putting a knife in the center and seeing if it comes out clean. I did that a few times with no success after giving the cheesecake several more minutes. So my next idea was to consult the all know Internet!! Several sites said to use the knife method but one said to insert a thermometer and the temperature should reach 160 to 165 degrees. Eureka! That worked!

I pretty much followed the recipe to a T with the exception of the way it instructs you to decorate the top of the cheesecake with the pecans. I can’t wait to make this recipe again! These pictures were taken after the party because I forgot my camera. I actually took the pictures a few days later and the cake still tastes great. I confess that I had to clean up the pan a bit but it was worth it!!

Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

source: Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 12 pecan halves
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Reserve 3/4 cup of apple pie filling and set aside.
  2. Spoon remaining pie filling into crust. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth then add eggs and mix well. Pour over apple filling in crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes, or until center is set. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  4. Mix reserved apple filling and caramel topping in a small saucepan. Heat for about 1 minute. Arrange apple slices around outside edge of cheesecake. Spread caramel sauce evenly over. Decorate with pecan halves around edge. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Waffles

Filed under: Bread, Breakfast, Holiday, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:39 pm

I have about 3 cups of pumpkin puree still waiting in the refrigerator and I was in the mood for waffles this weekend. I figured that Pumpkin Waffles would be a great idea. I searched for Pumpkin Waffles online and came up a bit overwhelmed, so I decided to go to what has become my go to site, Cooking Light. These waffles smelled and tasted delicious but were a bit time consuming to cook. I read the comments made by others about the recipe after I made the waffles and really should have done that first. A lot of people mentioned that they had difficulty with these waffles when using their Belgian Waffle maker. I had the same problem. At first I decide to not follow the part of the recipe that says to keep the waffles in the iron until it stops steaming, which is about 5-7 minutes. For the first waffle I just opened the iron when the light switched off and the waffle came apart into two pieces, top and bottom. That’s when I decided that following the directions was a good idea!! They come out a bit brown but still taste great and were nice and soft! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Waffles

source: Cooking Light

Yield

8 waffles (serving size: 2 waffles)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (milk through egg) in a bowl, and add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist.

Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray; preheat. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter per waffle onto hot waffle iron, spreading the batter to the edges. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter.

I’m a winner!

Filed under: Dessert, Fruit, Scooper Hero — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:22 pm

This summer when I started this blog I saw a lot of people writing that they were Scooper Hero’s for Blake Makes, a food blog. Basically Blake gets company’s to give him a sampling of their products. In return he puts up a contest on his blog and gives the items away to a certain number of bloggers. Those bloggers in return review the product and also put a link in their blog to the product’s website. So I had to become a Scooper Hero when I found out that he gives away free awesome products!

The first give-away that I won was silicone letter and number molds. I won the number molds. I was so excited and getting anything for free is fabulous! The molds came from this great website called The Spoon Sisters. It is full of super fun products. I definitely could spend a pretty penny here!

Nate and I went to a Harvest Party this weekend so I decided to use my new fabulous molds for Jell-O Jigglers. The first batch of Jell-O didn’t turn out so well, so I will spare you those pictures but the second time around I took the advice of numerous websites and lightly sprayed the mold with cooking oil. The numbers came out great and still looked like numbers. The Spoon Sisters website advises flash freezing the Jell-O for 15 minutes and then putting the tray in the refrigerator to completely harden the shapes. This will allow the numbers/letters to come out of the mold easily. I also found that the molds probably hold about 1 cup of liquid. I used the rest to cut out Halloween inspired shapes such as Frankenstein heads and pumpkins. Here is a recipe for some Halloween shaped Jell-O Jigglers.

October 23, 2008

Acorn Squash

Filed under: Side Dishes, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:49 am

Ahh squash! I was absolutely stuffed when I neared the end of my meal but I’m silly and made myself power through and finish the last of my squash! I love squash. I told my husband that I wasn’t going to finish the pork chop on my plate because I can have that anytime of year but squash only comes around for a few months! I grew up having squash prepared this way. My mom and grandma would make it in the microwave instead of the oven. I’ve attempted to make it in the microwave several times but it never turns out quite right, probably because I haven’t cooked it long enough.

I modeled tonights recipe after what my mom makes and this recipe. My changes are below in red. Enjoy!!

Classic Baked Acorn Squash Recipe

source: My mom and this recipe

1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar ( I filled each squash half with brown sugar)
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup (I omitted)
2 slices bacon
Dash of Salt

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Using a strong chef’s knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up.

3 Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. I place a slice of bacon on top of the tablespoon of butter then I fill each half with brown sugar.

4 Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.

Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.

Pumpkin Bread

Filed under: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Holiday, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:25 am

This past weekend my husband and I went to the Pumpkin Patch in my hometown, while we were visiting my mom. I love going to farms in the valley. In fact I love being in the farm country in general. I love it when the weather is nice and sunny, it doesn’t need to be warm just sunny. Here a few pictures from the pumpkin patch and some of our treasures. Remember how I said that I love squash, well here it is in all it’s glory! There are many more posts about squash were this one came from!!

Nate’s artistic shot!

This looks exactly like a classic pumpkin patch.

Some of the decorative gourds. The glitter pumpkins were made by me. I used funkins.

The sugar pumpkins who were sacrificed for this dish!!

PUMPKIN BREAD

source: Joy of Cooking

One 9 x 5-inch loaf
This loaf can be made with any cooked mashed squash, yams, or sweet potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Whisk together:
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine in a small bowl:
1⁄3 cup water or milk
1⁄2 teaspoon vanill
a
Beat in a large bowl until fluffy:
6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) butter, softened, or 1⁄3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1⁄3 cups sugar or 1 cup sugar plus 1⁄ 3 cup packed brown sugar
Beat in one at a time:
2 large eggs
Add and beat on low speed just until blended:
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree
Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in:
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1⁄3 cup raisins or chopped dates

Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

October 22, 2008

Chicken and Cashew Stir-Fry

Filed under: Chicken, Chinese, Main Dish, Vegetables — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 10:24 am

I haven’t blogged for a few days. I promise I have been cooking and baking but it just hasn’t been that exciting or they are recipes that you’ve already seen on here.

I found this recipe in one of my old Gourmet magazines when I was going through and ripping out recipes. This one caught my eye and I decided to make it sooner rather than later. I was talking with my husband tonight about how I tend to make a lot of Asian inspired meals. I think that is because the ingredients are so fresh yet so simple and the recipes are usually relatively fast after the preparation. I also love that most of the recipes pair so nicely with rice which is also easy to prepare. On to the recipe!

Ingredients

1 bunch scallions
1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup salted roasted whole cashews

Preparation

Chop scallions, separating white and green parts. Pat chicken dry, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces and toss with salt and pepper. Heat a wok or 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat, then stir-fry chicken until golden in places and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add bell pepper, garlic, ginger, red-pepper flakes, and scallion whites to wok and stir-fry until peppers are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar, then stir into vegetables in wok. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cashews, scallion greens, and chicken along with any juices accumulated on plate.

October 15, 2008

Tilapia with Arugula, Capers and Tomatoes

Filed under: Fish, Main Dish — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 12:12 pm

I found this recipe in my recent issue of Everyday Food. It was listed as a recipe for one person but I knew it would be easy to double it. I loved how fast the fish cooked. I made one changed. I didn’t use arugula but instead used spinach. I also didn’t steam the spinach because my husband won’t/doesn’t eat steamed leafy greens. I think if I make this again I will serve it with another side dish. We were both left feeling like we needed more to eat. I was thinking of making potatoes but I quickly saw how fast the fish was going to cook. Next time I will put it with some rice or another starch.

I tried to find this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website and couldn’t find it but after Googling it I found it on another website and the author doubled it already.

Enjoy!

Tilapia with Arugula, Capers and Tomatoes

source: Everyday Food but found here

Ingredients

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes

*coarse salt & ground pepper

*4 bunches arugula (about 6 cups)

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

*2 tsbp capers, rinsed and drained

Instructions

1. In a medium nonstick skillet, bring 1/4 cup water to a boil. Add tomatoes and red-pepper flakes; top with tilapia, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook 3 minutes. Add arugula. Cover, and cook until tilapia flakes easily with a fork, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer tilapia and vegetables to a plate (reserve skillet).

2. Make sauce: off heat, add butter, lemon juice, and capers to skillet; swirl until butter has melted. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Serve tilapia over arugula and tomatoes; drizzle with sauce.

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