Cajun Turkey Burger Skillet

Growing up, I loved Hamburger Helper.  I know, I know, it isn’t healthy and it is full of nasty processed stuff, but it is pretty darn good.

However, I don’t know if I have outgrown Hamburger Helper or it just isn’t that good when you try to dress it up, because this dish didn’t really do it for me.

Zack and I both agree that it was okay, but not good enough to have again.

Cajun Turkey Burger Skillet

– 1 lb lean ground turkey

– 1 small red bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)

– 2 t cajun seasoning

– 2 c hot water

– 1 c milk

– 1 box Hamburger Helper cheeseburger macaroni

– 1 c shredded cheese

In a 10-in nonstick skillet, cook turkey, bell pepper and Cajun seasoning over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until turkey is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in hot water, milk and contents of uncooked pasta and sauce mix pouches (from Hamburger Helper box).  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 13-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender.  Sprinkle with cheese and allow to melt before serving.

Sweet Soy Glazed Chicken & Onions

As everyone can definitely tell, I’m always looking for new ways to try out chicken.  Chicken is so versatile and delicious almost any way it is prepared.

This was great.  The recipe definitely only serves two, but it could easily be doubled or even tripled if need be.

Zack hates ginger, so he is always apprehensive when a recipe calls for it, but you could not taste it in this dish.  It meshed so well with the rest of the flavors.

Sweet Soy Glazed Chicken & Onions

Serves 2.

– 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

– 1/2 an onion, sliced thinly

– 1 T cornstarch

– 1 T water

– 1/3 c soy sauce

– 1/3 c sugar

– 1/4 c cider vinegar

– 1/2 t garlic powder

– 1/2 t ground ginger

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking pan and add the cut up chicken and sliced onions.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and water until completely smooth.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until combined, bring to a simmer, and allow to cook until thickened, about 8 minutes.  Make sure you keep stirring everything so it doesn’t burn while it cooks.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to make sure everything is well coated.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until everything is cooked through.

Baked Lobster Tails

Zack and I love seafood – especially lobster, crab, and shrimp.  The only problem is the price.  Lobster is incredibly expensive (to us anyway) so we rarely ever have it.

We wanted to have a special dinner for New Years though and went to our health food grocery store and lobster was on sale!  We knew we had to get it.

I had never made it before and was worried that I would mess it up and ruin our special dinner (and waste a ton of money).

Luckily, this recipe was super easy and they turned out perfect!  If you like lobster, I highly recommend trying this recipe.  It’s relatively healthy and absolutely delicious!

Our yummy New Years Dinner: lobster tails, green beans and baked hush puppies.  Yum!

Baked Lobster Tails

– 4 lobster tails (8-10 oz each)

– 1 c water

– 1 T minced fresh parsley

– 1/8 t salt

– dash pepper

– 1 T butter, melted

– 2 T lemon juice

– lemon wedges and additional melted butter, optional

Split lobster tails in half lengthwise.  With cut side up and using scissors, cut along the edge of shell to loosen the cartilage covering the tail meat from the shell; remove and discard cartilage.

Pour water into a 13×9 baking dish; place the lobster tails in dish.  Combine the parsley, salt and pepper; sprinkle over lobster.  Drizzle with butter and lemon juice

Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until meat is firm and opaque.  Serve with lemon wedges and melted butter, if desired.

Breaded Chicken Breasts with Light Raspberry & Walnut Pan Sauce

In my French class in high school, we would take an annual field trip to a French restaurant where we were served a multiple course meal.  It was always a really fun time and the food was AH-MAZING.

One year, I got this chicken with this red sauce on it that I had never seen since then.  I couldn’t even really remember the details of it.

When I saw the recipe for this chicken, I knew it was it.  I was so excited!  I anxiously anticipated trying it (and I had to coax Zack into it, because he was pretty apprehensive about the raspberry-walnut pairing).

We finally got to try it one night and it was exactly like I had hoped!  It was like I was back in high school at the French restaurant.  Zack really liked it, surprisingly.

I also made some cheese sticks with it, but I will talk about those in another post.

Don’t you love recipes that make you reminisce on wonderful past experiences?  Feel free to share any experiences of the like 🙂

Breaded Chicken Breasts with Light Raspberry & Walnut Pan Sauce

– 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick

– 1 c buttermilk

– 1/3 c all purpose flor

– 1 1/4 t salt

– 1/4 t cayenne pepper

– shake of black pepper

– 1 1/4 c bread crumbs

– 1/2 c all purpose flour

– 2 T olive oil

– 2 T butter

– 1 c light raspberry-walnut vinaigrette

– 1 oz cream cheese, room temperature

– 3 T fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  In a bowl, mix milk, 1/3 cup flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.  Place bread crumbs and 1/2 c flour in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate, and stir to combine.  Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip into mixture, letting excess liquid drip off.  Dredge both sides in bread crumb-flour mixture and place on a platter.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

As you bread the chicken, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Place two chicken cutlets in the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until the underside is golden brown.  Flip and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.  Remove to an ovenproof platter and place in oven to keep warm.  Add remaining olive oil and butter to skillet and cook remaining chicken pieces.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add vinaigrette to skillet and let cook until reduced to a glaze, about 30-45 seconds.  Remove from heat and add cream cheese, stirring with a whisk to blend into sauce.  Stir in parsley.  To serve, divide sauce between four servings, pouring over chicken pieces.

 

Spinach Lasagna

I feel like I should preface this post by saying Zack and I do not like cooked spinach.  Give it to us raw in a salad?  That sounds delicious.  Cook it into any food, especially one of our favorite Italian dishes, lasagna?  NO WAY, no how.

BUT – one day Demeter (see Birthday Cake) and I went to the dining hall on our college’s campus for dinner.  They had spinach ravioli.  Demeter was getting some, so I decided to be brave and get a little, too.  It was incredible.  Not goopy and gross like all other cooked spinach that I’ve ever had.  The flavor actually complimented the Italian flavors really well.

As fate would have it, the next day I saw a recipe for spinach lasagna.  After some gentle coaxing, I got Zack to agree to try it if I made it (I promised him I would make him a grilled ham and cheese sandwich if he didn’t like it).  It was even better than the ravioli! Even Zack liked it! Although, he did say that he would like it even more if I used slightly less spinach next time.  10 ounces is kind of a lot for such a small thing of lasagna.

It should also be cooked a bit longer than 30 minutes, because the cheese wasn’t completely melted after 30 minutes.

I wish I had written down the name of the sauce that I used, because it was amazing.  It only had 4 ingredients and was completely natural.  I got it at TJ Maxx, a type of discount store, so I may never see it again.  😦 Since it only had 4 ingredients, the garlic was kind of overpowering, but not going to lie, I kind of loved it.

Looking at these pictures really makes me want another big plate of this right now.  I like it as much as regular lasagna which is saying a whole heck of a lot!

Today I am taking a cooking class with my mom called “Edible Christmas Gifts” and I cannot wait!  I will let everyone know how it goes.

Spinach Lasagna

– 4 oz cream cheese

– 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

– 1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, divided

– 2 c spaghetti sauce

– ~10 lasagna noodles, cooked

– 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.  Make a layer of noodles on the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish.  Spread spinach mixture on top of noodles.  Layer another layer of noodles on top and cover with spaghetti sauce and 1/2 c mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Creole Turkey Wraps

We, like probably every other Americans, had an abundance of turkey left over after our Thanksgiving dinner.  I knew we didn’t want to eat it in the exact same way again today, so I searched through my recipe binder looking for a sauce to make for it.

First I was going to make Creole Turkey Sandwiches, but I had to run in the grocery store to get some cake baking supplies and I saw Ole Extreme Wellness High Fiber Low Carb Tortillas sitting on a shelf beckoning to me.  I had never had them before, but they looked delicious and only had 71 calories per tortilla.  I bought a bag and brought them home to use for dinner.

The sauce was really yummy and the wraps were AMAZING.  I ate two turkey wraps without even feeling guilty, because hey, each tortilla only had 71 calories!

I highly recommend these meal and the tortillas.  I will definitely be buying them again.

Creole Turkey Wraps

– turkey (we used probably 3 cups of shredded leftover turkey)

– 1 large onion, thinly sliced

– 1/4 c chopped green pepper

– 1/2 c ketchup

– 1/2 c water

– 1 T Worcestershire sauce

– 1/2 t salt

– dash pepper

– 4 Ole Extreme Wellness High Fiber Low Carb Tortillas

In saucepan, saute onion and green pepper until tender.  I just sauted them in a pan sprayed with cooking spray.  You could also saute them in butter or oil.  Stir in ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  When thoroughly combined, add in turkey.  Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Place on tortillas and wrap up.  For an extra spice kick, put some BBQ sauce on them.

More Thanksgiving Desserts

I work for my parents at a place called Jenfab Inc.  (Yes, it is named after me and yes, my parents are still business partners even though they’re divorced).  It’s a really fun job.  I work in the office part-time doing odds and ends and help out the other office workers.

Every year Jenfab has a Thanksgiving dinner for employees.  It’s always catered, but this year I decided to make a cake and take it to the dinner.  It was a huge success!  The entire thing was gobbled up really quickly.  Plus, I got to practice my cake decorating skills which always makes me happy.

I think it turned out rather cute.

Fudge Cake

– 1/2 c shortening

– 1 1/2 c sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla

– 1/2 c + 1 T water

– 2/3 c cocoa

– 1 3/4 c AP flour

– 1 t baking soda

– 1 t baking powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 c sour milk (1 c milk + 1 T vinegar)

Grease bottoms and sides of 2 9-inch layer pans.  Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; blend in vanilla.  Stir hot water into cocoa to form a smooth paste; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture.  Pour batter into pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until take tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely.  Frost with homemade frosting.

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

– 1/2 c butter, room temperature

– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

– 1/2 c baking cocoa (here’s where I mucked with the recipe a little.  I didn’t have 1/2 c of baking cocoa left, so I filled the 1/2 cup measuring cup about 3/4 full and then filled it the rest of the way with hot cocoa mix.  It turned out perfect.)

– 1 t vanilla

– 4 c powdered sugar

Place butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.  Beat until combined – about 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides and add cocoa and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Add powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Beat for an additional couple of minutes.  The texture becomes lighter if you beat for a few minutes.

~~~~

Every year my mom’s side of the family has Thanksgiving dinner together on Thanksgiving day.  The location varies, but this year it was at my Granny’s house. I volunteered to bring desserts…shocking. 

I decided on these desserts for a couple of reasons: 1) every Thanksgiving dinner needs a pecan dessert and an apple dessert.  2) no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a pie of some sort.  3) I recently discovered my uncle has a peanut butter obsession just like my mom and I. 

The entire peanut butter dessert was scarfed down.  It.Was.Amazing.  I ate so much of it that everyone thought I was going to be sick. 

My aunt said, “you should do this for a living…these are amazing!”  If only I could…

The highlight of everything occurred after the dinner, though.  My granny asked me for the recipe for my pecan squares.  I almost fell in the floor.  My granny is the stereotypical perfect-baking-everyone-asks-HER-for-recipes type granny.  Her asking me for a recipe was the ultimate compliment. 

I love the holidays!

Pecan Squares

– 2 c AP flour

– 2/3 c confectioners sugar

– 1 1/3 plus 1 T butter, divided

– 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 1/2 c honey

– 3 T whipping cream

– 3 1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped

Sift together flour and powdered sugar.  Cut into 3/4 cup softened butter using a pastry blender or fork, just until mix resembles coarse crumbs meal.  Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2″ up sides of lightly greased 13×9 baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.  Cool.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 c butter and whipping cream to a boil.  Stir in pecans and pour into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into 2-inch squares.

Apple Crumb Pie

Pastry:

1 c AP flour

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/3 c plus 1 T shortening

– 2-3 T cold water

Mix flour and salt in medium bowl, cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until particles are size of small peas.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 T at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1-2 t more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a bowl.  Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface.  If desired, wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to firm up shortening slightly, which makes the baked pastry more flaky and lets the water absorb evenly throughout the dough.  If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside down pie plate.  Fold pastry into fourths and place in pie plate.  Unfold pastry and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.

Pie:

3 lbs granny smith apples

– 2/3 c light brown sugar

– 2 T flour

– 1 t cinnamon

– 1/2 t ground nutmeg

– crumb topping:

  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c softened butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine apples (pared, cored, and thinly sliced) with sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Place in prepared pastry shell, mounding in center.

Prepare crumb topping.  In a small bowl, combine crumb ingredients and blend with fingertips until crumbs are formed.  Sprinkle evenly over apples.

Place pie in lower third of the oven.  Bake 50-60 minutes.  Cool.  If desired, dust with confectioners sugar.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Trifle

Prep: 10 minutes.  Total: 2 hr 50 min.  Makes 12 servings.

– 1 pouch Betty Crocker peanut butter chip cookie mix

– 1/3 c vegetable oil

– 1 T water

– 1 egg

– 1/2 c butter

– 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 1/2 c creamy peanut butter

– 1 1/2 c whipping (heavy) cream

– 4 T chocolate syrup

– 2 T chocolate covered peanuts

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Makes cookies as directed on pouch, using oil, water, and egg. Bake and cool as directed.  Cut each cookie into fourths.

Melt butter and brown sugar in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth.  Stir in peanut butter until well blended.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.

Place half of the cookie pieces in bottom of 2-quart glass bowl.  Drizzle cookies with chocolate syrup.  Spoon half of peanut butter mixture over cookies.  Top with remaining cookies, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter mixture.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 12 hours.  Sprinkle with peanuts.

 

Our First Thanksgiving Dinner Party

AAHHH… That’s my sigh of relief and happiness.  Our dinner party couldn’t have gone any better.  I am so pleased.  My dad, mom, stepdad, Zack’s parents, two brothers and his brother, Caleb’s, girlfriend all came!

We have tons of leftovers, though.  I sent two whole trays of food home with my dad.  Next year, I won’t double the recipes like I did this time.

Everyone said everything was really good.  I’m so thankful for both of our families and for the fact that everyone gets along so that we can have dinners like this.

I spent all of today and yesterday cooking.  I am exhausted.  It feels so good to be sitting on my couch with my Zack doing nothing right now.

I’m just going to share all of the recipes from today in this post.  I hope you enjoy.

Be thankful for your families and for the time you get to spend with them.  I know I am.

Appetizer Course:

Here’s our appetizer table:


No Bones Chicken Wing Dip

Prep: 15 minutes

– 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 2 c (16 oz) sour cream

– 1 c ranch dressing

– 1/2 c buffalo wing sauce

– 2 1/2 c shredded cooked chicken

– 1 block (8 oz) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

– baby carrots, celery ribs, and crackers

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, and buffalo wing sauce until blended.  Stir in chicken and Monterey jack cheese.

Transfer mixture to a greased 2-qt baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve dip warm with baby carrots, celery, and crackers.

Yield 6 1/2 cups.

Main Course:

Our main table.  We used the oreo turkeys and little name cards as place cards.  I think it turned out adorable.


Roast Turkey

– 1 large turkey, neck and giblets removed

– 1/2 c butter, melted

– 2 large onions, peeled and chopped

– 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

– 4 stalks celery, chopped

– 2 sprigs fresh thyme

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 c dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly rinse turkey.

Brush turkey with melted butter.  Place breast side up on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan.  I cooked mine in an oven bag in a roasting pan.  Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf.  Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan (in the bag for me) and cover with white wine.

Roast uncovered 3 1/2 – 4 hours in preheated oven until internal temperature of thigh reaches 180 degree.  Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

 Side Dishes:


Butterflake Rolls

1 t yeast

– 3/4 c very warm water

– 1/4 c sugar

– 1 egg

– 2 egg yolks

– 3/4 t salt

– 1/2 c buttermilk

– 2 1/2 – 3 c AP flour

– 1 stick butter, softened

Prepare a muffin tin for baking by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray, or tossing a small pat of butter into bottom of each cup.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix yeast in 1/4 c warm water until dissolved.  Add the sugar.  Whisk in the salt and eggs.  Beat in milk and remaining water until well mixed.

Use a wooden spoon to stir in about 2 1/2 cups of flour, adding more (up to 3 cups) as necessary to make a soft dough.  You want to be able to knead the dough and not have it stick to your fingers, but still have the dough be soft and pillowy.  Less is definitely more here.

Knead dough a few times.  Roll out dough to 1/2″ thickness and spread with a thin layer of butter (it should be about 2 tablespoons).  Fold dough in half, then spread with butter.  Repeat this 4 more times.

Once you’ve finished buttering, roll into 1/2″ thickness and cut dough into 1×1 inch squares.  Place 3-4 squares in each non-stick sprayed muffin tin.  Let rise about 45-60 minutes or until well-risen.

Bake in middle rack at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Stuffed Ham & Provolone Rolls

– 2 c herb flavored stuffing cubes

– 1/2 c boiling water

– 2 T + 2 t butter, divided

– 8 slices deli ham

– 8 slices provolone cheese

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 T water

– 1/2 c dry bread crumbs

Combine stuffing, boiling water and 2 T butter.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Top each ham slice with a cheese slice.  Spoon 1/4 c stuffing mixture over center of cheese; roll up and secure with a toothpick.  Whisk eggs and water together.  Roll ham rolls in egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs.  In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ham rolls in remaining butter for 4-5 minutes, or until golden, turning only once.  Discard toothpicks before serving.

Yield: 8 rolls

Turkey Gravy

Prep: 10 min.  Cook: 7 min.

– 3 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth

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

– 1 t poultry seasoning

– 1/2 t black pepper

– 1/4 t garlic powder

– 1 c milk

– 1/3 + 2 T AP flour

– 2 T corn starch

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir in soup and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, and garlic powder.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer.

Warm the milk in the microwave and whisk in the flour and cornstarch with a fork until there are no lumps.  Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until thickened.  Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.


Stuffing

– 4 T butter

– 1 medium onion, chopped

– 3 celery stalks, diced

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 t ground sage

– 1 t dry thyme

– 10 c dried unseasoned bread cubes

– 1 1/2 c chicken broth

– 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a large pan.  Saute onions, celery, salt, sage, and thyme for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Turn off heat.  Add bread cubes and gently stir them into the onion mixture.  Slowly pour chicken broth over the bread cubes folding everything so the bread cubes do not break apart too much.  In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and add it to the stuffing mix.  Continue to fold everything until the egg is incorporated.  Scoop uncooked stuffing into a medium casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until nice and toasty on top.

 

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

– 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

– 3/4 c evaporated milk

– 1/4 c butter

– 1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with water; bring to a boil.  Cook over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes or until tender; drain.

Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter.  Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth.  Stir in cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.



Sweet Potato Souffle

– 6 c mashed sweet potatoes

– 2 c sugar

– 1 t salt

– 4 eggs

– 2/3 c stick butter, softened

– 2/3 c milk

2 t vanilla

Combine with mixer and pour into greased casserole dish.

– 2 c brown sugar

– 1 c flour

– 2 c chopped pecans

– 1 stick melted butter

Mix well and distribute over potatoes.  Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

 Deviled Eggs

See Deviled Eggs for recipe.

Green Beans

Just take some green beans, I used about 3 lbs here and then add a bouillon cube (1 per lb).  Bring to a boil then simmer.  The longer you let it simmer, the better they are.

Desserts:


Pecan Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 50 minutes.

– Pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2/3 c sugar

– 1/3 c butter

– 1 c corn syrup

– 1/2 t salt

– 3 large eggs

– 1 c pecan halves broken halves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pastry lined pie plate.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set.

 


Colossal Caramel Apple Trifle (COLOSSAL = key word)

Prep: 40 minutes

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 6 c cold milk

– 3 package (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix

– 1 t apple pie spice

– 1 jar ( 12 1/4 oz) caramel ice cream topping

– 1 1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted

– 2 cans (21 oz each) apple pie filling

– 2 cartons (16 oz each) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions using 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding mixes and apple pie spice for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.

Cut one cake layer if necessary to fit evenly in an 8-quart punch bowl.  Poke holes in cake with a long wooden skewer.  Gradually pour a third of the caramel topping over the cake.  Sprinkle with 1/2 c pecans and spread with half of the pudding mixture.

Spoon one can of pie filling over pudding; spread with 1 carton of whipped topping.  Top with remaining cake and repeat layers.  Drizzle with remaining caramel topping and sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Refrigerate until serving.


Pumpkin Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 1 hr 10 minutes.  Cool 2 hours.

– pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2 large eggs

– 1/2 c sugar

– 1 t ground cinnamon

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/2 t ground ginger

– 1/8 t ground cloves

– 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin

– 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

– whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Make pastry for unbaked one pie crust; before adding filling, partially bake pastry (carefully line pastry with double thickness of aluminum foil, gently pressing to bottom and sides of pastry. Let foil extend over edge to prevent excess browning.  Bake 10 minutes; carefully remove foil and bake 2-4 minutes longer or just until pastry begins to brown and has become set.  If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon..

Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater.  Beat in remaining ingredients except whipped cream.

Cover edge of pie crust with 2-3 inch of aluminum foil to prevent excess browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.  To prevent spilling filling, place pie plate on oven rack.  Pour filling into hot pie crust.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack 2 hours.  Serve with whipped cream.  After cooling, pie can remain at room temperature up to an additional 4 hours, then should be recovered and refrigerated.


Oreo Turkeys

– Double Stuff Oreo Cookies

– Candy Corn

– Whoppers

– Peanut Butter Cups

– Chocolate Frosting

– Writing icing (any color) for eyes

Grab a cookie and put some chocolate icing in the edge.  Stick some candy corn in.  The icing makes it stick better.  It’s easier if you do all the cookies through this step.

Next, secure the opposite end of those cookies to a bottom cookie with a gob of icing.  If they are not sturdy, you can set them against the wall until the icing hardens a little.

While they are drying, unwrap the peanut butter cups.  Take a sharp knife and cut a sliver off of one end.  It helps to gently cut in a sawing motion so you don’t break the peanut butter cup.  Cut from the bottom.

Place a gob of icing on the peanut butter cup and place it on the bottom cookie.

Glue a whopper on top of the peanut butter cup with icing.  I put frosting on the side of the whopper touching the peanut butter cup and the cookie.

Use another gob of icing and glue on the white tip of a candy corn for a beak.  Put two dots of your writing icing for eyes.


Hot Mulled Cider

Float a few apple slices and some cinnamon sticks in the drink as it warms.

– 2 qt apple cider

– 1 orange, quartered

– 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice

– 2 (4-in) cinnamon sticks

– 6 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low 2-4 hours.  Remove orange sections and spices before serving.

 

Cheesy Chicken Casserole

This is the ultimate comfort food.  It’s crunchy, cheesy, chicken-y, buttery…just overall delicious.  This is another recipe that has been handed down from my mom.  She used to make it for me all the time when I was little.

Zack really likes it, too, so it has become a staple in our household.

This is my first post in a few days.  I’ve been really busy getting everything ready for Thanksgiving.  I made desserts to take to my granny’s dinner on Thanksgiving day.  Now I am preparing for my first ever hosting of a Thanksgiving Dinner.  My parents, stepdad, Zack’s parents, brothers, and grandma are all coming.  I am really excited and really nervous at the same time.  (Yep, I’m cooking the entire traditional spread myself).  The dinner is Sunday, so be expecting a post about it soon after that.

Enjoy this recipe, it’s one of my favorites! 🙂

Cheesy Chicken Casserole

– 1 can (10 1/4 oz) cream of chicken soup

– 1/2 stack Ritz (or other buttery cracker) crackers, crushed

– 1/2 cup cheddar cheese

– 1/4 cup mayonnaise

– 1/2 stick butter, melted

– 2 cups boneless chicken breast, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces (or use canned)

Place chicken in a medium casserole dish.  Mix soup and mayonnaise and spread over chicken.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Melt butter and combine with crushed crackers.  Place on top of cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Rosemary Chicken and Rice Dinner

One of my favorite summer dinners is grilled rosemary chicken.  Since grilling season is taking a back seat, I needed a new way to enjoy this delectable chicken.

I had the idea to cook it in a cast iron skillet, because let’s face it, everything is great cooked in cast iron.

I had some mushrooms left over from a previous dinner, so I threw those into the marinade, too.

Rice was an obvious choice for a quick and easy side dish.

It turned out great.  Just as delicious, in a different way, as the grilled variety.  Plus, the mushrooms were easily some of the best ones I’ve ever had.  The marinade made them incredible.

Rosemary Chicken & Rice Dinner

– 1/3 c red wine vinegar

– 1/3 c olive oil

– 1 t garlic powder

– 1 t rosemary leaves

– 1 t salt

– 1 t Dijon mustard

– 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces

– 1 c brown rice, cooked

– 1 c mushrooms

Whisk together first six ingredients in a small bowl.  Place chicken and mushrooms into gallon size Ziploc bag and pour marinade over it.  Allow to sit 2-24 hours (longer the better).

When ready to make, heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken and mushrooms and a small amount of the marinade.  Allow to cook, tossing occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve over cooked rice.

Serves 2.