Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin cookies

I bought 2 more pie pumpkins from the Farmers Market so I have a lot of pumpkin puree to use up!  Who doesn't like cookies:)  So good & so easy!

Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 C molasses   ~ I didn't have & they still came out awesome!
1 egg
1 C pumpkin puree ~ homemade or canned
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2  tsp nutmeg
1/2 C milk *can use buttermilk*
sifted confectioners sugar, for dusting

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in molasses and egg.  Stir in the pumpkin puree.  In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir flour mixture into the creamed mixture along with the milk.  Blend thoroughly but do not over beat.  Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes, until set. Cool for a minute - remove to racks and continue to cool.  Dust cookies with confectioners sugar.  This will make about 3 dozen cookies.

Cream of Celery Soup

This is one of my favorite "cream" soups to cook with!!  It adds so much flavor to chicken:)  You can change it up as well and just add a different "main ingredient"....such as mushrooms for Cream of Mushroom Soup....cooked chicken - asparagus....I think you get the picture.  Very easy soup to make!

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C small onion, diced
1/2 C main ingredient, diced
1/4 C unsalted butter
1/4 C flour
1 C milk
3/4 C broth or stock ~ I used veggie broth

**If you would happen to make Cream of Chicken you could just use chicken stock ~ mushroom soup maybe veggie stock**

Saute garlic, onion and main ingredient and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat.
Whisk in flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add milk & broth. Add sauteed garlic, onion and main ingredient. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer *stirring regularly* until it reaches desired consistency (about 10-15 minutes).  Season to taste with salt & pepper. Use as you would use a condensed soup from the grocery store.  This can be refrigerated up to 4 days or freeze.

If you freeze, freeze in batches in either pint or quart sized freezer bags. You can also add the soup to your recipe and freeze the whole recipe.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pecan Sandies shortbread stackers

My husbands family was having their family reunion tonight & I signed up for desserts:)   I made 3 different kinds including the Pecan Sandies shortbread stackers.....Soooooo easy seeing that the cookies were waiting for me on the shelf at the store:)

Pecan Sandies shortbread stackers
2 packages Pecan Sandies cookies
1C Whipping Creme
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
"about" 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
brown sugar

1. Place whipping creme in chilled deep bowl & beat on HIGH until creme reaches stiff consistency
2. add almond extract & powdered sugar **you can add more if wanted more sweet**
3. take 2 cookies & put 1Tbsp of creme on one of the cookies & top with 2nd cookie
4. add a drop or pipe some creme on top & sprinkle with brown sugar

Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.....that's it!!   The brown sugar on top was amazing!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 250 ~ lay 6 slices of bread on cookie sheet ~ cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the pieces are completely crisp & not bendy at all

Using a food processor - process bread up into crumbs....
2C bread crumbs
1/4 C parmesan cheese, grated
2 T dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder ~ combine & store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months

** I use these bread crumbs in so many recipes it's hard to keep track~so versatile**

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meatball Sami's

This is one of those meals that will instantly make your dinner table "quiet"!!  As soon as the family sinks their teeth into these yummy meatball sami''s all down hill from there! 

Meatball Sami's


1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 jars Classico Spaghetti Sauce (your choice)
1 tsp chopped garlic
**only thing not shown is tomatoes due to the fact that they were out of my freezer & this is a "after" picture**

Puree tomatoes - then add everything else EXCEPT for the meatballs into pot - simmer 20 minutes *or* heat on low in slow cooker for 1 hour - Add meatballs & simmer another 10 minutes


1 lb ground beef
1/2 C Italian bread crumbs ~~recipe to follow to make your own
1/3 C water ( more or less )
1/4 C Parmesan
1/4 C finely chopped green pepper
1 medium onion - fine chopped
1 clove garlic
S & P
~Mix all together making sure not to add all of the water at once....just gradually ~ form into meatballs & bake at 4oo for 16-18 minutes or until done

So instead of putting the whole meatball on the Bolillo roll I cut each one into small slices....covered with sauce & provolone cheese....

These were so good!!  The kids loved them!!

As promised....homemade Italian bread crumb recipe:

Preheat oven to 250 ~ layer 6 slices of bread on cookie sheet ~ cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the pieces are completely crisp & not bendy at all

Using a food processor - process bread up into crumbs....
2C bread crumbs
1/4 C parmesan cheese, grated
2 T dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder   ~ combine & store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Call me silly ...

Ok ... call me silly ... Omelets scare me!!  I could never make one....well that all changed today!!  I was so hungry for a Omelet that I decided to try my hand at it again!!  So I cracked 4 eggs & whisked with some milk - sprayed my pan.... I like veggies in my Omelet so I diced up some green peppers, tomatoes still from the garden & some mushrooms from last night....Omelet from HEAVEN!! As the sides cooked I slowly & carefully pushed  back to put the egg know...the way a Omelet is supposed to be made :)  (did I mention that I am scared of Omelets!)  I got it to the point that I thought I could flip it with my spatula - flipped it - cooked a little bit on the other side & ..... wait for it....flipped it in the pan! WOW....that was so cool!  Added my veggies & cheese and VOILA......

  My 1st Omelet:)

So proud...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

Fall also means Pumpkin Pie!!  One of my favs!!  When I say pumpkin pie I don't mean the stuff that comes from a can either.....not in this house!  I had a pie pumpkin come up from seed this year!  Wahoo!!
Nothing quite like the smell of pumpkin cooking in your house!
If you happen to have a pie pumpking here is what you to do get all the yummy stuff out of the middle to make an incredible pie....

**Preheat oven to 350 - cut pumpkin in half & remove stem & seeds - place skin side up on a cookie sheet - add about an inch of water to pan - cover with foil - bake for 45 minutes or until a fork pierces skin easily - allow to cool - scrape pumpkin out of shell - using an immersion blender (this works the best) - puree pumpkin - use fresh or freeze **I freeze in 2 cup incriments seeing this is how much my recipe calls for**
Now onto the pie!
Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 (14oz) Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
2 C fresh pumpkin puree
** Preheat oven to 425 - whisk pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, spices & salt until smooth. Pour into unbaked crust (recipe to follow) - - bake 15 minutes - - reduce temp to 350 - - (this is when I put on the foil protection onto the crust to prevent burning) - -  bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until knife comes out clean

I know I did this backwards but now onto the crust!
Homemade Pie Crust
2 C unbleached flour - sifted
1 tsp salt
2/3 C butter shortening
5-7 Tbsp ice water

Sift flour into a mixing bowl with shortening - using a pastry cutter, cut shortening into flour - add salt & water ( I always start at 5 Tbsp ) - mix dough until formed - roll out on floured surface with floured rolling pin * when done transfer to 9" pie plate - gently pushing crust into pie plate - trim crust off as necessary - tuck ends of crust down & crimp
Here is the end result.....
Sorry for the indent in the middle :) I had to make sure it was done:)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Old Fashioned Apple Cider

It's Autumn and nothing says Autumn like apple cider....  I found this recipe for a delicious old fashioned apple cider.... Very easy to do & the house will smell amazing!!

12 or so small/medium apples ~ I used 6 Gala & 6 Cortlands
1 small Orange
1/2 C - 1C brown sugar
3-4 Cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
1T whole cloves
water to cover

**Wash & roughly chop apples & orange ( no need to peel, seed or stem)
Toss into a large stock pot (use a big one -- you get more cider that way)
Add sugar (I started with 1/2C)
Add spices & cover with water

Bring to a boil & boil uncovered 1 hour ~ then reduce the heat, cover & simmer for 2 hours *do not stir while simmering*

When done uncover & using a potato masher roughly mash the contents
*To further reduce you can leave simmering until cider is dark & tastes sweet & spicy

When cider is cooled completely strain apples & spices into a clear pitcher or pot *you could also strain further by putting apples into a piece of cheesecloth & just squeeze out juice*

Serve hot for the best apple cider ever!

Homemade Chicken Stock

So now that I have just about depleted my chicken stock from last year it's time to make some more:) 
Which is just about one of my favorite things to do!!  It makes the hou 0 cse smell so amazing!! So when life hands you an emply chicken carcass from a rotissierie make chicken stock!

I've tried it with baking my chicken pieces first & then making the stock but the carcass makes such a more flavorful stock!! 

Chicken Stock:
1 chicken carcass or 2-3 assorted chicken pieces
1-2 medium onion - quartered "not need to peel seeing that you will be running stock thru a sieve)**this time I used a white & red onion
2 carrots - peeled & cut into chunks
3-4 stalks celery w/ leaves-cut in half
**now this is where you can be inventive on what you add to your stock--I also add 1-2 parsnips-peeled & cut in half
I made mushroom soup & I saved the stems to go into the stock
I had a daikon radish left so that also went in-no need to peel this
I also added 3 leeks with the stem cut off

The herbs that will go into this is:
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1-2 sprigs fresh sage
fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves

so throw all of the above into a large stock pot~fill pot with water to top & then add:
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 chicken bouillion cubes....stir all together well

Bring to a boil - reduce heat & simmer covered (very few bubbles coming to surface) for at least 2 hours & up to 4 hours (you can let it go longer if you wish)
Skimming off foam as needed

Once stock is done~let cool for a bit~strain stock through a small holed colander~discard carcass & veggies....
Return stock to oven and add:
2 chicken bouillion cubes
dried parsley to taste
salt & pepper
dried thyme to taste
chicken base to taste

VOILA!!  Beautiful chicken stock

You can either transform this into chicken soup or just freeze it and use it when needed :)
Depending on the size of stock pot you use you will get about 20 cups of stock. I freeze some in 2 cup incriments & also 4 cup (which is the size of the stock you can get in the store)