Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creamy Vegetable Penne with Chicken

As promised, here is a healthy recipe that I whipped up for dinner last night. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

1 8 oz. package penne
1/2 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce, or 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings plus 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (dried)
2 - 4 Tb. sun dried tomato Italian dressing (if you don't have this, you can substitute light zesty Italian dressing)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms
2 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat variety)
1 roma tomato, diced
1 lb. chicken, cooked and cubed
1/4 cup Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat Italian dressing in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, pepper, and onion. Saute 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 3 more minutes. Add spaghetti sauce or tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and cook until completely melted and blended.
3. Serve pasta covered with sauce. Sprinkle chicken, tomato, and Parmesan cheese over top. Serve with garlic bread and fresh asparagus.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Ok. Seriously. This has got to be the last baking post for the next little bit or I'll weigh exactly 8,932 pounds by the end of the month. The next post will be something healthy, I promise.

However, since we're on this post...these are delicious and quite easy to make. The hardest part is filling them. It's much easier to just cut the tops off and spoon the filling in, but they look prettier if you pipe them in with a cake decorator. The only problem with that is the filling is thick so it's hard to get it out of the tiny little tip. You can fill these with any flavor filling you want. Chocolate cheesecake is great, and I think fresh raspberries and whipped cream would be good too. This time I stuck with the classic vanilla filling.

Eclairs (makes 20 - 24 mini eclairs)

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup water
dash salt
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs

1 small package french vanilla instant pudding
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tb. powdered sugar

Chocolate Frosting
4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate (you can use milk chocolate if you want it sweeter)
2 Tb. whipping cream
2 Tb. powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In medium pot boil water, butter, and salt until mixture reaches a rolling boil. Add flour and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat.
3. Immediately add eggs and beat with electric mixer until mixture is well combined and smooth.
4. Spoon mixture into a quart size ziploc bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag and squeeze dough into 2" long pieces on ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2" between each eclair.
5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool 3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack and cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, prepare filling by mixing one cup whipping cream, vanilla, and 3 Tb. powdered sugar in large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. In small bowl combine pudding and millk and mix until well blended and no longer lumpy. Fold into whipped cream.
7. Pipe or spoon filling into completely cooled eclairs, making sure to fill the eclairs completely (they should bulge just a little so you know they are full).
8. Heat chocolate and 2 Tb. whipping cream in microwave on high for 30 - 45 seconds or until cream boils. Stir until chocolate is melted (do not put back in the microwave as chocolate will burn). Add powdered sugar. If needed, add water until frosting reaches desired consistency. Put frosting into sandwich sized ziploc bag, cut off corner, and pipe over eclairs.
9. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so moist and delicious, and they smell just like pumpkin pie when they are baking. Also, they make a great breakfast? How was I to resist?

Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix (dry)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. ginger (depending on how spicy you like it. I used closer to 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 - 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but I recommend them if you want an extra- special treat. The cupcakes are still great without them, but they're over-the-top wonderful with them. You could also use cinnamon chips, white chocolate chips, or caramel bites if you prefer).

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 - 30 muffin cups with papers or spray well with cooking spray.
2. Beat pumpkin, butter, sour cream, and sugars with electric mixer until well blended and creamy. Add eggs and mix well.
3. Add dry ingredients, except chocolate chips. Mix 2 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips (if desired).
4. Pour into prepared muffin cups (you should use 1/4 - 1/3 cup batter in each muffin cup), until muffin cups are 2/3 full. Make sure not to overfill or it will create a mess!
5. Bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
6. Cool completely and frost with your favorite frosting (I used cream cheese frosting and it was great) or drizzle with melted caramel.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rocky Road Cookies

I saw some delicious looking cookies on a new blog I found yesterday, Priscilla's Baking Adventures. They looked so beautiful and so tasty that I just had to come home and make them. The cookies are a simple cake mix cookie filled with orange frosting. I made some of those, but then decided to be creative and make some rocky road cookies, too...and those turned out amazing! They are very moist and super easy. For the original recipe, see Priscilla's post here

Rocky Road Cookies
1 box chocolate cake mix (I used devil's food)
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs

1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup slivered almonds
20 caramels, unwrapped (optional)
1/4 cup milk (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix oil and eggs. Stir in cake mix (mixture will be very thick).
3. Form dough into small balls (I used an ice cream scoop for this). Press 3 or 4 mini marshmallows into the center of each ball, making sure that marshmallows are completely enclosed in dough. Flatten slightly between hands. Sprinkle with almonds (or put almonds in a small bowl and press the top of the cookie into the almonds).
4. Bake for 8 minutes, cool for a 3 minutes on the pan, move to a cooling rack, and cool for 5 more minutes.
5. For caramel drizzle, if desired: Heat caramels and milk in a small saucepan until melted, stirring well so mixture does not burn. Cool 3 minutes and drizzle over cookies.

Make sure to check out Priscilla's blog! I'm so impressed with a sixteen year old girl that has her own food blog with such delicious looking food!

Here's a picture of the cookies filled with orange cream-cheese frosting like Priscilla made. Yum! Corey loved them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mother's Meatloaf

This is my favorite comfort food. It makes me feel all safe and warm and cuddly. Read all about my feelings on the subject here.

Mother's Oatmeal Meatloaf:

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
2/3 cup oats, uncooked
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1- Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl (I also like to add a little minced garlic) until evenly mixed.
2- In a loaf pan, form the mixture into a loaf shape. (optionally top with some more tomato sauce)
3- Put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
4- Take out, let stand for 5 minutes.

My personal preference is to top it with a combination of cocktail sauce and ketchup. But that's not for everyone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Turtle Cheesecake Layer Cake

Not that I'm obsessed with cakes lately or anything...but here's another one! For my sister-in-law Rana's birthday I wanted to make a cake based on her favorite pie, Village Inn's Caramel Pecan Silk Supreme Pie. I came up with this: a moist chocolate cake (the same one I used for the four layer chocolate cake last week) with cheesecake filling topped with caramel and pecans. It's super rich, so a little piece goes a long way. It's great served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

1 chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker chocolate fudge)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pkg. (4 serving size) chocolate pudding

1 no-bake Jell-o cheesecake mix
3/4 cup regular milk
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups fresh, sweetened whipped cream or cool whip

30 caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup pecan halves or pieces
Fresh whipped cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9" round cake pans.
2. Mix all cake ingredients in large mixing bowl for 3 minutes. Divide into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Invert cakes onto cooling racks and cool completely. Cut each layer horizontally in half to make four cake layers.
3. Mix cheesecake filling mix, milk, and evaporated milk with electric mixer for 3 minutes (reserve graham cracker crust for another time). Fold in whipped cream.
4. Meanwhile, melt caramels and 1/2 cup evaporated milk in small saucepan.
5. Place one cake layer, bottom side down, on serving plate. Top with a third of the cheesecake filling. Repeat layers, ending with cake layer, top side up. Slowly pour most of the caramel topping onto the top of the cake, allowing caramel to drizzle down sides of cake. Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle caramel over top of nuts. Let sit until caramel is completely cooled, then sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if desired. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kevin's Cake

In honor of Krista's Birthday, Kevin's Cake

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup veg. oil
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg (personally I don't like nutmeg)
1 tsp cinn.
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups applesauce
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 cup semi-sweet choc.chips

Mix sugar and oil. Add clocves, nutmeg, cinn. and salt. heat applesauce with baking soda in it. Add alternately with flour. Add chocolate chips. Bake in well greased and floured bunt pan.
350 degrees for 40 to 45 min.

Make a glaze with powdered sugar, milk butter and vanilla. Frost while cake is hot so that it melts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Best Recipe

Aubrie wants more recipes from other people, than here she goes. This is one of my favorite snacks.

My best recipe:

Sharp cheddar cheese
Good dill pickles, or bread and butter pickles
Crackers (I prefer black pepper and olive oil triscuits)
Honey mustard

1- Stack one on top of the other, in this order- cracker, mustard, cheese, pepperoni, and pickle (if they're sliced, otherwise just eat them seperate).
2- Enjoy.

Now it's recipe form. That is all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is one of my all-time favorite soups. I adapted it slightly from a recipe my sister-in-law Rana gave me. It makes a lot, so I'll warn you that you might want to half the recipe if you don't want to be eating it for the next two weeks.

Also...I notice that this blog is turning into the Aubrie hour...so for the rest of you out there, start posting your recipes!

Chicken Enchilada Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
3 chicken boullion cubes
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can corn (undrained)
1 28 oz. can green enchilada sauce (or 2 small cans)
4 cups water
3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

1. Saute onions in butter in an 8 quart pot. When onion is tender, add spices, boullion, and cilantro and mix well.
2. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce, and water and heat to boiling.
3. Add chicken and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, and Fritos.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Four Layer Chocolate Cake


1 chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker chocolate fudge)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pkg. (4 serving size) chocolate pudding

Frosting (adapted slightly from Kraft Foods)

1 pkg. (4 serving size) pudding, flavor of your choice (I used chocolate)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup regular milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups cool whip
chocolate shavings (for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9" round cake pans.
2. Mix all cake ingredients in large mixing bowl for 3 minutes. Divide into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Invert cakes onto cooling racks and cool completely. Cut each layer horizontally in half to make four cake layers.
3. Mix pudding mix, milk, and powdered sugar in medium mixing bowl for 2 minutes. Gently fold in cool whip.
4. Lay one cake layer on serving dish, bottom down. Frost with 1/4 of the frosting. Repeat layers and frost top of cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with chocolate shavings and whipped cream if desired.

Grilled Pineapple

If you have ever been to Tucanos or a similar Brazilian grill, you know how good their grilled pineapple is. That is my very favorite thing there, and I'm lucky if I can leave without having at least 4 pieces of pineapple. Since it is so delicious, we decided to try it at home...and it turns out nearly as good (not quite since we're not slow roasting it over an open flame for hours). We've been having this every couple of weeks lately and it's always a hit. Grilling the pineapple adds a lot of flavor and really intensifies the sweetness. You can serve it with any meat (teriyaki chicken is very good with it) or chop it up and use it on pizza or in salads. You could also drizzle with a little caramel and pecans and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Grilled Pineapple

1 fresh pineapple, outside and core removed, and cut into slices or spears
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 - 3 T. water
dash cinnamon

Combine brown sugar, water, and cinnamon. Brush over pineapple slices/spears. Grill on medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes on each side, turning once.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bite-size Brookies

For those of you that don't know what a brookie is, you're missing out. They are a layered dessert bar with brownie on the bottom and cookies on the top...and they are fantastic! This bite-size version is perfect for little kids or as munchies at a get together. The picture really doesn't do these brookies justice, but trust me, they are great!

Bite-size Brookies
Make 48 brookie bites

1 pkg. fudge brownie mix (for an 8" x 8" pan), prepared according to package directions.
1 pkg. refrigerated cookie dough (24 cookies), flavor of your choice
additions of your choice: peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, caramel pieces, candy bars (chopped), coconut, nuts, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray two mini muffin pans (24 count each) with cooking spray. fill 1/2 way with brownie batter (a little under a tablespoon per muffin cup). Bake brownies for 10 minutes.
3. Place addition of your choice on top of each brownie.
4. Cut each piece of cookie dough in half (so you have 48 balls of cookie dough). Flatten cookie dough into small circles. Top each brownie with one piece of cookie dough.
5. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and remove from pan onto cooling rack to cool.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Lemony Goodness Cake

All I have to say is Corey loves any dessert that is lemon flavored, and he definitely loved this cake. The icing is definitely the best part, so be ready for a lemony goodness taste explosion in your mouth!

Lemon Cake
1 pkg. white cake mix (and ingredients to prepare according to mix directions)
1 fresh lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 can lemon pie filling

1/2 can lemon pie filling
1 (8 oz.) tub cool whip, thawed
1 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Mix in juice and zest of 1 lemon.
3. Layer 2/3 of cake batter in greased 9x13 pan.
4. Over the top of the batter, drop half of the can of lemon pie filling in small dollops. Top with remaining cake batter.
5. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until cake is lightly browned and bounces back when touched in the center. Cool completely.
6. Fold together remaining half can of lemon pie filling, cool whip, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread over cooled cake. Garnish with lemon slices, strawberries, or raspberries as desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


For some reason I've been craving some good goulash like crazy for the past few weeks. Today I decided to make some...I'm not really sure what exactly is supposed to go in it, so I just threw some things together and it turned out great. Corey said I had to post it on here because it's the best goulash he's ever eaten.

1/4 lb. small pasta, uncooked.
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used orange because that's what I had, but any color would be good)
1 can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small can tomato sauce
2 - 3 Tb. fresh parsley
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic salt
dash oregano
grated cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, cook ground beef, onions, and pepper in large saucepan. Drain well.
3. Combine pasta, ground beef mixture, and remaining ingredients (except cheese) in a large pot and cook for 5 - 10 minutes or until heated through.
4. Serve topped with cheese.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Apple Cider Cupcakes

I saw a picture of Apple Cider Cupcakes in an advertisement for a cooking class, and I haven't been able to think about anything else since. Finally, after five days of cravings I decided to come up with my own recipe...and I wasn't disappointed. They were super easy and full of flavor! Hopefully you enjoy them as well!

Apple Cider Cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix
Eggs, water, and oil as called for in cake mix
4 packages dry apple cider mix (Alpine brand)
dash cinnamon
dash cloves
1 apple, finely chopped (granny smith is best)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 - 30 cupcake pans with papers.
2. Prepare cake mix according to directions on package and add dry apple cider mix, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in chopped apple. Pour into prepare cupcake pans, filling each 1/2 - 2/3 full.
3. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched in the center.
4. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting (below) and garnish with cinnamon.

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
3 - 4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 - 1/2 c. evaporated milk

Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and milk/sugar until desired consistency and mix well. If not serving immediately, be sure to refrigerate!
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