Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gingerbread Waffles

A few years ago Mica found a gingerbread waffle mix at Williams-Sonoma. We made them all together as a family and they were about the most delicious things I've ever eaten. And eat we did. Probably about 10 waffles each. It was out of control, but in a good way. I never bought them myself because I couldn't handle the price tag of $10 a box, but this year I convinced myself I would buy some since they were so good and I was craving them. So we went to Williams-Sonoma only to find out that they didn't make them this year! A tragedy! So I did what I always do when confronted with such a dilemma: google it and try to find my own recipe. I found a recipe on the food network website and modified it. They are delicious, easy and cheap, 3 of my very favorite things!

Gingerbread Waffles
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk
3 Tb. molasses
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
Bananas, whipped cream, caramel topping and/or maple syrup for topping

1. Preheat waffle iron. In large bowl beat eggs and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add pumpkin, milk, molasses, butter, and vanilla.
3. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Do not over mix.
4. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour batter onto waffle iron and cook until done (2 - 5 minute depending on the waffle iron). Top with syrup or caramel, sliced bananas and whipped cream.

Serves 4 - 6.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know. Chocolate chip cookies. Who doesn't have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies? Plus, they're so boring and un-original. Sorry if that's how you feel, but I have to say that these are definitely blog worthy. They are soft and chewy and always turn out perfectly. I've tried plenty of chocolate chip cookie recipes and these are the best. Plus, who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies? They're the perfect all occasion treat!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/3 cups flour (for high altitude, if you are not at a high altitude use 3 cups)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips and/or butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and cream until fluffy and light yellow, 2 - 3 minutes. Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Drop by rounded tablespoons (I use a small cookie scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes, then remove to cooling racks.

Make about 6 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Poppy Seed Cake

Merry Christmas! I hope that you all had a great time with friends, family, and lots of good food. I made this for Christmas breakfast. It's been adapted to make it a little healthier, but it's still not too great for you...but don't let that stop you from eating a little bit, it is absolutely delicious! In fact, Corey informed me that this cake is his favorite thing that I make. And that's saying a lot. Don't skimp on the glaze, that is what puts this cake over the top.

Poppy Seed Cake

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup Splenda
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup + 2 Tb. oil
1 1/2 Tb. poppy seeds
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 cup + 2 Tb. powdered sugar
3 Tb. butter, melted
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup + 2 Tb orange juice concentrate, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 6 small (2" x 5") loaf pans.
2. Mix sugar, Splenda, oil, and applesauce. Add eggs, vanilla, milk, and almond extract. Add dry ingredients. Divide evenly among pans.
3. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove to cooling racks. Meanwhile prepare glaze ingredients. Pour glaze over tops and sides of cakes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pumpkin Cake Roll

It's not Christmas without a pumpkin cake roll. There's something amazing about the creamy cheesecake filling and the spicy pumpkin cake that just sends me through the roof. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of it...I guess I'll just have to make it again to get a better picture.
Pumpkin Cake Roll
Adapted from Kraft Foods

1 cup powdered sugar, divided
3/4 cup flour
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 - 1 cup chopped walnuts
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/4 cups whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease jelly-roll pan (15x10x1). Line with wax paper or parchment. Grease wax or parchment paper.
2. Beat eggs, sugar, and Splenda in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes. Add pumpkin and mix well. Add flour, spice, baking powder, and salt. Beat until just blended. Spread evenly into greased pan and sprinkle with walnuts.
3. Bake 15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Immediately invert cake onto kitchen towel sprinkled with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Carefully peel off wax or parchment paper. Roll up cake and towel (starting with one of the short ends). Move to wire rack and cool completely.
4. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup powdered sugar with electric mixer until well blended. Add whipped topping and mix well. Carefully unroll cake and remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake and reroll. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

This is perfect for a cold, cold winter night like we've been having plenty of. Corey likes the soup extra creamy, so I make this for him. Sometimes I just like regular chicken noodle soup, so I leave the cream of chicken soup and sour cream out. Either way, it's divine!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

2 quarts water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
1 - 2 cups carrots, sliced
1 - 2 cups celery, sliced
3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream

1. Bring water and bouillon to boil in large pot. Add noodles, carrots, and celery. Cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Do not drain. Add chicken. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
2. If you want creamy chicken noodle soup, add cream of chicken soup and mix well. Remove from heat and add sour cream.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sugar Cookies

I don't remember a single Christmas without eating sugar cookies. We always make my Aunt Hattie's sugar cookies, but this year I decided to branch out a little bit and try another recipe. It's almost the exact same as Aunt Hattie's recipe, but it has sour cream instead of sour milk, butter instead of shortening, and one extra egg. These additions made the cookies much softer, and I love them! I'm not a crunchy sugar cookie person, and these were the perfect softness. I scaled these down so they don't make quite so many cookies (I still got about 4 dozen small to medium cookies out of the batch). I hope you enjoy them (and family, please don't throw things at me! I know it's not the same recipe, but it's really close. And you love me, remember?)

Sugar Cookies
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. Combine sour cream, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Chill dough in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
3. Roll out dough on well floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes. Place on cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes and move to cooling racks to cool completely. Frost with your favorite icing and crushed candy canes, if desired. Store covered for up to 1 week. They stay really soft even after a couple days. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rice Crispy Treats

So I know that everyone has a recipe for rice crispy treats, and it's always pretty simple: butter, marshmallows, rice crispies. But these are much, much better. I promise. They're originally supposed to be made with Special K cereal, but I always use rice crispies instead. Enjoy!

Rice Crispy Treats

2 Tb. corn syrup
1 cube butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
24 marshmallows
6 cups rice crispies
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1. Combine corn syrup, butter, sugars, and vanilla in large saucepan. Cook until well blended. Add marshmallows and cook until melted.
2. Pour mixture over rice crispies and walnuts, if desired. Pour into buttered 9 x 13 pan and cool for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rocky Road Fudge

This is a family recipe. I can't remember a single Christmas without eating this fudge. It is absolutely delicious. You don't have to add the nuts, but it definitely adds a lot of flavor and texture.

See's Fudge

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cube butter
1 can ( 5 1/3 oz) evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
10 large marshmallows, cut in half
1 cup mini marshmallows (optional)

1. Into large bowl put walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and butter.
2. In large saucepan combine evaporated milk, sugar, and marshmallows. Boil for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.
3. Pour over chocolate and nuts mixture. Stir until melted and well mixed. If making rocky road fudge, cool 5 - 10 minutes and stir in mini marshmallows.
4. Pour into 8 or 9 inch square pan, lined with foil and sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray. Chill at least 4 minutes or over night. Cut into small squares to serve.

Pumpkin Bars

Ok, friends. I've been holding out on you. I made these for my holiday party last weekend and they were my very favorite thing that I made. How favorite? Well...let's just say that I like them so much that I didn't put them all out...or send leftovers home. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do!

Praline-Pumpkin Dessert
(from Betty Crocker)

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup butter, melted
fresh, sweetened whipped cream

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9 x 13 pan.
2. Beat pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in medium bowl with shisk until smooth. Pour into pan.
3. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with pecans. Pour melted butter evenly over top of dessert.
4. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly. Cut into bars and serve warm with whipped cream. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chocolate Scotcheroos

These are a classic in Corey's family, they always have them at Christmas time. I made them for our holiday party this year and they were a hit! Who wouldn't like peanut butter, butterscotch, and chocolate?

Chocolate Scotcheroos
1 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1 c peanut butter
6 c rice krispies
1 c chocolate chips
1 c butterscotch chips

1. Combine sugar and syrup in saucepan and cook to boiling.
2. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and stir until well blended.
3. Add rice krispies. Spread in 9x13 pan. Melt both chips together in small saucepan over low heat. Spread over the top of rice krispy mixture and cool. Cut into small squares and serve.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thai Chicken Soup

I love Asian food, especially southeast Asian (things like Thai and Vietnamese). There just seems to be a near perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and savory in most of the dishes. All with a wide variety of flavors and textures. It's just amazing stuff. This recipe is one of my favorites, it's a coconut based Thai soup that I've adapted from an America's Test Kitchen recipe.

Thai Chicken Soup:
serves 4

1 tsp. vegetable oil
3 stalks lemon grass, tough outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise (other than at the Asian market, the only places I've found fresh lemon grass around here is at the Sunflower Market and some Whole Foods stores)
3 large shallots, chopped
8 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
3 TB fish sauce (look in the Asian section of the supermarket)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14oz) cans coconut milk, well-shaken (you can substitute light coconut milk if you want it lower fat)
1 TB sugar
1/2 lb white mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts , halved lengthwise and sliced on bias into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
3 TB fresh lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 tsp. red curry paste (Thai)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 serrano chiles, sliced thin
2 scallions , sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges
Thai basil (optional)

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat, adding lemon grass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 TB fish sauce when it's just starting to shimmer. Cook, stirring frequently until just barely softened (2 to 5 minutes). Don't let the vegetables brown!
2. Stir in chicken broth and 1 can coconut milk; bring to simmer over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until flavors have blended (10 minutes).
3. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer and discard solids in strainer. Rinse saucepan and return broth mixture to pan (I think this step is fairly optional, it will look prettier if you do it, but sometimes I don't)
4. Return pan to medium-high heat. Stir remaining can coconut milk and sugar into broth mixture and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook until just tender (2 to 3 minutes).
5. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink (1 to 3 minutes). Remove soup from heat.
6. Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in small bowl; stir into soup.
7. Ladle soup into bowls, serve with garnishes of cilantro, chiles, scallions, lime and Thai basil (I serve them on the side and let people garnish for themselves, it's easier, more fun and more authentic).

If you want it to be more substantial then serve it over cooked noodles (I just use Ramen without any flavouring) or jasmine rice (about 3 cups worth).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Molasses Cookies

This is a great holiday recipe. These are some of my father-in-law's famous cookies and we always love it when he makes them. They're pretty much homemade ginger snaps, only way, way better than anything you could buy at the store. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Molasses Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional, I leave it out because I can't stand the taste, but if you like nutmeg feel free to add it)
additional granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together shortening, butter, and sugar. Add molasses and egg. Slowly add dry ingredients.
3. Roll dough into small balls. Roll in sugar. Place on greased baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 7 - 8 minutes. Cool 2 minutes and move to cooling racks. Serve warm with milk!
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