November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 C white sugar
1 C vegetable oil (I have done 1/2 c. applesauce and 1/2 c. oil and it tasted fine!)
4 eggs
2 C flour
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Add the eggs and mix, then add remaining dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool, then frost.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 t vanilla
2 C powdered sugar

Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Spread on cooled bars.

November 16, 2010

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Holy moly.

This is hands-down one of the best desserts I've ever had. And of course, it's from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I brought it to Sunday dinner, and as the entire family can attest, it's amazing. It takes a little work, but it's worth it. It would be lovely at Thanksgiving, too- in addition to pumpkin pie of course.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cream Cheese Layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup caramel sauce (homemade recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, two tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the streusel topping ingredients and mix until crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly but combined. Press evenly into a 9X13-inch baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Then add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Mix well. Pour over the warm crust.

Spoon the apple mixture evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apples. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is set.

Cool the bars to room temperature. Drizzle with the caramel topping (or plate individual slices and drizzle with topping one by one).

Caramel Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cups half-and-half or cream
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold. If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on bars.

November 8, 2010

Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Another one from Mel's Kitchen Cafe! I swear all of the recipes I post come from her site. I love her stuff! This soup was so good. I actually didn't have chicken and decided to make it anyway, and it was still divine. Creamy and rich and yummy! Make sure you read my notes in bold:

*Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots
3 cups chicken broth (I always use hot water and chicken granules)
2-3 potatoes, peeled and finely diced (I used about 4 since I wasn't using chicken)
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 (8 oz. package) cream cheese (I only added 6 oz. and thought it was fine)
2-3 (about 1 pound) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender and the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. In a liquid measuring cup, vigorously whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the soup, stirring quickly, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir often to ensure the soup doesn’t burn. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it is very soft/melty. I usually place the unwrapped cream cheese on a plate and microwave it for one minute at 30% power. I like it really, really soft so it doesn’t leave lumps in the soup. Add the cream cheese to the soup in small tablespoon-size pieces. Let the pieces sit in the soup and warm through then whisk or stir the soup until the cream cheese melts and mixes in well. Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

November 5, 2010

Twisty Breadsticks

I guess we are on a bread kick lately! What can I say? We love our carbs! I tried a new breadstick recipe the other night. They were a huge hit! And pretty quick, for bread! This makes about 15-20 breadstick twists.

3 ½ cups flour
1 T. instant yeast
3 T. sugar
½ t. salt
1 ½ cups warm water
1/2 to 3/4 a cube butter, melted

Mix first four ingredients in large bowl. Add warm water, mix to form a soft dough and let it raise in bowl for 20 min. Preheat oven to 375, melt butter in preheated oven on cookie sheet. Take sheet out when butter is melted, let it cool a little. (Don't forget about the butter and burn it!) Roll out dough flat, cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide. Fold strips in half and twist the two halves together. Lay them out on cookie sheet, roll them in melted butter till covered. Sprinkle with seasonings as desired (possible toppings: garlic salt, parmesan cheese, italian seasonings, garlic & herb seasoning, etc). Let rise 20 minutes in pan. Bake for 15-20 min, until golden brown.

November 3, 2010

Cheesy Garlic Pinwheel Rolls

These were so yummy!! We had it with Potato Soup. Yummy!!

Recipe from Our Best Bites

Roll Dough:
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4-5 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg yolk

Garlic Butter:
1/2 c. (1 stick) of real butter, softened to room temp.
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning (I use Johnny’s Garlic Spread or Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb)

Shredded mozzarella cheese (enough to cover the dough)

Combine yeast, water, and sugar in large mixing bowl and allow to stand 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add salt, vegetable oil, and egg yolk (discard egg white, or save for later) and combine. Add 3 c. flour and mix well until combined. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely sticks to your finger. Knead, either by hand or in mixer, for another 2-3 minutes. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour.

While dough is rising, combine butter and garlic bread seasoning. Set aside.

Roll your dough into a rectangle that's about 18-20 inches by 6 inches. Smear garlic butter over the entire surface of the dough and then sprinkle with cheese. Roll up jelly-roll style and then use dental floss to cut into 12 equal slices. Place each slice in a muffin tin (spray with cooking spray first). Cover with a clean cloth. Preheat oven to 350 and allow rolls to rise while the oven is heating. When the oven is ready, bake for 18-22 minutes.

You're going to need to keep a CLOSE eye on these puppies during the last 10 minutes or so--once you notice the cheese getting brown, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the rolls (you don't need to press it down or anything, just lay it on top).

Note from Stacie: I made this too (that's my picture above since Jenna's camera is broken!). They are to die for! I only needed 4 cups of flour, and I went easy on the Johnny's- about 1 tbsp was plenty for us (it is pretty strong).

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake

This was REALLY yummy.  I used bow-tie pasta and mozzarella cheese.  I also used more BBQ sauce than she called for.  There were no left-overs!!
The Panko and cheese on the top are a MUST!! Don't forget them!!
 {I used her picture because my camera broke and my phone pictures just wouldn't cut it.}

 Recipe from How Sweet

4-5 ounces boneless chicken breast, shredded
3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup skim milk
2 ounces shredded smoked cheese (I used cheddar, gouda and gruyere blend)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare pasta and shredded chicken and set aside. In a small sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sliced onions with a sprinkle of sea salt and let caramelized – about 10 minutes.  During this time, combine shredded chicken with 2 tablespoons bbq sauce. Once onions are caramelized, set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Immediately add skim milk and turn down to low heat. Add 1 ounce cheese and stir until cheese is melted and mixture thickens – about 2-3 minutes.
In the casserole dish, alternate layering pasta, bbq chicken, and onions. Add cheese mixture about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, throughly mixing to act like glue and hold the pasta together. Top with additional cheese sauce, remaining shredded cheese, BBQ sauce drizzles and panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

November 2, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are a family favorite around here. So good!

1 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 egg
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
1 C flour
3 C oats
3 C chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars together until light and creamy {about 4 minutes}. Add vanilla and egg and mix well. Add all dry ingredients except oats and mix, then add oats and chocolate chips. Bake 8 -9 minutes at 375 degrees.
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