October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

I found this recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod, and we loved it! I followed it exactly and thought the pumpkin pie spice could have been reduced a bit, maybe to 1/2 tablespoon instead of 1. But it didn't keep me from eating them!


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. With a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. The mixture will look somewhat curdled. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake bars for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
4. Cool bars completely in pan. Cut into squares and serve.

October 10, 2011

Pizza on the Grill!!

SOO yummy and it's so much fun to grill your pizza! Great way to spice up the BBQ menu.
1 (.25 ounce) pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 pinch white sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chopped basil (fresh is best)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Pizza sauce/tomato sauce
Shredded pizza cheese
Pizza toppings
(pepperoni, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple, ham, jalapenos, peppers, onions,

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, and mix in sugar. Proof for ten minutes, or until frothy. Mix in the salt, olive oil, and flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down, and knead in garlic and basil. Set aside to rise for 1 more hour, or until doubled again. 

Preheat grill for high heat. Heat olive oil with garlic for 30 seconds in the microwave. Set aside. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Form each half into an oblong shape 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. 

Brush grill grate with garlic flavored olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill. The dough will begin to puff almost immediately. When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas and move to nearby table/workspace. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Arrange toppings as desired. Sprinkle with cheese. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza.
Note:  I doubled this recipe and made about 10 personal size pizzas that were gobbled up! :)

Chicken Taco Soup - Crock Pot

My neighbor gave me this recipe. She said they loved it. I was a little skeptical, well because it has canned cream of potato soup and canned corn. I don't love cream of anything soups. And canned corn should be banned. But I made it, and we LOVED it. Seriously really good. You must try it! And of course I used a rotisserie chicken. Smith's had them on sale, and I had a coupon making it a really good deal, plus it's easy!

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 cups cooked, chopped/or shredded chicken
1 can mexicorn (corn with red and green bell peppers) don't drain.
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 small can (4 oz) diced green chilies
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 packet taco seasoning
8 oz sour cream

Add all ingredients except sour cream into crock pot and cook on low 4-6 hours. Before serving, pour 2-3 cups of soup into a bowl and mix with the sour cream. Add back into the soup, and serve with grated cheese and tortilla chips.

(Note: I told my kids the red and green peppers/chilies in the soup were "just part of the corn" and told them it was the cool indian corn. They ate it without further questions! Had they known it was peppers, they would not have tried!!)

October 9, 2011

Peasant Bread

I've made this yummy bread several times, and we especially love it dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pepper. I found the recipe here at Eat Your Veggies, Peas.

1 package dry instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 c warm water
1 T sugar
2 t salt
4 cups flour
melted butter

Place yeast, water, sugar, and salt in warm bowl and stir until dissolved. Add flour and stir until blended. Do not knead. Cover and let rise for one hour, or doubled. Flour hands, remove dough (it will be so so sticky, this is ok), and place in 2 rounds on an oiled cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Don't worry about making the rounds perfect, rustic is good! Let rise an additional hour. Brush top with melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temp. to 375 degrees and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and brush again with butter. Serve warm.

October 4, 2011

Candied Cinnamon Sugar Almonds (and Salad)

I love the Nuts About Berries salad at Cafe Zupas and tried to recreate it for a family dinner. It turned out awesome, and I've since made it again!

The salad part is simple:
1- your choice of greens (I like to chop up a head of lettuce with a bag of baby spinach)
2- a bunch of berries (any combo of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
3- poppyseed dressing

And now for the Candied Cinnamon Sugar Almonds (this is from the Cafe Zupas blog):

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cups whole natural almonds

1. Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly roasted. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they do not burn. Stir occasionally.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and the honey to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes. Add the almonds and simmer for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the almonds from the saucepan to the sugar mixture. Mix until the almonds are well coated.
4. Transfer the almonds to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put under the broiler for just a few minutes, just until sugar melts and caramelizes.
5. Let cool and break apart if neccessary.

*I found that putting the almonds in the cinnamon/sugar mixture worked best in small batches, like a spoonful at a time. When they were completely cool, I chopped them up for the salad.
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