Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pesto Chicken Pizza

My friend, Lisa, brought me a big bunch of basil that she grew in her garden.  If I had to choose a favorite herb, it would be basil.  Wait, is cilantro an herb?  It might be a tie.
Anyway, what better way to use fresh basil than to make it into pesto?  And what better way to use pesto than to spread it on a pizza?  They serve a similar pizza to this at Sauce and I love it.  Here is our homemade version.

Pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's)
Pesto (I used about 1/2 cup)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Chicken, cooked and shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated
Pine nuts

*Roll pizza dough out on a pan or pizza stone.  Spread pesto over dough.  Sprinkle with cheese, chicken, parmesan and pine nuts.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

*I like to bake the dough for about 5 minutes before adding toppings because I want to make sure it gets totally done all the way through.

*Also, the pizza at Sauce has diced tomatoes on it and I totally would have done that if I had had any.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

 This year, we ate Thanksgiving dinner at our friend's house.  My friend made the turkey, corn, yams, and an Oreo pie. I volunteered to bring the mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and rolls.  3 things I never make.  3 things that are very important sides in a Thanksgiving meal.  Not sure what I was thinking when I offered to bring them but I was ready for the challenge!  Luckily, all 3 things turned out and we had a delicious Thanksgiving meal.  Moral of the story, if I can make these rolls, anyone can.  They were actually easy, you just have to give them time to rise.  I got the recipe from my friend Stephanie, then saw it on Mel's Kitchen Cafe too.  Go to either blog for detailed instructions and recipe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple-Cranberry Sauce

I have always been grossed out by cranberry sauce. At Thanksgiving growing up everything was made from scratch except the cranberry sauce in which my Mom would open a can of oceanspray cranberry sauce and dump it on a plate. It always really grossed me out. That big clump coming out of the can. So I never even tried it. A couple of years ago my sister in law Tiffany brought this homemade cranberry sauce to Thanksgiving. I wasn't going to try it until my brother told me I had to. I loved it! It was so good with the turkey and even better the next day with the leftover turkey on sandwitches. Yum
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 3/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1. Sort the cranberries, discarding all soft ones and removing all stems. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, apple, water, sugar, salt, cinnamon and clove; stir together. Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, partially covered, until thickened, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Transfer to a bowl to cool before serving. (May be covered and refrigerated, but should be room temperature before serving.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pioneer Pudding

This is a recipe out of The Friend magazine that my kids get.  They always have one recipe in each issue and I get so excited to see what it is each month.  
I am a big fan of rice pudding and this one looked so easy that I couldn't wait to try it.  When I first took it out of the oven, I thought it was a major fail, but then it came around and we ended up really liking it.
2/3 cup rice
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg (I did both)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup raisins (I left these out)

*Put all ingredients into a 2 quart glass baking dish and stir together.  Bake at 275 degrees for 2 hours. Take out and let cool for 15 or so minutes, then stir really well before serving.  Or refrigerate and serve cold.  It looks super duper soupy when it comes out of the oven, but after it cooled a little and I stirred it real good, it thickened up.  I liked it warm but I think I even liked it better today out of the refrigerator.  It's not custardy, because there are no eggs in it, but it has a great flavor.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Brownies

 Lets' talk brownies.  Brownies and ice cream are one of my favorite desserts.  It's the perfect combo.  I've tried a few homemade brownie recipes but always go back to the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies from the box.  Rich chocolatey flavor with chocolate chunks mixed in.  They are perfect in every way.  Well, I might have found some competition for my fave.  I googled "best brownies" and came upon this recipe from food.com.  I had all the ingredients and they were super easy.  Sadly, I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand to throw in.  Don't worry, I'll do it next time!  These brownies were amazing!!!  They taste just as good, if not better, as the Ghirardelli ones.  My dream come true!  Best brownies is right.

Best Brownies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix sugar and oil.  Then, add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, baking powder, salt and flour.  Pour into wet mix and stir until smooth.  Pour into a greased 8x8 pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hot Corn Dip

 I am a corn lover.  I love cornbread, corn tortillas, and corn chips.  And I love canned corn.  I know, weird.  This warm corn dip is so good!  It would be perfect for an appetizer at a party or gathering.  Serve it warm with tortilla chips and you've got a delicious combo!

I know my picture is horrible.  Sorry.

Hot Corn Dip
Recipe from Emeril Lagasse
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears fresh white or yellow corn) or frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise  (I only used 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces monterey jack or cheddar, shredded
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Tortilla chips, for dipping
In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with corn, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes then transfer to a bowl.  In same skillet, add rest of butter and onion and bell peppers.  Cook until wilted then add garlic, jalapeno, and green onions.  Let all the vegetables soften  then add to the bowl of corn.  Mix in mayo, cayenne, and half of both cheeses.  Stir to combine then pour into an 8x8 baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.

*Next time, I will substitute sour cream for the mayo.  It tasted great but I have mayo issues.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Potpourri in a Pot

I made this the other day and my friend asked if she could eat it because it smelled so good.  This is the best way to make your house smell like the holidays. 


2 cinnamon sticks
5-8 whole cloves
1 apple cut up
a few shakes of cinnamon
water (or apple juice)

Throw everything in a small pot and fill it up with water (or juice).  Bring to boil then turn your stove down as low as it goes to a simmer.

Watch to make sure your water doesn't all evaporate (it isn't fun cleaning your pan and the burned smell defeats the purpose of the potpourri).  This works the great if you have one of those little crock pots that is used for sauces. My mom just bought an old little sauce pan from a thrift store that she doesn't care about.   Just keep adding more water throughout the day.
You can do lots of variations of this.  This is my fall version.   At Christmas time, I use orange peel and/cranberries instead of the apple and I always throw in fresh pine.  Honestly, this is so much better than any candle I have ever used.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lone Star Chicken Enchiladas

I got this recipe from one of my Taste of Home magazines.  I LOVE when that little gem of a magazine arrives in my mail each month.  So many good recipes that are tried and true!  This one is actually an award winning recipe.  And I'm all about trying award winning recipes!  Especially enchiladas.  My fave.  These were soooo good and did not disappoint!  I will definitely be making these again.  Soon.

Lone Star Chicken Enchiladas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chilies
3/4 cup salsa verde
1 tsp. cumin
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
3/4 tsp. salt
12 to 18 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese

Put chicken, diced tomatoes, green chilies, salsa and cumin in crockpot.  Cook on low for 4 - 6 hours.  Shred chicken.  In a bowl, mix whipping cream and salt.  Dip tortillas in whipping cream then top with about a 1/4 cup of chicken mixture.  Roll up and repeat until pan is full.  Pour remaining cream on top and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Are you tired of all things pumpkin yet? I found this recipe in an old cookbook I was looking through--it doesn't even have a cover on it anymore. I love any kind of cake or bread that is made with buttermilk. I made this and it was a hit--even to my husband who is not a "cake guy". He is basically a pie lover!!

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can; not pie filling)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
For glaze:
2 T butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1-3 T cream or milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour bundt pan. Combine together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.
Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.
Spoon batter into pan. Shake a few times to be sure to remove any bumps then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.
To make glaze, heat butter until melted. Stir in sifted powdered sugar. Mix in cream or milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Drizzle over cake while it is on a wire rack so excess falls through.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

caramel apples

we made caramel apples one weekend after spending the day at the pumpkin patch. such a yummy fall treat and pretty easy. but kind of messy!

what we used-
fuji apples
kabob skewers
2 bags cubed caramels
1 bag melted ghirarrdeli milk choc chips
crushed candy

Melt caramel over stove top according to instructions on bag (it will tell you to add some water). Scrub apples with soap to get wax off. Stick apples with skewers. Dip apples in caramel, use spatula to help cover apple entirely. Place on wax paper to harden. At this point you can drizzle chocolate, roll in candy or do whatever with your apple. Once you are done, place in fridge or freezer to harden. Keep in fridge overnight!
**we did not and woke up to a puddle of caramel around our apples.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Caramel Crunch Bars

I got this recipe from the back of the Caramel Bits bag.  It sounded like the perfect salty/sweet treat.  These bars were so easy to throw together and I had everything in my pantry.  I love that they are crunchy, chewy, salty and sweet all at the same time!!  I keep finding myself back in the kitchen for just one more bite!

Caramel Crunch Bars

4 1/2 graham crackers
1 bag Caramel Bits (found in baking isle by chocolate chips)
2 Tbs. milk
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup pretzels, crushed
1/2 cup marshmallows
4 oz. chocolate, melted

Line 8x8 pan with foil.  Grease.  Place graham crackers on bottom of pan to fit.  Might need to cut or break them to fit.  Melt caramel with milk in microwave for 2 minutes.  Pour over graham crackers.  Top with peanuts, pretzels and marshmallows.  Drizzle melted chocolate on top.  Put in refrigerator for 1 hour.  Cut into squares and serve.
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