Sunday, 28 November 2010

My First Chili Attempt

Today was the perfect day for chili.  I woke up, looked outside, and there was snow everywhere.  I didn't even know it was supposed to snow.  So, of course, I needed something warm and cozy for dinner.  I didn't have a specific recipe for this chili.  I just kind of threw in stuff until it tasted good.  It turned out very yummy. It had the perfect amount of spiciness for my taste.  If you do not like things spicy, you should probably leave out the chipotle chili in adobo sauce.  Also, I added 1/2 a green pepper and 1/2 a red pepper, because that is what I had in my fridge, but you could just use one whole green pepper and not have to buy both. 
Chili
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner

1/2 Lb. ground beef
1/2 Lb. ground pork
1/2 Tbl. oil
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can chili beans
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, 
    seeds removed, finely chopped, opt.
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder, opt.
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper
sour cream, for garnish
green onions, sliced, for garnish
Cheddar cheese, shredded, for garnish

In a large pot, brown ground beef and ground pork.  Remove and set aside.  Heat oil in same pot; add green pepper, red pepper and onion and saute until tender.  Add meat back to pot.  Add remaining ingredients.  Season with spices, to taste.  Place lid on pot and simmer for a few hours.  If it is too thick, add a little water.  Garnish with Cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions.  Serve with Fritos or with toasted baguette, if desired.  

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Pumpkin Mousse Cupcakes


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

It's blog makeover time!  I found this cute design that matched the title of my blog and so I am going to try it out for awhile and see if it is going to be a keeper or not.  Let me know if you like it!  


You have got to try these cupcakes.  They are sooooooo yummy!  My friend, Shelley, told me her husband had tried one of these cupcakes at a bake sale some of her neighbors were having for a fundraiser and that I had to try them, because her hubby said they were incredible.  So, I waited for Jamie to post them on her blog and when I saw them, I immediately started baking.  

The cupcake is so light and fluffy and has the perfect spice flavor.  The pumpkin filling is made from a boxed pudding mix and while on its own, I thought it tasted a little strange and debated about even putting it inside the cupcakes, but I am so glad I ended up trying it in the cupcake, because the combination of the cake, filling and the cream cheese frosting is perfect.  I adjusted her cream cheese frosting recipe a little, but use your favorite recipe.  I am planning on taking these to Thanksgiving dinner and I am sure everyone will love them.  I only filled a couple of the cupcakes tonight to give them a try, but I plan on filling and frosting the rest in the morning, since they will have to be refrigerated because of the cream and cream cheese and I didn't want to refrigerate the cake overnight.  
Pumpkin Mousse Cupcakes
adapted from: Jamie Cooks It Up

Cupcakes:
1 spice cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) box pumpkin spice instant pudding
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

Filling: 
1 (3.4 oz) box pumpkin spice instant pudding
1 3/4 c. half and half

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
4 c. powdered sugar
2-3 Tbl. milk

For the cupcakes: In a large bowl, add the cake mix, pudding mix and flour; stir together to combine.  Add the oil, sour cream, water, vanilla and eggs.  Mix on low speed for 1 minute.  Then, mix on medium speed until smooth and silky, about 3 minutes.  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes (mine took 19-20 minutes).  Cool completely.  Yield: 24 cupcakes (I got 27).

For the mousse filling:  Whip together ingredients until thick, about 3 minutes.  Using a sharp knife, cut a small circle out of the top of each cupcake.  Spoon filling in each hole.

For the cream cheese frosting:  Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla and salt.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until light and fluffy.  Add enough milk to reach desired piping consistency.  Pipe onto each cupcake.      

Monday, 22 November 2010

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

I found this recipe on one of those free recipe handouts that you can sometimes find by the spices at the grocery store.  This handout was a really good one, it came with 13 recipes all from McCormick® 


 I don't know about you, but I am always looking for new ways to eat my veggies! One of my favorite vegetables is broccoli.   I prefer fresh over frozen, but this recipe called for frozen, so I figured I would give it a try.  Overall, I really liked this side dish.  It was creamy, cheesy and yummy. 
Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
adapted from: McCormick® 
1/2 c. fine plain bread crumbs
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbl. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbl. butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
2 Tbl. butter
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 Tbl. flour
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 c. milk
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed

Mix bread crumbs, 2 Tbl. of the Parmesan cheese, 2 Tbl. melted butter and 1/2 tsp. of the Italian seasoning in a small bowl.  Cut up any large broccoli or cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces.  Melt 2 Tbl. butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in flour, remaining 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper.  Add milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Add cream cheese and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted.  Add vegetables; toss gently to coat.  Spoon into 2-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle top evenly with crumb mixture.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned.  Makes around 8 servings.   

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Orange-Cream Cheese Rolls

I had been eyeing this recipe for a few months now.  It is out of Paula Deen's Holiday Baking 2010 Special Issue magazine.  If you can still find that magazine in stores, you should really pick yourself up a copy.  There are so many yummy looking recipes in there.  I admit, I am a sucker for food magazines, even though they are seriously pricey.  I think I paid around $9 for this one, but it was worth it!    


These rolls were really easy to put together.  I cut the dough recipe in 1/4, but I only cut the filling recipe in 1/2, because I wanted them to be super gooey.  The original recipe says it yields 24 rolls, but I cut the recipe in 1/4 and I got 10 rolls, which would mean the full recipe yields 40 rolls?  The final result was only pretty good.  The cream cheese filling must have absorbed into the bread while they were baking, because they weren't ooey gooey at all?  I was a little bummed.  At first, I wasn't sure if I liked the crunchy pecans, but after a few bites, I started to like them a little more, but if I had to choose with pecans or without, I would choose without.  So, they were pretty good, but I have had way better.  I would like to try them with a regular butter, sugar and orange zest filling and then frost them with the cream cheese, orange marmalade and pecan filling.  I bet that would be yummy!  
Make sure the yeast bubbles or start over, because you must have killed the yeast
After mixing, place in a greased bowl 
Let rise until doubled
Roll out dough and spread evenly with filling
Roll up tightly
Cut as evenly as possible
Let rise again until doubled
Bake until golden brown
Orange-Cream Cheese Rolls
adapted from: Paula Deen

2 (1/4 oz.) pkgs. active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm whole milk (I used 2%)
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 Tbl. orange zest
1/2 c. orange juice
3 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
8-9 c. bread flour
orange-cream cheese filling
orange glaze

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk; let stand for 5 minutes.  In a large bowl, beat sugar, melted butter, orange zest, orange juice, eggs and salt at medium-low speed with a mixer until combined.  Add yeast mixture, beating until combined.  Gradually add 7 cups bread flour, beating until smooth.  Add enough remaining bread flour to make a soft dough.  On a lightly floured surface, turn out dough.  Knead dough for 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size.  Spray 2 (10-inch) round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray (I used 9x13 pan).  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 24x12 inch rectangle.  Spread orange-cream cheese filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border.  Roll up dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting with long side.  Using a serrated knife, cut dough crosswise into 1 inch slices.  Place rolls, cut side down, in prepared pans.  Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Spoon orange glaze over warm rolls.  

Orange-Cream Cheese Filling
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. orange marmalade
2 Tbl. sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, marmalade and sugar, stirring until combined.  Stir in pecans.

Orange Glaze
makes about 1/2 cup

1 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbl. orange juice

In a small bowl, whisk sugar and juice until smooth.  Pour immediately over rolls.  

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes


I found this cupcake recipe over at Lick-My-Spoon. She described them as moist and light. I love light cupcakes, so I decided to give them a try.  I thought these cupcakes were pretty good, they baked up nice and pretty, however, I think I prefer this Cook's Illustrated recipe a little more.  I wished this new recipe had just a little better flavor.  Also, I had been wanting to try a frosting recipe I found in an America's Test Kitchen cookbook.  I gave it a try, but something didn't work right?  It never sat up, so I had to add some powdered sugar to make it piping consistency.  I frosted half with chocolate frosting and half with vanilla frosting.  Even though my frosting didn't turn out how it was supposed to, it still tasted good.  
Vanilla Cupcakes
adapted from: Lick-My-Spoon

3 c. all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature 
1 c. whole milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.  Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.  Add dry mixture alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-23 minutes.  Remove from tray and wrap each cupcake individually with saran wrap to seal in moisture.  Cool completely and frost. 

Creamy Vanilla and Chocolate Frosting:
adapted from: America's Test Kitchen

1/2 c. sugar
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
12 Tbl. unsalted butter, softened and cut into 12 pieces
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbl. cocoa powder, to taste

1.  Combine the sugar, egg whites and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer, then place the bowl over a pan of simmering water.   Heat the mixture, whisking gently but constantly, until slightly thickened and foamy and it registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 2-3 minutes.  
2.  Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed in a standing mixer until reaches the consistency of shaving cream and is slightly cooled, 1-2 minutes.  Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy.  (The frosting may look curdled after half of the butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter).  Once all the butter is added, add the vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds (this is when I had to add powdered sugar).  If you want chocolate, add 1 or 2 Tbl. cocoa powder until reaches desired taste. 

Monday, 15 November 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole

For all of you sweet potato haters out there that are turning their noses up at this post right now, I have one question for you,  "Have you actually ever tasted a sweet potato?" That is the first thing I say to people that tell me they don't like them.  I'll be the first to admit that up until two years ago, I was one of those haters, but to be honest with you, I had never even tasted a sweet potato.  What is it about them that makes us automatically think they must be disgusting? 

About two years ago, at Thanksgiving dinner up at Jake's parents, he pretty much forced me to taste his mom's sweet potato casserole, because he knew that I would love it.  Boy was he right, I not only liked it, but I really did love it.  I don't know what I was afraid of all those years growing up when aunt Patrecia would pass her sweet potatoes around the table and I would cross my fingers that she wouldn't make me eat them?  As long as you like pecans, brown sugar and coconut, I honestly don't see how you could not like these?  I have never had the kind with marshmallows on top,  but this version with the crunchy topping is AMAZING I tell ya.  

Creamy, crunchy and oh so delicious!!!!  I cooked two large and one medium yam and ended up with about 4 cups of mashed yams, so two large yams should be plenty for this recipe.  
Sweet Potato Casserole
from: Lisa M. (Jake's Mom)

3 c. mashed yams
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. evaporated milk

Topping:
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. butter
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. coconut

Combine cooked mashed yams, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk.  Pour into 9x13 casserole dish.  For the topping: combine brown sugar, flour, pecans and coconut; cut in butter and sprinkle over potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  

Friday, 12 November 2010

I Love Taquitos!

Do these look good or what?  We have been making these for a few years now and absolutely love them.  So, you have to make these, because you and your family will absolutely love everything about them.  We made these last Sunday for dinner, we were going to grill up some steaks, but Jake was golfing all day, so when he got home, he wanted something quick and easy.  These taquitos are just that . . . quick and easy.  I hurried and threw some seasoning on a chicken breast and baked it in the oven for about 45 minutes, but if you have leftover chicken or even a rotisserie chicken, feel free to use that.  One large Costco chicken breast is enough for five taquitos.  

Chicken Taquitos
From: Jenn-eatcakefordinner.blogspot.com

shredded chicken, cooked
cheddar cheese, grated
soft corn tortillas
iceberg lettuce, shredded
Roma tomatoes, chopped
yellow onion, finely chopped
jalapeno, ribbed, seeded and finely chopped 
cilantro, chopped
lime, juiced
salt and pepper
Italian dressing, opt.
sour cream or mexican crema
vegetable oil
toothpicks

For pico de gallo: Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper and a small amount of Italian dressing (if using); set aside.  Heat about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Warm tortillas in microwave, about 30 seconds or until pliable.  Top each tortilla with some shredded chicken and some shredded cheese.  Roll up tightly and fasten with a toothpick.  Place, toothpick side down, in hot oil and fry until crisp, flip using tongs and fry other side until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.  Remove toothpicks.  Place on serving plate and drizzle with sour cream or crema or a mixture of both.  Top with shredded lettuce and fresh pico de gallo.  Serve.   

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Caramel Banana Pudding Pie

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.  Time to start gathering up which recipes will make it to the table.  I wanted a pie recipe that would "wow" the guests.  When I saw this pie on a recent episode of Dessert First, I knew this might just be that special recipe.  I immediately went to the store and gathered up the ingredients to give it a try.  I started by making the caramel sauce.  It only has three ingredients and I barely had enough cream for the recipe, so I crossed my fingers that this would work the first time.  Well, it looked like caramel and tasted good, but it ended up being a little grainy, so I'm not sure if I burned it or what?  Anyway, I hoped the crust and remaining ingredients would hide the graininess of the caramel.  The caramel was supposed to set for four hours, but I didn't want to wait that long, so I put it in the fridge to speed up the process and I just made sure to stir it every so often.  Then, I made the Nilla® Wafer crust - yum!  Next, I made the pudding and it was sooooo easy, no way you could mess that up.  

Time to assemble the pie.  You take your cooled crust  and layer it with the caramel sauce and sliced bananas, then a layer of pudding, another layer of caramel sauce and bananas, followed by another layer of pudding.  Let that chill overnight, then top it all off with homemade whipping cream and a drizzle of caramel and crushed wafers.   I was excited to try the homemade whipping cream with almond extract instead of vanilla extract, but when I went to grab my almond extract it was gone.  So, I ended up using vanilla.  I couldn't wait to try it.  I was ready to cut the first slice and realized that I forgot to add the fleur de sel (salt) to the caramel.  Crap.  So, I ended up with Caramel Banana Pudding Pie instead of Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie.  Oh well.  

I don't know what happened to my caramel overnight, but it disappeared?  I couldn't taste any caramel at all in the pie.  It just tasted like banana cream pie, but it was very very delicious!!  The Nilla® Wafer crust with homemade pudding, fresh bananas and homemade whipping cream!  How could you not love it.  Well, I loved it, so give it a try!!  I will definitely be making this again!!   
Caramel Banana Pudding Pie
adapted from: Food Network

1 box Nilla® Wafers
6 Tbl. butter, melted
3 large ripe bananas (I used 4)
1 c. salted caramel, plus more for garnish, recipe follows
vanilla pudding, recipe follows
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. almond extract (I used vanilla)
2 Tbl. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put 60 vanilla wafers in a food processor and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed.  Reserve 1/4 cup to top the pie.  Stir together remaining crumbs with the melted butter until blended.  Firmly press it into the bottom, up the sides and onto the lip of a greased 9-inch pie plate.  Bake until lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. 

Coat the banana slices with salted caramel (1 cup caramel plus 1 tsp. fleur de sel).  Arrange half of the caramel-coated banana slices evenly over the bottom of the crust.  Spread half the hot, prepared pudding over the bananas, top with more caramel-coated bananas.  Spread the remaining pudding over the bananas.  Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks are just about to form.  Add the almond extract and sugar and beat until peaks form.  Make sure not to over beat, or the cream will become lumpy.  Spread the cream over the chilled pie.  Just before serving, garnish with a caramel swirl and the reserved wafer crumbs.

Creamy Caramel Sauce:
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. water
1 1/4 c. heavy cream

Over low heat, mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Do not stir.  Increase the heat to medium and boil, uncovered, until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture.  Be careful - the mixture is extremely hot.  Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly.  Turn off the heat and stand back to avoid splattering.  Slowly add the cream.  Don't panic - the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.  Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes.  Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours.  It will thicken as it sits.  

Vanilla Pudding:
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks
2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour until all of the lumps are gone.  Once it is a fine powder, whisk in the eggs and egg yolks and continue whisking until a smooth paste is formed.  Slowly whisk in 1 cup of milk and once this is incorporated add the remaining cup of milk.  Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat whisking constantly until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding, about 10-15 minutes.  (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when the whisk is lifted).  Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.            

Monday, 8 November 2010

Homemade Oreos

A friend at work was having a birthday!!! Yay, perfect opportunity to make some treats.  I decided to go with good 'ol oreos.  Who doesn't love homemade oreos?  I made this cookie recipe, minus the red food coloring and I went with three different fillings.  1. The common cream cheese frosting, 2. peanut butter (my favorite) and 3. coconut pecan (the experiment).  I think the peanut butter ended up being the favorite out of the three.  The coconut pecan didn't stand out very much to me, all I could taste was the chocolate cookie with a little coconut texture.  If you have a big chocolate/peanut butter lover in the family, make them these cookies and they will love you forever!!    
German Chocolate

Peanut Butter (Left) and Cream Cheese (Right)

Homemade Oreos
-I made a triple batch of these chocolate cookies, minus the red food coloring

Coconut Pecan Filling: 
From: Jenn - eatcakefordinner.blogspot.com
Enough to fill 12 cookies

2 egg yolks
1/2 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar
6 Tbl. butter
1 1/3 c. sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 c. pecans, chopped

Beat egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended.  
Add sugar and butter; cook on medium until thickened and golden brown, about 12 minutes,  stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add coconut and pecans; mix well.  Cool to room temperature.  

Peanut Butter Frosting:
From: Jenn - eatcakefordinner.blogspot.com
Enough to fill about 16 cookies

8 Tbl. (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
3/4 c. peanut butter
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
evaporated milk

Cream butter and peanut butter.  Add salt and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until creamy.  Add enough evaporated milk to reach desired consistency.  

Saturday, 6 November 2010

QUICK MEAT PIES FOR TWO

I created this recipe after my favorite little food place closed down a few years ago.  They had the best meat pies.  A few days of the week they would have beef pies and the other few days they would have turkey pies.  My favorite were the beef ones. The owner made them from scratch and you could tell, because the crust was so incredibly flaky and the filling was amazing.  So, this is my quick version.  Someday, I would like to make them from scratch, using homemade pie crust, but for now, I use store-bought.  Instead of making two individual pies, I make one large pie and cut it in half when it is done.  I usually have a little extra veggies, so I just eat those on the side.  Yummy! 
Quick Meat Pies For Two
From: Jenn - eatcakefordinner.blogspot.com

1/2 Lb. ground beef
1/4 onion, finely chopped
garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 russet potato, peeled & diced
1-2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1/3 c. frozen peas
1 pkg. Pillsbury® pie crust (One box has two crusts, 
      but we only need one crust)
1 pkg. brown gravy mix, make according to pkg. directions

Boil the diced potatoes and chopped carrots until tender.  Just before they are done, add the frozen peas.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef; add onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.   Drain veggies.  Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Unroll one package of pie crust onto cookie sheet.  Cover half of the pie crust with meat, veggies and top with a little prepared gravy.  Fold over dough and seal edges with a fork.  Poke a few holes on top for ventilation.  Bake according to package directions until nice and brown.  Serve with more gravy. Serves 2.         

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Country Pumpkin Muffins

You can never have too much pumpkin.  Can you?  Here is another muffin recipe I found on All Recipes.  I had been dying to use my new jumbo muffin pan, plus I had been wanting to try something pumpkin with some butterscotch chips, because I had read on a few different websites that the two go really well together. So, I thought this would be the perfect chance to try both.  


I made the batter for the muffins and added milk chocolate chips to half and butterscotch chips to the other half.  These muffins turned out really good.  The butterscotch ones had a unique flavor that complimented the pumpkin, however, I think I prefer the more traditional ones with the milk chocolate chips.  


So, how did they compare to these pumpkin muffins?  They almost tasted the same, but if I had to choose one, I would choose the first ones, only because these new ones turned a little sticky the next day. Overall, they were really good.  I'm not sure how many it made, because I made jumbo, regular and mini muffins and I didn't count them when I was done.  Also, the recipe's directions said to bake at 400 degrees, which I tried for the first two pans, but the outside was getting done before the inside was done(jumbo muffin on the left), so I turned the oven down for that last few pans and they baked a lot more even(regular muffin in the middle).  I am really sorry, but I forgot to write down how long I baked the large and mini muffins for.  So, just take the time for the regular muffins and do less for the mini and more for the jumbo.   
Country Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from: All Recipes

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. milk
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
2 c. milk or butterscotch chips


In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin and milk.  Combine flour, baking powder, soda, spices and salt.  Add to pumpkin mixture; blend until just combined.  Fold in chocolate/butterscotch chips.  Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15- 18 minutes for regular muffins.  

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

I made this for dinner last night & I wished I would have paid more attention to the instructions before I started.  Or if I would have read Melissa's Post, I probably would have saved it for Sunday dinner.  I didn't realize how much there was to this recipe.  I think I dirtied every dish/pan in my house, just kidding, but it really did dirty a lot of dishes.  Also, it was pretty time consuming for a weeknight meal.   You have to cook some chicken (45 minutes in the oven), make wild rice (mine took 50 minutes) and some regular rice, chop veggies and make a cream sauce.  Now, If you are fine doing all of that on a weeknight, then go ahead, but next time I make this, I will save it for a Sunday.  Overall, it tasted really good.  I did add some powdered cheese (from store bought mac & cheese) along with the regular cheese to give the cream sauce a little more flavor.  I served with a side of this yummy pumpkin cornbread.  I will definitely make this again.  

Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
adapted from: here

3 Tbl. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled & diced
2 Tbl. fresh minced garlic
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
2 c. steamed white rice
2 c. prepared wild rice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. chicken broth
3 1/2-4 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 Tbl. butter
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for one minute.  Stir in chicken, white rice, wild rice, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Reduce heat to low.  For cheese sauce: Melt butter in large saucepan and whisk in flour.  Slowly add chicken broth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Whisk until thick and stir in 2 cups of cheese until melted.  Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture and transfer to 9x13 dish.  Top with more cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.  Serve hot.  Yield: 8-10 servings.