Friday, October 30, 2009

Tortellini Tomato Spinach Soup

So, my kind husband went to the store the other day for us. He brought home some fresh tortellini, thinking that might diversify our meals a little. Well, he didn't understand that I don't like tortellini. I didn't have the heart to tell him that. So, I got online and found a recipe allowing us to use the tortellini. I found this one and it was SO GOOD! I really wish I had taken a picture because it is a beautiful soup, even though it was so easy to make. We were sorry when it was all gone.

30 min | 10 min prep


* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/2 cup minced onion (about 1/2 small onion)
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 4-6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (I threw in a couple of bouillon cubes)
* 1 (14 ounce) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I used pre-diced)
* 1 (9 ounce) package fresh tortellini or dried tortellini (or frozen and add with broth and tomatoes)
* kosher salt
* cracked black pepper
* 10 ounces fresh spinach or frozen spinach, defrosted and chopped (or just add the frozen block with broth and tomatoes)
* 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
2. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring often until onions are translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add broth and tomatoes, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil.
4. Add the tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
5. When tortellini is almost done, add spinach and taste, adjusting seasonings with salt and pepper.
6. Serve immediately.
7. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vegetable Couscous

2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup julienned sweet yellow pepper
1/4 cup julienned sweet red pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

-In a large skillet, saute the carrots, celery, onion and peppers in oil for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the next four ingredients.
-Stir in couscous. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat; let stand 5-8 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.
We've been eating a lot of couscous lately, and this one is especially good!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Corn Bread Cupcakes and Honey Butter Frosting

I am usually not a huge fan of cornbread, but this recipe is so good, it's pretty much like eating a cupcake! And, the honey butter is the delicious frosting! I guarantee that your kids will love it, and you will too. You will be finding every excuse to make them every night.

Corn bread muffins


2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 pkg. (9oz) yellow cake mix
1 pkg (8.5oz) corn bread mix


In a bowl, combine the eggs, water, milk and oil. Stir in mixed and mix well. Fill greased and floured muffin cups half full. Bake @ 350 for 18-22 minutes until muffins test done. Cool for 5 minutes: remove from pans to wire racks. 14 muffins

Honey Butter:

2 Tbls. honey
1/8 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbls. powder sugar
1 cube butter

*Combine all ingredients until well mixed, spread over corn muffins!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

As soon as fall hits, I want to have soup every night. This soup is one of my favorites. And the families favorite as well. As Tommy puts it "anything tastes better with a stick of butter in it" Enjoy this creamy fall favorite.

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
4-6 T Butter
1 T Onion chopped
1 Chicken breast, cooked & cubed
1/2 C. Shredded carrots (I like them better in slices)
3 C. Chicken broth
2 C. Uncle Ben's Wild Rice, cooked
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C. Flour
1 C. Half & Half
1 Small package sliced almonds

Combine onion and butter in a med-large pan and saute. Stir in flour and chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil. While stirring boil for one minute. Add cooked rice, chicken, salt and carrots. Boil for five minutes. Remove from heat add half and half. Serve topped with sliced almonds.

French Fried Onions

I love french fried onions. I use them on steak sandwiches, baked beans, and of course that certain bean casserole. I found this recipe and after tasting it, I knew I had to share it .

3 onions thinly sliced
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
oil for frying

In a medium bowl, beat egg and add milk. Add onions and soak for 5 minutes. Put flour in plastic sack and season with salt and pepper if you desire (I do!). Transfer onions into sack and shake to coat. Fry in oil until they reach a golden brown color, stirring often to cook evenly. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Chili

I made this recipe last night for dinner and I thought it was great! It's from, but I will just paste it here. It's a mild, sweet chili which is how I like it. You could certainly add more heat to it if you like. We topped ours with grated cheese and sour cream, and had cornbread on the side. Perfect for cold weather!

The only thing I did differently was to add the dry spices to the hamburger and onions and fried them up that way. And I did not add cornstarch, I didn't think it needed it.




  1. 1
    Brown hamburger & onions. Drain. Add tomatoes,tomato sauce, beans,and dry ingredients. Mix together.
  2. 2
    Make sure all the dry ingredients are blended together before adding to the liquid. Simmer for at least one hour. Remove bay leaf. Much better the next day. Freezes very well.

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Since I'm in "Nutella Land" and my husband bought me a huge bottle of Nutella for my birthday, I had to find interesting ways to eat it. I really liked this hot chocolate, and hope you do, too!

-3 Tbsp Nutella
-1 1/3 cups milk

1. Put Nutella and 1/3 cup milk in small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Whisk until blended.
3. Add remaining milk, increase heat to med-high and whisk until hot and frothy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Broccoli Parmesan Fettuccine

-2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets (or equivalent frozen broccoli)
-8 oz fettuccine (or spaghetti if that's what you have)
-1/2 tsp olive oil
-2 Tbsp butter/margarine
-1 6 oz pkg Canadian bacon, cut into thin strips (or other ham chunks/strips)
-1/3 cup whipping cream
-1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-dash garlic powder
-chopped almonds, toasted (I just brown them in a frying pan in some olive oil or butter; you could probably use any nuts you want)

Cook broccoli in boiling water that covers for three minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water. After one minute, drain and set aside. Cook fettuccine according to package directions, drain, mix with 1/2 tsp olive oil (to keep noodles from sticking to one another) and place in large bowl. Set aside. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Canadian bacon and cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Stir in broccoli and cook one minute until thoroughly heated. Add whipping cream and remaining ingredients to fettuccine; toss gently. Top with nuts. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Buttery Syrup

1 cup butter
1 cup light whipping cream
2 cups sugar

Melt together in a saucepan 10-12 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.

1 tsp. vanilla
dash nutmeg

Serve warm or at room temperature.

We had it on pancakes. Very tasty!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gluten Free Brownines

It was recently brought to my attention that I have several friends that are allergic to Gluten. So in my quest to find new ways of cooking, I came across these delicious brownies that oddly enough are made from......Black Beans. I know, it sounds weird, but trust me, these are to die for and are much more healthy than regular brownies. If my family can't tell the difference, neither will you. Enjoy!

Black Bean Brownines


  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender; blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixtrue into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Back to Candy Corn Season!

I found an easy recipe online for making them at home, and thought it was worth a try. Takes just one saucepan and common ingredients. A willingness to roll out long "snakes." A knife to cut recognizable triangles...easy enough.

The end product is tasty. A bit softer and chewier than store-bought (we'll see if they harder a bit over night), but good when eaten in moderation.

1 C. Sugar
2/3 C Corn Syrup
1/3 C Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
1/3 C Dry Powdered Milk
1/4 tsp Salt
Red & Yellow Food Coloring
  1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring constantly, then reduce to medium and continue to boil for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove mixture from heat and add vanilla.
  3. Combine the powdered Sugar, powdered Milk, and salt in a separate bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the saucepan, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Allow the dough to sit until it's cool enough to handle.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts.
  7. Add Food coloring: one orange, one yellow, one uncolored or white.
  8. Knead the dough until smooth and colors are even.
  9. Roll each part into a long, thin rope.
  10. Lay the three ropes along side each other, with the orange in the middle (oops, I switched the order). Press the colors together gently, to keep the sections together.
  11. Cut the dough into triangles using sharp knife. Gently shape the "kernels" with your fingers, if needed (can also make a small bit of green dough to create the pumpkins).
  12. Allow the candy to sit for a while to harden.
  13. You'll end up with over a pound* of homemade candy corn! Some with yellow tips, and some with the traditional white tips!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Now maybe you have tried this recipe before, I know it's floating around out there on the internet, but I got it from my sister-in-law, Jenny. It's a homemade version of Great Harvest Bread's recipe, and boy is it good!! I was disappointed with a lot of other pumpkin bread recipe's I've tried, and this one totally saved the day for me. My kids love it for breakfast. 
Now, I personally prefer pumpkin bread with dried cranberries and walnuts in it, but I think my family might riot if I skipped the chocolate chips. I mean, I love chocolate and all, it has a prominent role in my diet, I just think it overpowers the pumpkin flavors, whereas the cranberry-walnut compliments it nicely. However, you decide for yourself. One thing you can be sure of, if you try this recipe you will have an amazing, happy day and your whole house will smell all pumpkin-cinnamony and everyone in your household will be so grateful to you. So what are you waiting for?

Great Harvest Pumpkin Bread

2 1/2 c. white flour
1 c. 
whole wheat flour
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. 
baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
16 oz. cooked or 
canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 c. oil
4 eggs, beaten lightly
2/3 c. water
1 c. semi-sweet 
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (9x5 inch) loaf pans, or 3 (8x4
inch) loaf pans. Mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and
salt together in a bowl; set aside. Mix pumpkin, eggs, water, oil, and
2/3 c. water and stir into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
Place batter in pans. Bake 60-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in
the center comes out clean.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

1 bag shredded hash browns
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 package sausage (or equivalent of ham or bacon) - fully cooked
4-5 eggs
1 can cream of chicken soup
Shredded cheese

Whisk together eggs and cream of chicken soup and set aside.

In casserole dish, mix together hash browns, vegetables and sausage.

Pour egg mixture over the top and mix together. Top with shredded cheese.

This is the point where you can stop and put it in the fridge overnight - for a quick and easy morning feast the next day!

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Helpful hints:
  • You can use Potatoes O'Brien instead - because it comes with the peppers and onions already chopped up in it.....a time saver.
  • You can put the casserole in the oven during the preheat to more slowly heat up the pan - instead of putting a cold pan from the fridge straight into a hot oven.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Super Easy Peasant Bread

Now that fall is finally here, it's time to warm up your oven! This is the bread recipe that changed my life. I used to reserve making bread for special occasions when I felt like doing all that work- now I throw this recipe together any old day I want fresh, crusty european style bread to go with dinner!
Previously I posted this as a link to the recipe blog I got it from, but then someone asked me to write up my version. It was also one of my first posts so a few of the blog readers may not have read it. Anyway, I hate to let people know how easy this is because they are so impressed when you make it for them- but now you know!

You will need:

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 scant tsp. SAF instant yeast (It comes in a big white package, don't use Fleischmann's).
1 1/3 c. hot tap water

Mix together the dry ingredients, stir well. Add the water, stir with a spoon until a shaggy ball of dough forms. Cover, let rise 4-7 hours. Punch down and knead 10 times in the bowl. Spray a sheet of parchment paper or foil with cooking spray. Shape dough into a round loaf and set on paper/foil.  Spread a little flour on the surface, then make 3 little slashes across the top. Let rise 30-40 min. 
In the mean time, you will need to heat a heavy pot with a well-fitting lid in a 500º oven. Like a dutch oven that you would cook a roast in. (I got a great one after watching the D.I. for awhile!) Let it heat while the bread rises, 30 min. When dough is risen, remove the lid from your super hot pot, take the parchment or foil by the corners, and pop the whole thing in the pot. Return lid. 
Reduce heat to 425º. Let bake 30 min. Remove lid. Bake another 10-15 min. till dark golden.

The lid traps the steam in the pot,  making that thick, crunchy crust and chewy inside. MMMmm. let it cool if you can. We can never wait that long when it comes out of the oven, but it goes great with soups, salads, pasta, almost any dinner. And it makes great panini type sandwiches, or toast the next day.