Monday, October 31, 2011

Classic Minestrone Soup

I found this in my All You Magazine and since cold weather is upon us, I had to give it a try!
It was simple since you cook it in your crock pot!  The soup has great flavor and very healthy for all you trying to balance the candy intake!  It came out a little thick, so I added more water in the end to thin it out a little.  Either way it was great and will definitely be made again!
Classic Minestrone Soup
(October All You Magazine)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used dried onion, just for simplicity)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3, we love garlic!)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I added 4 cups water and 4 bouillon cubes~next time I will add 5 cups and 5 bouillon)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup small shell pasta or macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded escarole or kale (I used my shredded zucchini instead)
  • 1 15.5 oz can white beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
Combine carrots, celery, onion and garlic in slow cooker.  Pour in broth and stir in tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and Italian seasoning.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  I added the shredded zucchini about half way through cooking.

Thirty minutes before serving, stir in pasta, escarole (if using) and beans.  Cover and increase heat to high and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

This was a fun idea I found on the Our Best Bites site!
You use a gingerbread man cookie cutter and then decorate them into skeletons.  It is an alternative to traditional sugar cookies, especially at Halloween!  We made the skeletons, bats and spiders!  Super spooky fun!!  (and good cookies too!)
Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or use a baking mat if you have one!

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.

Slowly add your dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Add your cocoa powder first and then slowly incorporate the flour.  I used all 2 1/2 cups.  Scrape the sides of your bowl as you go.

Lightly dust your surface with flour or cocoa powder and roll your dough out.  It recommends to roll your dough and then place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  I didn't put mine in the fridge.  My dough wasn't sticky and I was able to work with it right away!

Cut out shapes and place on your baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.  Don't over bake!  Just make sure edges look set!

Let your cookies cool on your baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then place on a cooling rack!

Decorate and enjoy your spooky cookies!

Friday, October 28, 2011

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

It is definitely pumpkin season and time to get all those pumpkin recipes out!  I have found a few keepers and have loved the smell these recipes make when they are baking! 
I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and had to try the combination with white chocolate.  This recipe also adds pumpkin spice, which I don't think I have added to my cookies before!  They had great flavor and were really moist!  To me anything with chocolate is great!  These are probably good with semi-sweet chocolate too!
White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, cream butter with sugars.  Add your pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.  Combine thoroughly. 

Slowly add your dry ingredients.  They recommended putting all your dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisking together.  I always just add the spices first and then the flour a little at a time.

Stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop by small cookie scoop or spoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets. (I did use parchment, not sure if you have to or not, but nice clean up!!)

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for a couple minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe on  They have a great site and a great cookbook~you should check both out!
These were fun to make and the kids loved that they were bite size.  I do think next time I will make them bigger!
This is a fun Halloween treat and an easy way to have sugar cookies without all the cookie cutters and frosting too!
 Candy Corn Sugar Cookies
(our best bites)
  • 1 batch of your favorite cookie dough (I used the sour cream sugar cookies that is on this site! It is my favorite!!)
  • yellow and orange food coloring
  • Sanding sugar, coarse raw sugar, or sprinkles ~ almond bark or white chocolate, melted (I didn't do this for sheer simpleness~would like sanding sugar though!)
Divide prepared sugar cookie dough into 3 equal parts.  Leave one as is and then color one part orange and one part yellow.  I used my mixer and mixed the colors in that way.  It was pretty simple.

Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap.  Gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan.  Start with the uncolored dough and press into the bottom of the pan.  You don't have to fill the pan, just keep it about 1/2-3/4 inch tall or larger if desired. (This is where I messed up!  I pressed mine flatter, which made my cookies bite size!  This is still a fun cookie, but I had wished for the bigger size!)

Layer the orange dough on top and smooth and flatten.  Finally layer the yellow dough on top.  Wrap plastic over the top and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or put in freezer for 30-60 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and slice loaf into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Cut each slice into triangle shapes and dip tops (white part) into sugar if desired.  Bake according to your sugar cookie recipe.  Cool completely and if desired dip in white chocolate and decorate with sprinkles!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake

I found this recipe on Picky Palate.  She always has fun recipes!  In fact I have heard talk about a cookbook, which I keep watching for more info!
Anyway, I tried these pumpkin bars and they were an instant hit!  Super moist, great flavor and loved the toppings.
This was an easy recipe and worth every minute!  A great fall find for Thanksgiving or any time you need a fall treat!
Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (I used milk, easier!)
  • 3.4 ounce box Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a jello roll pam with non-stick spray.

Place cake mix, eggs, oil, milk, pudding mix, sour cream and pumpkin into a stand mixer.  Beat until well combined, about 1 1/2 minutes.  I just waited until it looked well mixed, didn't time it!  Pour into prepared pan.  Spread out evenly.

Place butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon, mix until combined.  (I ended up adding a little more butter because I thought it was too thick to drizzle on.  I think next time I might add less brown sugar instead.)  Drizzle mixture evenly over cake and then take a knife and run it through to swirl.  (Go down the cake and then up the other way and back, etc.!)

Bake cake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.  I tested with a toothpick and waited until it came clean. 

Place powdered sugar and cream into your mixing bowl (which you cleaned while the cake was cooking!) and mix until creamy and smooth.  Drizzle over warm cake and then let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.  (I spread my frosting with a spatula to just even out the coverage.)

Refrigerate if not serving the same day.  I did really really like it warm, so I would recommend serving it that day.  The next day I took it out and let it warm up a bit before I served it again!  It was still great, but oh so yummy warm!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Man vs. Food Dinner

My family likes to watch Man vs Food.  We watch it often and like to see what he eats next!  This was not one of his food challenges, but a place he visited before his challenge.  It was a burger place that specialized in grilled add-ons to your hamburger.  We decided to try some of the grilled items and found great success!  My kids loved their hamburgers and the creations we made.  On the show they put it all in a bun, we went bunless and loved it that way too!  Just a new way to spice up a hamburger!
 Man vs Food Hamburger
  • Beef for hamburgers
  • Buns if desired
  • Grilled items:  Onions, Mushrooms, Salami, Egg, Bacon, or anything else you can grill.
  • Toppings:  Tomato, Lettuce, Avocado, Cheese, etc.
Grill up your hamburger and your grilled items.  Place all together on a bun with your toppings and prepare to enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thai Peanut Noodles

I found this recipe in the Our Best Bites cookbook.  I have found a love for Pad Thai noodles and trying new sauces and combinations for the noodles.  This one was labeled one of their "most popular" and it was a success!
There are so many things you can add.  I added chicken and peas and left out the peanuts and cilantro.
Will definitely make again!
Thai Peanut Noodles
(Our Best Bites cookbook)
  • 8 ounces Udon or linguine noodles (or I used Pad Thai noodles)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (1 tsp mild, 2 tsp hot) ~ I used chili garlic sauce 1 tsp because I had it on hand
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (used 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Chopped green onions, cilantro, peanuts
  • 2 limes cut into quarters for garnish (optional)
  • Add ins:  Shredded chicken, peas, sprouts
Cook noodles in salted water according to pkg directions.  If using Pad Thai, follow pkg directions to cook and allow time to soak the noodles in water.

If using any add ins, cook the chicken and have shredded.  Have peas ready too.

While the noodles cook, combine the chicken broth, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, giner and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Whisk until smooth and remove from heat.

Toss cooked noodles with sauce and toss with add ins also.  Separate into bowls and garnish with green onions, cilantro, and peanuts if desired.   Squeeze lime juice over bowls also if desired.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie

I can't remember the blog or site I found this recipe on, but they were super yummy and very creamy!  Weird to say creamy with a cookie, but they were just that! 
A fun additive to your chocolate cookie that makes them a little different and a lot yummy!
Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • Heaping 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream (frozen from container)
  • 4 cups flour (I used about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (I used about 1 1/2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Add in ice cream until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.  Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop, place the dough on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are cooked through.  Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before putting on a cooling rack.