Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sticky Gingerbread

My mom sent me this recipe. She found it in Reader's Digest this month. I made it and it's very good - super moist. I did not have the exact ingredients called for, namely dark brown sugar and dark corn syrup, so I used their lighter versions but reduced the corn syrup a tiny bit and added a little more molasses. I think that makes up for it...right?

Caralie loves this bread and has had it as her afternoon snack all week.

Anyway, try this recipe - you won't be disappointed. Unless you're counting calories. Oops.


1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup packed soft dark brown sugar
2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 2 Tbsp. warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cake pan (about 12 x 8 x 2 inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper (grease foil if using).

In saucepan, melt butter over low heat along with syrup, molasses, sugar, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Remove from heat, and add milk, eggs, and dissolved baking soda in it's water (mixture will foam a bit).

Measure flour into bowl and pour in liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. (Batter will be very wet.) Pour into pan and bake for 45-60 minutes (mine was perfect at 45 min.), until bread rises and is firm on top. Do not overbake; it will continue to bake as it cools.

Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool before cutting gingerbread into squares.

Crescent Chicken Bundles

I got this recipe from my friend Kay. She found it in an issue of Quick Cooking. I make these for showers and stuff - great for brunch. I also make them as a main dinner course. They can be frozen prior to baking. Just thaw in the fridge when you're ready to bake. I've increased the amount of cream cheese called for in the original recipe as the filling could be a little dry. I don't always use the stuffing topping - it can be messy for a finger food when serving these at a party. But if you're making them for dinner, it adds some nice flavor and crunch.


1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp. butter, melted, divided
2 Tbsp. minced chives (or chopped green onion if you don't have chives)
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 tubes (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup crushed seasoned stuffing croutons

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. butter, chives, milk, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in the chicken.

Unroll crescent dough and separate into 8 rectangles; press perforations together. (I then cut the rectangles in half to make two squares - this makes more bundles - follow directions, but use less filling). Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto the center of each rectangle. Bring edges up to the center and pinch to seal. Brush with remaining butter. Sprinkle with crushed croutons, lightly pressing down.

Transfer to two ungreased baking sheets.

(For freezing: cover baking sheet in plastic wrap and freeze until bundles are firm; transfer squares to a covered container. May be frozen up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and bake as directed.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

The recipe suggests freezing one baking sheet and baking the other. That way you have another meal ready for a later date. If you make the bundles with a full rectangle of dough, one bundle equals one serving. If you cut the dough in half, like I do, two bundles would equal one serving (or one bundle for a kid). Either way, you serve 4 or 8, depending on whether you freeze half of the bundles or not.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

I had two different recipes for this pie: all the same ingredients but in different amounts. After making one last night and seeing it fail to set up, I now know the right one to use! So I'm sharing the good recipe. I'd take a photo of the pie I made but it's just too depressing to look at. It still tastes DELICIOUS. Here is what it should look like:

So this is a fast and easy pumpkin pie. Essentially pumpkin pie with the Cool Whip already mixed in. It calls for a graham cracker crust, which is fine, but I think shortbread would be better. Or the best might be a pre-baked pastry pie crust (I like Mrs. Smiths brand best). I also found Pumpkin Spice flavored Jell-o pudding so I used that instead of vanilla. You can find the original source of the recipe here.


1/2 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (6 serving size) vanilla instant pudding (or Pumpkin Spice flavor)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 1/2 cups whipped topping, thawed
1 graham cracker crust

In large bowl, beat milk, pudding mix, and spice with wire whisk for 1 minute (mixture will be very thick). Whisk in pumpkin. Fold in whipped topping. Spread in crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Store in fridge.

*or substitute 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, and 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I don't actually follow a recipe when I make chili. It's more like I dump stuff in the pot and hope it turns out good.

I made some for my in-laws to take to a get-together and apparently it was a hit. So, I'm writing a "recipe" of what I did that time around.


3/4 - 1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 heaping Tbsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Can also cook on the stove in a large pot - simmer, covered, for 2-3 hours.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

I made this tonight and it was DELISH!! One good thing to remember (which I didn't tonight, of course) is to pound out your chicken breasts until they are an even thickness so they cook evenly. I used Prego's Italian Sausage and Garlic sauce and it was really good.


6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
12 oz (or 1 1/2 cups) pasta sauce
6 slices or 8 0z shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coat bottom of 13x9 baking dish with pasta sauce. In small bowl, beat eggs. In shallow dish, mix Parmesan and bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Dip chicken breasts first in egg, and then coat in bread crumb mixture. Place in skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side (or until breasts are golden brown and cooked through).

Layer breasts on sauce in baking dish. Place or sprinkle Monterey Jack over chicken breasts. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oatmeal Molasses Bread

This is a crappy picture. Some day I will be rich and will have a DSLR and take beautiful photos, but for now, you'll have to deal with my flash.

I found this recipe on and thought it sounded good. You can find it here. I made it differently because I had rapid-rise yeast and did not use a breadmaker. I'm learning that I don't really need a breadmaker since I have a Kitchenaid mixer that does the hard work for me. So if you have a stand mixer or want to do this by hand, follow my directions. If you want to make it in a bread machine, use the original. Either way, it's very good.

Be prepared: this is a dense bread. I reduced the amount of molasses by half. This way there is just a hint of the molasses flavor. If you want more, use the full amount in the original recipe (1/2 cup). I also switched the flour and used mostly whole wheat flour to make these healthier. And I use a candy thermometer to measure the temp of my water.


1 (.25 oz) pkg. (or 2 1/4 tsp.) rapid-rise yeast, room temp
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups hot water (between 120 - 130 degrees F)
1/4 cup honey

Mix dry ingredients (including yeast) in a medium bowl. In mixer bowl, combine water, oil, molasses, and honey. Pour in dry ingredients. Using dough hook, turn on mixer on lowest setting until all ingredients are incorporated, adding additional flour as needed until dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Increase speed to second setting and let "knead" for 10 minutes (a higher setting can strip the gears in your mixer). Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Shape dough into a loaf and place in greased loaf pan OR divide dough into 12 rolls and place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. For loaf, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. For rolls, bake at 375 degrees for 21 minutes.

I sprayed my rolls with cooking spray and sprinkled them with oatmeal. Most of it fell off, but I liked the way they looked!

Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake

This is a cheater recipe. I got it off a box of Stove Top chicken stuffing. Did you know that each box of Stove Top has 3 recipes on the back? And they're not half bad? I did alter it a little, of course, because I can never leave well enough alone. If you want the original, go buy your own box!


1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
4-5 cups diced, cooked chicken breast
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare stuffing as directed on package and set aside. Layer chicken in bottom of 9x13 baking dish; top with broccoli. In a medium bowl, combine soups, milk, and cheese; pour over chicken and broccoli. Top with stuffing. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Okay, okay. Here's the original recipe, in case you want it instead of my AWESOME version:

1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
1 bag (14 0z) frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside. Mix chicken and broccoli in 13x9-inch baking dish. Stir in soup, milk, and cheese; top with the prepared stuffing. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.

Here's my problem with the original:
  1. It uses raw chicken and I just don't think 30 minutes would make me feel safe to eat it.
  2. It uses frozen broccoli and no matter what I do (thaw it, drain it) it always manages to be soggy and wet in the dish. Fresh is better!
  3. There is not enough sauce for me: the stuffing dries it up a bit.
I'm lucky in that my mom-in-law cooks massive quantities of chicken breast, dices it, and stores it in the freezer in quart-size bags. So all I have to do is thaw it in the microwave. I will be sad when I have my own house and no one to do that for me! Yes, I'm a spoiled brat.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Gravy

I wish I could take credit for creating this delicious recipe, but alas I am not that gifted. I discovered it on and here is the link. I'm also posting it on here with my slight alterations. I think this could just as well be made with boneless pork chops. I doubled the gravy because I had two tenderloins, but that makes a lot of gravy. So if you double, be sure to serve this with rice or mashed potatoes to use it up.


1 (0.75 oz) pkt. brown gravy mix
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. basalmic or red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3/4 lb.) pork tenderloin, silver skin removed and cut into 1/2 inch medallions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 medium onion, sliced into rings

In a small bowl, combine gravy mix, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic; set aside.

In a large skillet, brown pork in oil on medium to medium-high heat until browned on both sides; remove pork from skillet. Carefully add 1/4 cup water to skillet to deglaze pan. Add onions and cook until translucent. Return pork to skillet and pour in gravy mix. Stir and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until pork is done and gravy is thickened.