Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies are moist and delicious. Not over-spiced, but with a definite taste of fall (while they are good any time of year!) Taken from allrecipes.com.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly. * I used the back of a spoon, dipped in water after each "smoosh"

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze evenly over cookies.

To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Yield: 3 dozen

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

For Elise's preschool this week, we read a book called "The Carrot Seed."  To go along with learning about carrots (and other vegetables) we made some carrot cake cupcakes for dessert last night.  She only ate the top with the frosting, but everyone else, including Caelyn, loved the whole thing.  (The recipe is from Lick the Bowl Good, which is accompanied by some lovely photos.)

1 c. sugar
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. shredded coconut
1 1/2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine sugar, oil, orange juice, vanilla and eggs. Stir in baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the flour and mix. Stir in shredded carrots, coconut and nuts (optional).

Line a muffin tin with muffin liners and spray well with nonstick spray. Distribute the batter evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 25 minutes.

For frosting:
In a medium bowl, whisk cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until creamy and smooth. Use immediately or store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

Let cupcakes cool then frost with cream cheese frosting.

* Note that by using a generous amount and my swirly decorating tip, I only had enough to frost 9 cupcakes.  If I had just smeared on top with a knife, I would have had plenty.  For generous swirls, I would make the frosting plus 1/2 recipe. :)

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

Friday, February 04, 2011

Lemon Garlic Chicken

When I need to cook a bunch of chicken for my OAMC, I double or triple this recipe and make it up the day before. After it cools, refrigerate overnight and it will dice up nicely the next day.  Beware, however, as this makes a very moist and tender chicken and it smells so good it may not make it past dinner...

1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 lbs. chicken breast halves, skinned and rinsed
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c. water
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
1 tsp minced fresh parsley (optional)

  1. Combine oregano, salt and pepper. Rub all of mixure into chicken. Melt butter in skillet. Brown chicken in skillet. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Place water, lemon juice, garlic, and bouillon in skillet. Bring to boil, loosening browned bits of chicken from skillet. Pour over chicken.
  3. Cover. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. 
  4. For OAMC: Cool chicken and refrigerate. This recipe makes such a tender chicken that dicing it while hot would only result in shredded chicken. It's best to cut it after it's cold.
  5. For Dinner: Add parsely and baste chicken. Cover. Cook on High 15-30 min, until chicken is tender.

Serves: 4

Taken from: 

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I had a craving for some good cinnamon raisin bread, so I turned to my King Arthur Flour cookbook for their recipe.  They had several neat tips for a successful loaf, which worked quite well.  This loaf was so delicious - and it has streusel.  Nuff said.


3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup Dry Milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
2 teaspoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Egg wash, made from 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons butter (room temperature, not melted)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

For the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dough ingredients, mixing till the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Knead (about 10 minutes by hand, 5 minutes by machine) until the dough is smooth and satiny. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it'll be puffy, if not doubled in bulk.

For the filling:
Pulse filling ingredients expect the egg wash in a food processor. (I used my Magic Bullet!) :)
Tip: this makes the raisins smaller and the bread will be easier to slice cleanly.

To Assemble:
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into a long, narrow rectangle, about 16 x 8 inches. Brush the dough with some of the egg wash (set the rest aside in the fridge) and pat the filling gently onto the dough. Beginning with a short edge, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the side seam and ends closed (to keep the filling from bubbling out), and place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
Tip: Use an egg wash instead of melted butter for the filling. The fat in the butter prevents the rolled up dough from cohering and gives you a bread that unravels when you cut it. The egg will act as glue to keep the bread together.

Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a dough-rising cover, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 hour at room temperature, or until it's crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan.

For the topping:
In a small bowl or mini processor, combine the streusel ingredients, cutting in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. If you're using a mini processor, watch carefully; streusel will go from crumbly to a cohesive mass in just a second or so. Brush the loaf with some (or all) of the remaining beaten egg, and gently press on the streusel.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 45 minutes, tenting the loaf lightly with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes or so if it appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the loaf from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, gently remove it from the pan.

Tip: To remove the bread from the pan, run a knife around the edges, and place the aluminum foil back on the top. Then tip the loaf on it's side and, holding the foil on top to keep the topping in place, gently ease it from the pan and onto a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 1 loaf.

P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps with Chicken

I've been dying to make these "knock-off" PF Changs wraps forever! I absolutely love their lettuce wraps and looked through several versions of recipes before finding this one. I've never cooked with ground chicken before, but it really tasted like the real deal! (FYI - I didn't have green onions and used brown rice in the recipe pictured.) 

16 Boston, bibb or butter lettuce leaves
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large onion -- chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian chili pepper sauce (see Note)
1 can (8 ounce size) sliced water chestnuts -- drained, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions -- thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole. Set aside to drain. 

Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until the meat is crumbled and brown. Add water chestnuts and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. 

Stir in sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves on the outer edge of a platter. Spoon meat mixture in center. Allow diners to spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and eat like a taco. 

Note: Asian chili pepper sauce can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Some brands contain garlic, which is fine. You can use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes instead. 

Serves 4 (as a main dish - would serve more as an appetizer...)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sweet 'n Sticky Sesame Chicken

I found this recipe on Hungry Girl's website. It turned out quite tasty and definitely more low-fat than our other Asian chicken recipes. I have this recipe tripled from what she posted, as it only served 2.

2 lb. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3/8 tsp. salt
3/8 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (or 3 eggs)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour, divided
3/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
3 tbsp. cornstarch (I substituted tapioca since I was out of cornstarch...)
6 tbsp. sugar-free pancake syrup
6 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. sugar-free ketchup
1 1/2 tbsp. lite/low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp. crushed garlic
3 tsp. sesame seeds
6 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
Optional: crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.

Place chicken in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and cover with eggs. Toss to coat and set aside.

In small batches, toss the chicken cubes in flour and place on baking sheet. (If you do it all at once, it becomes a gooey mess instead of nice, dry, floured pieces of chicken.)

Bake chicken in the oven until fully cooked, about 10-15 minutes.  (Internal temp 165 degrees, I believe. Cut into a big piece to make sure it is cooked.)

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine broth with cornstarch in a small nonstick pot and stir to dissolve. Add syrup, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic. Mix well and bring to medium heat on the stove. Stirring often, cook until thick enough to coat a spoon, 2 - 3 minutes. Set aside.

Place cooked chicken in a bowl, top with sauce, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. If you like, add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Eat up!


Chicken Curry Wraps

Knowing we were going to have a "colossal" ice storm this week, I (and several hundred others) went to the grocery store to stock up on food. Unlike the others, my plan was to do a OAMC day or two.  Here is a new recipe I found at Once A Month Mom that we made and really enjoyed. It's kinda like my Quick Chicken Curry, except in a wrap.  And I "healthified" it a bit as well. :)

1 cup chicken, cooked and diced
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 medium onion
2 cups cooked rice (i used brown rice)
1 cup cashews
1 cup raisins (i used half yellow and half regular)
1 cup pineapple, pieces
6 teaspoons curry
8 tortillas, large (i used whole wheat tortillas)

In a skillet brown onion in warmed olive oil. Remove from pan. In same pan place cashews for brief toasting. After about a minute or two add in the raisins and pineapple. Heat until warmed through. In a large mixing bowl mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Place mixture in the middle of a tortilla and wrap. Serve warm.
Freezing Directions:
Complete directions above. Wrap individually with saran wrap and then place in a gallon freezer bag to freeze. To serve: Warm in microwave 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 10 wraps

Favorite Blondies

Raspberry Swirl Blondies
When we had to make a dessert for Christmas dinner at Aunt Karen's, I read off some options to Doug (all from Let's Dish!).  He chose the Raspberry Swirl Blondies.  They were SO yummy! Since then I've also made the chocolate chip version for our small group, which taste like chewy chocolate chip cookie bars.  There were none left!

Pantry Blondies (and variations)
Chocolate Chip Blondie
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar (or 3/4 c. white sugar)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips or 1/2 cup raspberry jam


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Grease an 8-inch square baking pan for single recipe, or 9x13 for doubled recipe.
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. 
  • Melt the butter and stir in sugar until it is dissolved. 
  • Quickly whisk in the egg and vanilla. 
  • Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. 
  • If making chocolate chip version, stir in chips now.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. 
  • If making the raspberry swirl version, spoon the raspberry jam over the batter. Swirl the jam through the batter with a knife to create a marbled effect. 
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.  *I would err on the shorter side of this time. If the top is browned, you're good.