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Monday, November 30, 2009

Meal Plan Monday: Week of Nov 30th

Thanks to Lori I've decided to join meal Plan Mondays over at Organizing Junkie . Here is my meal plan for the week. Some of the dishes are repeats from last week that I wasn't able to make. It's always subject to change, depending on moods and last minute guests. I'll add links to previously made meals. In no particular order......



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  • Chicken Parmesan with Pasta Primavera
  • Homemade Pizza with Fried Zuchinni and a salad
  • Porcupine balls with peas
  • Pierogies with Ham and peas
  • Saucy Mozzarella Patties with pasta
  • Pork Tenderloin with Praline Yams and broccoli
  • Leftovers

Head on over to The Organizing Junkie for tons of great menu plans! A great way to save time, money and become a bit more organized with your meals.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pumpkin pie and an extra little treat

Well we've had a few stressful days. With Thanksgiving in the U.S. we were suppose to entertain my Mother in Law and Hubby's cousin, who decided they'd like to come celebrate with us. Only one problem..... we now live in Canada and celebrated Thanksgiving last month. Hubby explained that to his mom and told them not to expect your traditional turkey, since we hadn't planned on celebrating a 2nd time. I felt guilty and decided to make a pie, to help it seem more like a holiday. I made the pie, only for our plans to change once again. We didn't have any company on November 26th, just yummy pie, LOL.

I attempted making a pumpkin pie, last month, for our Turkey Day. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. Hubby came home with sweetened condensed milk, rather than evaporated milk. I had already added the sugar to my pumpkin, so I couldn't use the condensed milk. I subbed half and half, but it just didn't turn out right. Since it was last minute and I really didn't feel like going to the store to buy evap milk, this time I searched for a recipe using the condensed milk. I found a super easy one and it was a great success. It will be my go to pumpkin pie, from now on. Creamy, not too sweet and not too many spices. Perfect with whipped cream.



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PUMPKIN PIE FOR BEGINNERS
Adapted from startcooking.com blog

1 can of pumpkin (15 ounces)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
2 eggs
3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1- 9 inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth. Pour into unbaked crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil.

REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 350 and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish with whip cream. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Cindy's notes: I used pumpkin puree, which I had made a few months ago and put in the freezer.



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Oh, and I wanted to share an extra little treat. You know that leftover dough you get when you trim the edges off your pie crust??? Well all my life, my Mom would take that dough, roll it out thinly, slather with butter, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon, roll it up like a cigar and pinch the ends. Then she'd place it, seem down, in a crescent shape in a pie plate and bake it along with our pies (until golden brown). The result is a sweet cinnamony delight. I call them poor man cinnamon rolls. A neat way to not waste a bit of dough!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who doesn't love a good cookie??

My mom was here for a week or so, taking care of the kids, while I had the flu. Thankfully it was not the swine flu, but it was just bad enough for me to be unable to do much of anything. By Thursday of last week my appetite had returned and I wasn't coughing nearly as much as I had been. While watching Food Network, I saw a guy make these amazing looking Oatmeal cookies and top them with ice cream. I immediately asked my Mom to make me some. After a quick on line search for the recipe, she got to work. She made them smaller than the recipe stated and we ended up with about 26 or so cookies. These are so soft and chewy. The tiny bit of cinnamon adds a comforting warmth to them too. In the recipe it didn't specify how much cinnamon to use, so we went with 1/2 a tsp. The perfect amount in my opinion.

Before leaving my Mom also notice I had the ingredients to make her favorite Skor Toffee cookies ( Skor is a chocolate bar similar to Heath. Look for Toffee bits in your baking isle, by the chocolate chips). She couldn't pass up the opportunity, so she made up a batch of those as well. These are really good. Chewy and buttery. The kids were turned off by the buttery toffee flavor, but Hubby and I sure like them. Thanks Mom for coming to the rescue and spoiling us the way you do!!!



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Soft Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Ricardo and Friends (Foodnetwork Canada)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 x egg
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
Vanilla ice cream

With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer. Add the egg and beat until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture. Stir in the rolled oats using a wooden spoon. With lightly floured hands, shape 75 ml (1/3 cup) of the dough into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, arranging 6 balls on each sheet. Press the balls until they are about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Bake 1 sheet at a time for about 13 minutes; the centre of the cookie should still be soft. Let cool slightly. Using a spatula, gently transfer the cookies to serving plates. Garnish each with a scoop of ice cream.

Cindy's notes: we made these smaller dropping batter by Tbs onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, for smaller cookies.

Skor Toffee Cookies
Lori (my sister in law)

1 box Butter Pecan cake mix
1 egg
1/2 C butter, melted
1 C Skor Toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine cake mix with the egg and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Add in toffee bits and drop by Tbs onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges start to brown.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meal Plan Mondays

Well, I've decided to start sharing my meal plan with you. I usually plan our dinners every 2 weeks, since we get paid bi-weekly. I like to meal plan because it saves us from over spending on our groceries, when we shop. It cuts down on buying items we already have and stops me from procrastinating until 4pm, trying to think of what to make for dinner. I don't assign the dishes to specific days. I just write them on a paper, tack the paper to the fridge door and choose what appeals to me in the morning. I try to incorporate meals I know everyone likes, with meals I've never made. So here is what is on the menu this week. I'll include links to previously posted recipes.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Midnight Mashed Potatoes

A Great way to jazz up mashed potatoes. Sometimes I just get bored with ole mashed potatoes, so I thought I'd give these a try. The recipe uses ingredients I usually always have on hand, so it's a great alternative to plain mashers. I found this recipe in the Cooking for your Family recipe box. The kids enjoyed them, so that is always a plus in my book. Slightly tart from the sour cream and Parmesan. Creamy and salty too. I didn't use the chives since I knew Mr.B wouldn't even think of touching them, if there were green bits throughout. They would taste even better with them in, I think. I didn't bake mine, since I was in a hurry, but am sure the crisp brown crust would taste wonderful!!



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Midnight Mashed
Adapted by Katie from Quick Cooking

6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute the garlic in butter. Drain potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic; beat until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients; mix well. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

With my parents coming for the weekend, I wanted to make a dessert. I had some pumpkin and cranberries in the freezer, so I did an Internet search for recipes containing the two. It was a toss up between cranberry pumpkin bars, or muffins. The muffins won out, simply because I did not have any cream cheese to make frosting for the bars, LOL. I'm glad I did choose the muffins though, because they are AWESOME!! They are so moist and soft, yet they aren't crumbly. It's like eating a really moist cake. The hints of tart cranberries in every bite really help with the sweetness of the muffin. They are pretty sweet, so next time I make them, I'll reduce the sugar by half a cup, to see what that gives. These will definitely become a Fall favorite, since there is only one muffin left, out of the 18 I made on Friday. :o)



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Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar; add the pumpkin and oil and mix well. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the cranberries. Fill foil-or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Cindy's notes: I subbed 1/2C of brown sugar for the white, since I like the flavor with the pumpkin

This post linked to

This Week's Craving

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ham and Cheese Cannelloni with Italian Bread

This Cannelloni recipe was quite different than what we are used to. I thought it was good, but it didn't knock our socks off. It had a unique flavor, of tangy cheese and salty ham. This had been a Meal of the Week recipe (on CFYF) a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd give it a try, since we usually have most of the ingredients on hand. The ham smelled really good once you added in the Worcestershire sauce. The kids had mixed reactions about these; Queenie couldn't get enough of the ham filling, while Mr.B wouldn't even touch it. Hubby said it was good, but would be better if there was bacon added to it. It's a neat twist on a meal that could be altered in many ways. I served it with Hubby's favorite bread. I originally wanted to make Artisan bread, but Hubby requested Italian. So I got the bright idea of baking it like Artisan bread. It didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, since the dough spread out a bit too much. It also didn't crisp up as well as it usually does, which is a big reason for Hubby loving this bread. It was still good regardless, but next time I won't mess with a good thing, LOL.


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Ham & Cheese Cannelloni
AdriaNAlly

Box of oven ready cannelloni
4 cans of flaked ham
6 cans of Campbells cheddar soup
milk
2 or 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
butter or margarine
Worcestershire sauce to taste

Preheat oven for 400F. Saute onions, celery and margarine (use enough to make them soft and keep them moist...I don't know exact amount LOL)once onions/celery are soft, add flaked ham and mash down so no big chunks. Simmer on low, adding Worcestershire sauce, to your desired taste. Turn off, uncover and let cool down enough that you can stuff the cannelloni with your fingers.

While this is cooling, in a pot heat on low to medium heat the cheddar soup, adding milk until cheese is smooth, but not too thick or thin. *(I use a whisk for this to help loosen up lumps). In a long baking pan (I use cooking spray first to help from sticking), put enough cheese sauce to cover the bottom. Start stuffing cannelloni and putting them in the pan. This usually makes about 12 or more. If there is some meat left over, that's ok, keep it aside for now. Pour warm cheese sauce over top of cannelloni, making sure to get in between each one too. Sprinkle any left over meat on top.

Put in oven and bake for about 30mins, pull out and use a spatula to turn cannelloni over in the pan, try to make sure cheese sauce covers completely. Put back in oven for another 20mins then check with a butter knife or fork to make sure cannelloni is soft. Pull out and let sit for about 10mins.

Cindy's notes: I transformed these into stuffed shells, instead of Cannelloni. I also only used 2 cans of Cheddar soup and that was plenty of sauce.



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Italian Bread - Bread Machine
Sandy

1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast

Layer in bread machine pan according to manufacturers recommendation. Bake on the basic cycle. Makes a large loaf (2 lbs).Add a tablespoon or two of water if the machine sounds like it is struggling (dough may be dry).

Sandy’s Notes: Sub’d 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of white bread flour, added about 3 T vital wheat gluten. Baked on the Rapid Whole Wheat cycle - awesome!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Honestly......

I've been sent another award!!! I knew my slaving away in the kitchen would come to some good, LOL.

Thanks so much to Judy over at The Bashas, for giving my blog some props and a shout out. The award is the Honest Scrap award and the rules state that I must share 10 honest things about myself and pass the love around. So here goes....

  1. I often wonder what ever possessed me to become a mother.
  2. If I didn't have kids right now, I'd be having cereal for dinner.
  3. I look forward to the days that Mr.B is in school, so I can have some alone time, while Queenie is sleeping.
  4. I tell myself everyday that I should exercise, but I'm just too darn lazy.
  5. I purposefully forget to buy new batteries for the kids toys.
  6. I'm really craving a huge slice of chocolate cake right now.
  7. I sometimes regret moving back to Canada.
  8. I'm secretly hoping Queenie has a high spirited child, so she can know what it was like to raise her.
  9. I want to go back to school and maybe become a hairdresser/ make up artist.
  10. I really need to work on my patience and temper.

Here are the rules

Say thank you and give a link to the presenter of the award.

Share “10 Honest Things” about yourself.

Present the award to 10* other bloggers whose blogs you find brilliant in
content and/or design or to those who have encouraged you.

Be sure to tell the 10* bloggers chosen that you are giving them the Honest Scrap award and provide the guidelines for them.

*Or a number that you can reasonably accomplish in whatever mental/physical state you're in.

My Shout outs

Ms. en Place http://msenplace.blogspot.com/ ( love to see what new Cajun foods she'll cook up next)

My Kinda Rain http://txmykindarain.blogspot.com/ ( she always has the inside scoop on coupons and giveaways)

I'm the Mama! http://namolloht.blogspot.com/ ( we need more updates on you guys and C!!!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter

I finally got around to roasting my other sugar pumpkin the other night. It had been sitting outside for about a month, so I figured I should get to it. There had been a pumpkin recipe posted on this round of the Meal of the Week, on CFYF, so I was jazzed about being able to try them. I have this odd obsession with scones. For one, I think they are delicious and second, they make me feel all sophisticated when I make them, LOL. So I made these for breakfast yesterday. They are really good. Fluffy and soft inside. I would have liked a bit more sweetness and spice, but they are good non the less. The butter adds a nice tart saltiness to the sweet pumpkin. I didn't have dry cranberries, so I threw a handful of frozen berries in a sauce pan, with about 2 Tbs of sugar. I cooked them down until they had popped, then mushed them up and reduced until they were thick. I let that cool and mixed it with the butter. At first I forgot to add the powdered sugar to the butter, but after realizing it, I threw some in. It didn't make much of a difference, just made it smoother, LOL.



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Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter
Adapted from Taste of Home

BERRY BUTTER:

2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

DOUGH:

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, optional

Place cranberries in a small bowl; add boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain and chop. In a small bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and cranberries; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pie spice, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, pumpkin and milk; add to crumb mixture just until moistened. Stir in pecans if desired.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Pat into an 8-in. circle. Cut into eight wedges; separate wedges and place on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with berry butter. Yield: 8 scones (about 1/2 cup butter).

This post is linked to

Tasty Tuesdays

Monday, November 2, 2009

Roast Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Apples

I've been trying to get into the Autumn mood by cooking with more seasonal ingredients. I knew my nephew likes sweet potatoes, so I thought this would be a great recipe to try. It was really quite simple to put together and I like that you cook it all in the same pot. The pork came out tender and paired wonderfully with the sweet potatoes and apples. The kids aren't really crazy about sweet potatoes ( neither am I really), but I'm hoping that by cooking with them more often, we will come to love them. They are so full of nutrients that it's a shame not to take advantage of them. I used a mixture of McIntosh, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples. I really loved the flavor of the GD apples with the pork. Macs however are not a great choice, since they pretty much turned to mush. This is a great and hearty Fall weather meal.



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Roast Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Adapted from About.com

1 boneless pork loin roast, 3 to 4 pounds, fat trimmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
3 large sweet potatoes, quartered
3 large apples, cored and quartered

Preparation:Preheat the oven to 375°. Coat a large ovenproof Dutch oven with vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat. When very hot, add the pork roast. Cook, turning, until all sides are browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the honey, orange juice, apple juice concentrate, pepper, and brown sugar. Spoon over the pork roast. Place the sweet potatoes around the pork. Cover and bake for 2 hours. Pork should register about 150 ° on an instant read thermometer.

Place the apple quarters around the pork. Bake, uncovered, basting frequently, for 20 minutes, or until the apples are just tender. Let the pork stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve pork roast sliced, with the sweet potatoes and apples.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples

I had some frozen pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving ( Canadians celebrate Turkey day in October) and I decided to try to make waffles with it. I knew for sure I would love them, since I LOVE pumpkin pie. I used my regular waffle recipe, substituting extra brown sugar, for the white and adding 3/4 C of pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice. The flavor was really great, but I would have liked the waffles to be a bit more crisp. They were almost creamy, which isn't a bad thing, but crispy is better. I served them with apples that I simmered with brown sugar and cinnamon. Perfect Fall flavors!


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Pumpkin Waffles

4 Tbs butter, melted
2 eggs
3/4 C pumpkin puree
1 3/4C milk
1/4 C brown sugar
2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat waffle iron. Mix together the eggs, pumpkin and sugar, adding the melted butter and mixing well. Add dry ingredients and milk. Whisk well, to ensure no lumps. Pour batter from cup or pitcher onto center of hot waffle iron. Bake until steaming stops, about 5 minutes. Remove waffle carefully.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples

3 large apples, chopped ( I like a mixture of MacIntosh and Granny Smith)
1 Tbs butter
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until apples are tender, about 5-8 minutes.