Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Open-Faced Turkey Melt

This turkey leftover recipe wins the honor of my second favorite turkey user-upper, right behind yesterday's pizza. Its comfort food at its finest. This is a good one to have a few days after Thanksgiving because it brings back all the happy feelings of Thanksgiving Day! I like to try to use up my turkey in unconventional ways after the big day so that it doesn't seem like I'm eating the same old turkey and gravy every time. This is basically just turkey and gravy, but reinvented in a different way to trick you into thinking you're eating something new and exciting.

When I asked for a review of this meal after I served it, the answer was "Can we have them again another night this week?" Ding ding ding! You have to love a sandwich that you eat with a knife and fork. That totally puts this sandwich in the "dinner" category if you ask me. I usually have a hard time justifying sandwiches as dinner, but not this one! If you don't have leftover turkey, store-bought sliced turkey would work just fine, as would store-bought gravy. I do prefer homemade gravy, but I swear the store-bought stuff is good too. I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine did!

Open-Faced Turkey Melt
  • 4 slices bread (a crusty bread works best)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • leftover turkey (or a few store bought slices)
  • leftover gravy (or a canned gravy)
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350.
Place four slices of bread on a baking sheet.
Top with turkey and then add a slice of cheese.
Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, just until cheese melts.
Pour warmed gravy on top of each slice of bread and serve.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey, Bacon, Ranch Pizza

I'm not sure whether to be ashamed or proud of the fact that my turkey leftover recipes are better than the actual turkey was on Thanksgiving. Seriously, if you are all out of leftover turkey, you should go buy another one and roast it so that you can try out some of the turkey recipes I'll be posting over the next few weeks. I have had so much fun creating them and they are all delicious!

I'm kicking off my turkey leftover recipes with my favorite one of the bunch. If there is a way to turn something into pizza, I'll figure it out (look for Nutella S'more's Pizza coming soon!). We are serious pizza lovers here and its so simple and fast. I made this as a mini pizza but if you are inclined to make a whole pizza, be my guest. It would be just as easy. The measurements I give are mostly estimates, there are no exacts with pizza. You just throw on your toppings and lots of cheese and you're done! So if you're making a whole pizza, just make sure you have extra of all the ingredients listed below. I promise you can't mess this up, the combination of the turkey, bacon, ranch and provolone is a winner!

Turkey, Bacon, Ranch Pizza
  • 1/2C cooked turkey, shredded or cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4C ranch dressing
  • 1/2C shredded provolone cheese
  • 1 mini pizza crust

Preheat oven to 425.
Spread ranch dressing on pizza crust.
Top with turkey and bacon.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 10 - 15 mins until cheese is melted.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin 'Ice Cream' Sandwich

Remember Mini Pumpkin Fluff Pies that I posted a few weeks ago? Well here is another way to use up that pumpkin fluff, if you haven't already devoured it with your finger...I mean, spoon. When I was following the Weight Watchers program, one of my favorite low point desserts was an ice cream sandwich made with graham crackers and fat free cool whip. You just spoon some in between the two grahams, freeze and enjoy.

This is the exact same concept, using pumpkin fluff instead of plain cool whip. An ice cream sandwich for Fall! I often see pumpkin ice cream out this time of year, and I'd be willing to bet you could substitute that for the pumpkin fluff if you were feeling indulgent. I like to use the pumpkin fluff because its more figure friendly, but either way, you'll have a winning dessert!

Pumpkin 'Ice Cream' Sandwich
  • Pumpkin Fluff  (Recipe HERE)
  • Graham crackers
These are tough, so make sure you're paying attention.
Spread pumpkin fluff in between two graham crackers.
Freeze for at least 30 minutes and enjoy! (I wrap them individually in cellophane and pop them in the freezer)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crispy Onion Chicken

Around this time of year, you start to see displays of seasonal items in the grocery stores. Items you don't give a second glance any other time of year. Those crunchy little french fried onions, for example. The only time I ever use those is once a year, on Thanksgiving, in green bean casserole. It doesn't make any sense! They are so yummy and available all year round!

So, this year when I saw them start to be displayed I grabbed a can, and then sent them to the back of my pantry to await their green bean casserole destiny. Then a few days later, I picked up a sushi roll for lunch called a "crunch roll" that had crab salad, shrimp, avocado and a spicy sauce rolled in crispy onions. I found it weird and fascinating all at the same time. It also happened to be the best sushi roll I've ever had (and that's a bold statement). I thought if crispy onions tasted good on something as bizarre as sushi, surely they are capable of more than a green bean casserole topper...and what do you know!?
A three ingredient dinner on the table in thirty minutes, now that is my kind of meal! (Garlic-butter asparagus coming soon!)

Crispy Onion Chicken
  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (I cut them in half for shorter cooking time)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1C french fried onions, crushed (I just do this with my hands)

Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl.
Dip on side of the chicken in the egg, and then the onions.
Place chicken, onion side up, in a baking dish. If there are any onion crumbs left, smash them down over the top of the chicken.
Bake at 375 for 30 mins or until juices run clear.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blogger Spotlight!

Check out the Coupon Mommy of Three blog today! She was kind enough to allow me to be her blogger spotlight of the week. Her blog is a great resource for anyone looking for ways to save money, and she does lots of giveaways too...go visit her site!

Thanks, Shannon!

Pumpkin Pie Egg Rolls

Yep, that's right. I said Pumpkin Pie Egg Rolls. One of the reasons Fall is my favorite season is because of the many of ways I get incorporate pumpkin into my cooking. Every year when Fall comes to an end, I pledge to continue making pumpkin-y things all year round because its just silly that something so delicious only gets utilized four months out of the year. Then I, along with the rest of the world put the pumpkin away and forget all about it until Fall comes around again. These little gems have single-handedly convinced me to make sure I have pumpkin in my cabinets all year long!

If you like pumpkin pie, you have to try these. They are like little mini, inside out pumpkin pies! Dunk them in some spiced cool whip and you have a complete pumpkin pie experience without having to make (or eat) a whole pie! I have so much fun reinventing old favorites. How neat would it be to serve these for Thanksgiving dessert instead of pumpkin pie? I'd love to see the looks on everyone's faces!

Pumpkin Pie Egg Rolls

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 4T brown sugar
  • 2T maple syrup
  • 1T pumpkin pie spice, plus 1t
  • 15 packaged egg roll wrappers
  • 1T sugar
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1C cool whip

Preheat oven to 400.
Mix pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup and 1T pumpkin pie spice together.
Divide the mixture among the egg roll wrappers and roll up (the package will show instructions).
Place egg rolls on a sprayed baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the egg rolls.
Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once. Sprinkle the opposite side with the remaining cinnamon/sugar.
For dip: Mix cool whip and 1t pumpkin pie spice.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

I hate to toot my own horn, but holy crap this pizza is completely amazing! That was considered "tooting" wasn't it? Well, this creation deserves it! All three of my kids scarfed this down, and anyone who has three kids knows that getting them all to enjoy the same meal happens about as often as Halley's Comet.

When I was creating this recipe my hang up was on the "sauce." Traditional pizza uses a marinara sauce, or sometimes alfredo, or even olive oil. But none of those seemed to jive with eggs and bacon. Then a light bulb went off...Velveeta! I actually found a cheese similar to Velveeta in my grocery store (Kroger) called "queso blanco," its a white cheese like Velveeta that's infused with jalapenos. If you can't find something similar to that, regular Velveeta will work just fine, but the queso blanco was out of this world. It added a nice kick, but wasn't too spicy because even my toddler loved it.

You can customize this to your preferences. If you prefer sausage to bacon, use that. If you want to add some sauteed peppers and onions, have at it. The possibilities are endless!

Breakfast Pizza
  • 1 mini pizza crust
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 slice turkey bacon
  • 1/4C mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 inch thick slice of Velveeta type cheese (I used a Queso Blanco with Jalapenos)
Cut the queso or velveeta into small chunks and microwave until smooth.
Spread on the pizza crust.
Arrange eggs and bacon on top of the pizza.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake pizza according to directions on the crust package.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sausage Cocktail Squares

These have been a favorite snack of mine since I was a little girl. My mom and my grandma used to make them for parties, Thanksgiving, and sometimes just for fun. We've been making them so long in fact, that I had to ask my mom to tell me their technical name! I always refer to them as "those sausage things" and everyone knows what I mean.

These may appear strange, but after you make them and fall in love, I'll be waiting to accept your full apology for doubting me. If you wanted to bake me some cookies or something too, I wouldn't stop you.

These would be the perfect substitute for sausage balls if you're looking to change it up. We sometimes have sausage balls sitting around to snack on Thanksgiving Day, but these would be the perfect substitute if you want to try something new. The nice thing about this little finger foods is that they can still be enjoyed at room temperature. They are best straight from the oven, but you won't have to worry about reheating them every 20 minutes because they'll taste fine even after sitting out. I'd be willing to be you they won't be around long enough to see room temperature though!

Sausage Cocktail Squares
  • 1 package rye cocktail bread
  • 1lb sausage (spicy, mild, any flavor you like)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 block Velveeta
  • 1T worchesterchire sauce
  • 1t garlic powder

Place sausage and ground beef in a large skillet to brown.
Add worcestershire sauce and garlic powder.
While that's cooking, cut up the velveeta into small cubes and place in large microwave safe bowl.
After the sausage/ground beef mixture has cooked completely, add it to the bowl with the velveeta and microwave in 1 minute intervals, stirring in between, until cheese is completely melted.
Place cocktail bread in a single layer on a baking sheet (you'll likely need 2 or 3 baking sheets).
Place about 2T of the meat mixture on the bread and spread it around to cover the surface of the bread.
Once all the bread has been topped, flash freeze them for 10 minutes. (You can keep them in the freezer until you are ready to cook if you'd like or if you plan to cook them right away, leave them in for at least 10 mins.)
Preheat your oven to broil.
Allow sausage square to broil for 5-10 minutes until the top gets bubbly and brown. Watch them, it happens fast!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Parmesan-Herb Ravioli

I've been thinking that I should come up with a rating system for how much I love each recipe I post, and then I realized that on a scale of 1-10, most of them would be 10's or close! I honestly only post recipes that I love, but I realize how ridiculous I probably sound posting everyday about how much I love "today's recipe." But its true, and I really am excited about everything that I post otherwise it wouldn't make the cut, and there are many flops that haven't.

That being said, can I just tell you how much I love today's recipe?? ;-)

This is one of those recipes that you'll probably look at and say "well, what's so special about that?" You'll have to try it to find out! Sometimes less really is more and while this recipe may be lacking in ingredients (a quality that I quite admire!) it certainly has no shortage on flavor. I served this pasta with a side of garlic-butter asparagus, which you can bet will be making its way here soon!

Parmesan Herb Ravioli
  • 1 package ravioli, roughly 1-1.5lbs (any kind you like, I used a basic cheese ravioli)
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1/2t italian seasoning
  • 1t garlic salt
  • 1/2C parmesan/romano cheese blend
Cook pasta according to directions.
Toss ravioli with olive oil and then mix in herbs and cheese.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tilapia Tacos with Baja Sauce

Have you ever had a Baja Fish Taco from Long John Silver's? If not, you should run (don't walk) to your nearest LJS and try one immediately! They are comprised of battered fish, lettuce, baja sauce and those "crunchies" pieces, wrapped in a flour tortilla. It's like heaven! Its also, like, 22 grams worth of fat. That's something I just can't afford on a regular basis, so...you guys know where I'm going with this right?

Behold, my version of the fish taco! Which I have renamed Tilapia Taco because frankly, its more appealing. I use baked fish instead of fried (although if you want a really easy way out, buy some frozen, breaded fish fillets and bake them up!), and I paired it with a homemade baja sauce. This sauce is so good, I'm already brainstorming other ways I can use it. I like a lot of spice so I put in quite a bit of cayenne pepper, but you can adjust it to your taste. I also used crunchy taco shells instead of flour tortillas, but they would be delicious either way. If you decide to use tortillas, you might consider crushing up a couple tortilla chips and adding them in the wrap so you still get that crunch. That's part of what makes these so good (LJS accomplishes the crunch with those little fried crunchy things), so you need to add some crunch in there somewhere (obviously if you're using a hard shell you don't have to worry about that). I know these seem a little strange, but I wouldn't steer you wrong! Give them a try!

Tilapia Tacos
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • hard or soft taco shells
  • accompaniments: lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, cheese - whatever you like!
Rub each fillet with about 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning and place on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
(Now, you can just eat these as is and forget all about the tacos, this fish is wonderful all by itself!)
Flake fish into chunks and assemble tacos with your toppings and baja sauce.

Baja Sauce
  • 1/4C light mayo
  • 1/4C light sour cream
  • 1/8-1/4t cayenne pepper
  • 2T lime juice
  • 1t taco seasoning
  • 1T ketchup
Whisk together and chill until ready to use.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Brownie Truffle Pie

Finally, a pie recipe on The Pie Hole!

I have to take a deep breath, and a moment to collect myself as I write about this pie. As its creator said best, this is a dessert you would serve Oprah, if Oprah were coming to your house for dinner. I think that pretty much sums up anything I could hope to say about this pie. The name really says it all...it tastes like brownies and truffles...and pie! (For you locals, think Ukrops Fudge Pie.) Since I don't seem to be able to ever follow a recipe as its written, I added a little bit of instant coffee granules to bring out the chocolate flavor. I think next time I'll try some walnuts, they would be a marvelous addition.

Now, I usually pride myself in sharing mostly healthy recipes but every once in a while I like to post a splurge recipe. Today would be "every once in a while," in case you were wondering. I haven't calculated calories on this pie because I don't want to know, and if anyone does please keep it to yourself. If you come back here and tell me I'm going to be forced to...to...I don't know. Do something really mean. And scary. So, just don't.

This rich pie was perfect served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel on top. You all know I'm not a fan of making huge desserts that I'm forced to consume without help, so I made this for guests and they loved it! I took the rest to work and was asked to "make another one of those and bring it in please." This was such an impressive dessert that took almost no effort. I didn't know a pie recipe containing so few ingredients even existed, but you know if its out there and its easy, I'll find it!

Brownie Truffle Pie
  • 1 deep dish pie crust
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (you'll probably want to sift it)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • My addition: 1t of instant coffee granules (you don't actually taste the coffee flavor, it just makes the chocolate flavor come alive!)
Crack the eggs into a large bowl. 
Beat in the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla and instant coffee until well mixed. 
Pour into pie crust. 
Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or just until the center of the pie is set.
Cool before serving.

Source: http://redux.com/f/1760165/Brownie-Truffle-Pie-Dessert-So-Good-I-d-Share-it-With-Oprah-The-Family-Kitchen

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

I have always been a pumpkin lover, but its only been this year that I've started to become intrigued by its use in savory dishes. After my pumpkin mac and cheese flop (I haven't decided if its worth posting or not), I was a little hesitant to try this chili recipe. I made a few changes to the original recipe that came from the Whole Food's website, and much to my surprise it was absolutely delicious! If I hadn't told anyone, I don't think they would have known it was made with pumpkin. The pumpkin adds a unique flavor, but the chili doesn't actually taste like pumpkin. It disappeared so fast that I didn't even have time to get a photo! So, here is the photo from the Whole Food's website (this is me avoiding a copyright lawsuit) and its a much better photo than I ever could have taken!

I made this about a week in advance for our Halloween dinner and froze it in a gallon sized ziploc bag. I pulled it out and stuck it (still frozen) in the crock pot and let it simmer on low for 6-8 hours. You certainly don't have to let it cook this long, or use a crock pot at all. It is ready to eat after about 45 minutes of simmering, but cooking it longer certainly won't hurt! If anything it helps the flavors come together.

This was a super easy 'serve yourself' meal. I set out toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and baked up a batch of Jiffy Corn Muffins to go along with the chili. My (almost) mother-in-law let me in on the secret of adding one tablespoon of sugar to the corn muffin mix, and they turned out delicious! The whole meal was a hit. Don't be afraid of the pumpkin!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeƱos, chopped (I leave the seeds in because we like the heat! If you don't, remove them before chopping.)
  • 3T chopped garlic
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (and their juice)
  • 1 pound ground turkey (either regular turkey or turkey sausage works well)
  • 1 can beans of your choice (I used light kidney beans.)
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2T chili powder
  • 1t ground cumin
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1C corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Saute peppers and garlic in olive oil in a large pot on medium heat.
Once they are tender, add turkey.
When turkey is cooked, add in pumpkin, diced tomatoes, beans, corn, chicken broth and all spices.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for at least 45 minutes.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

You know you have truly become a food blogger when your family says, "Can we eat dinner yet, or do you still have to take a picture?"

Well, lucky for the family they didn't have to wait too long to dig in to this dinner because I knew there wasn't a chance I was going to get a great photo. Beef stroganoff just isn't very pretty, especially when photographed with my camera. It's a nice little point and shoot camera that does a great job with every day shots, but its just not made for close-up, detailed food photography. One day I will save up enough for my dream camera and blow you guys away with beautiful pictures. Until then, mediocre ones will have to do!

This meal is one I've been making for as long as I can remember. My mom used to make a version of beef stroganoff very similar to this one and it was one of the first things I made on my own. I can't think of a single time I've made this dish and haven't gotten compliments. I don't care what people say about canned soups, this recipe is so good. Its always a huge hit and we rotate it into our dinner plans here about once every other week. If I go too long without making it, the kids start putting in requests! I hope it becomes part of your rotation too!

Beef Stroganoff
  • 16oz egg noodles
  • 1lb lean ground beef (or turkey will work too)
  • 1 large (26oz) can cream of mushroom soup (I used the 98% fat free kind)
  • 16oz container of low fat sour cream
  • 1t Montreal steak seasoning (or you can simply use salt, pepper and garlic powder)
  • 1/4C milk
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Brown beef in a large skillet with Montreal steak seasoning until cooked.
Add soup, sour cream and milk.
Stir until incorporated.
Mix in noodles and serve!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

This is one of those recipes that you give people and they go, "Really? Are you sure you didn't leave an ingredient out?" These muffins are comprised of only a boxed cake mix, a can of pumpkin, and a little applesauce. Where are the eggs? Where is the oil? You won't be needing them today! These muffins are actually very low in fat and calories (no, you can't eat the whole batch or that fact no longer applies), and only 2-3 WW Points a piece, depending on how many you make!

I made these cupcakes for some guests I had in my home as well as to take to a friend who recently had a baby. Let's just say, I didn't make enough! Everyone loved them. They were the perfect consistency and they didn't stick to the paper even a little bit! That is one of my biggest baking pet peeves. I absolutely cannot stand it when a cupcake sticks to the liner. I frosted them with store bought cream cheese frosting, which made them fabulous, but if you want to keep the calories down you could use fat free cool whip or just eat them plain. I decorated some with leaf shaped sprinkles...here they are all packaged up and ready to be delivered to my friend!

The method of these muffins can be applied to other cake mixes as well. You could substitute chocolate, devil's food or carrot cake mix for the spike cake. I'm even considering trying it with red velvet cake mix! I'll let you know how that one turns out. Have fun with these!

Pumpkin Muffins
  • 1 box spice cake
  • 1 can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1.5C applesauce (use cinnamon if you have it!)
  • 1t pumpkin pie spice
  • optional: nuts or chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients together and bake according to packaged directions. If you want a cake instead of cupcakes, this will work with a sheet pan, round cake pans or a bundt pan as well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Perfect Ranch Dressing

One might say I'm a ranch dressing connoisseur. I have lists (in my head only, not on actual paper, I'm not a crazy person) of restaurants with good ranch dressing and bad ranch dressing. I've tried nearly every brand in the grocery store, and I've made various recipes at home as well. There isn't much that I won't dip in ranch dressing, and when I'm feeling crazy sometimes I'll even throw it on a salad once in a while!

This recipe is versatile in that you can use it as a dip or add some buttermilk to it and thin it out to make the perfect dressing. The secret ingredient is fresh, chopped dill. I know that sounds like a pain in the butt, but its just a little chopping! I normally don't use fresh herbs because I'm lazy when it comes to cooking and with five people in my house, I like things easy. You can substitute dried dill weed in this recipe, but I'm telling you, the fresh dill makes all the difference. I didn't even think I liked dill until I tried it in this dip!

Sorry I couldn't get a better picture for you guys! Its ranch dressing, you know what it looks like, right?

Perfect Ranch Dip/Dressing
  • 1 cup light mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1T-2T fresh, chopped dill (Start with 1T and add more to your taste.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • buttermilk (If you are making dressing, whisk in buttermilk until you reach the desired consistency.)
Mix ingredients and chill!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pizza Rolls

Back home in the little college town I'm from, there was a restaurant named Chancey's and their signature menu item was a finger food named "crusties," They don't sound very appealing, do they? Oh, how you're mistaken. Crusties were slices of pizza dough rolled up with either pepperoni or barbecue chicken filling. The best way I can describe them would be to say they looked like savory cinnamon rolls. The restaurant closed down years ago, but my little town had gotten hooked on crusties, and so other local pizza shops started making them too. None were as good as the original and they became known as "pizza rolls" at most places, but they still satisfied the craving.

These things truly might be my favorite food of all time. If my waistline could afford it, I would eat them for dinner every day. And breakfast.

To my knowledge, there is only one place in town now that still makes pizza rolls, and every time I go home to visit my mom, she orders them for dinner. Sometimes I even order extra and bring them back home to freeze for a time when I'm feeling nostalgic. I haven't been able to find anything even remotely close to pizza rolls where I live now, and believe me, I've done a ton of searching. Since I was unsuccessful in finding them, I decided to try my hand at creating them. While its certainly not the same, these are still deliciously addictive and much cheaper than driving home every time I need my fix!

Pizza Rolls
  • 1 can store bought pizza crust
  • 2C mozzarella cheese or pizza blend cheese
  • 1 bag of pepperoni (or experiment with other fillings you like!)
  • ranch or marinara for dipping (you MUST dip these or its not the same, I prefer ranch and I'll be posting a delicious homemade ranch dip recipe tomorrow!)
Preheat oven to 425.
Unroll pizza crust into an even rectangle.
Cover the entire surface with pepperoni slices.
Top with cheese.
Roll up tightly, long side first (jelly roll style).
Place the entire roll in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm it up, it will be easier to cut.
With a serrated knife, cut pinwheels into about 1/2-3/4 inch thick slices.
Lay flat on a greased baking sheet and bake at 425 about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted nicely.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Famous!

Okay, so I might be exaggerating slightly. But I got your attention right? Head on over to one of my favorite blogs Taste and Tell today and check out who her Blogger Spotlight of the day is! ;-)

Browse around her recipes while you're there...they are fantastic!

Mini Pumpkin Fluff Pies

Dear Pumpkin, I'm so glad its Fall so that we get to hang out for the next few months. We're going to have so much fun together! But please, try not to make me fat, okay? xoxo, Vittoria

Oh, hello. Didn't see you there. My pal, Pumpkin, and I were just having a little chat. You see, I love pumpkin, and its actually really good for you but its often paired with things like butter, cream, sugar and other items that stick to your ass like a magnet. Making it...not so good for you. But have no fear, I am about to show you that you can still satisfy your pumpkin pie craving without having to break out your fat pants! (And don't act like you don't have fat pants.)

How cute are these little babies?? I almost didn't want to eat them. Almost.

These mini pies are like pumpkin clouds resting in a golden, flaky crust. They taste like a fluffier version of pumpkin pie..and if all that isn't appealing enough, they are super cute! Today is actually buy one get one free day, because this recipe is more like two recipes! The pumpkin fluff (filling) part of the pies is something I've been making for years. It's wonderful all by itself eaten with a spoon (or your finger, I won't tell), or as a dip (try dippers like graham cracker sticks or fruit!).

There is a lot you could do with the fluff, but I only recently had the epiphany to use it as a pumpkin pie filling. I haven't tried using it to make a whole pie because, well, I can't have whole pies sitting in my house staring at me. The portion control of mini pies suits me much better! I imagine though, if you were so inclined to make a full size pie with this recipe that it would work just fine and dandy. I hope you enjoy this one!

Mini Pumpkin Fluff Pies
  • 1 container fat free cool whip
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 box of sugar free vanilla pudding
  • 1 store bought pie crust
  • chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. for decorating
Make the pumpkin fluff:
Whisk pumpkin with pudding mix.
Fold in cool whip.
Refrigerate for 1 hour until set.
(You'll have lots of pumpkin fluff leftover after making these pies...you're welcome.)
Roll out pie crust onto a flat surface.
Using a glass or biscuit cutter, cut out circles that are approximately 3inches in diameter. You'll have to gather the scraps and roll out the dough a few times to use it all up. I got about 7 mini pies out of 1 crust.
Press each circle into a muffin tin, and form the dough up the sides of the cup.
Bake at 400 for approximately 10 mins until slightly golden.
Allow to cool and fill with pumpkin fluff.
Decorate! (I did some with mini chocolate chips, some with a dusting of pumpkin pie spice and some with a Lindt Truffle on top. Have fun!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mozzarella Sticks

If ever there existed a recipe to prove that it doesn't take a ton of ingredients to create a memorable meal (or snack in this case), its this one. Two ingredients is all you'll need! When I'm researching or creating recipes I focus on two main characteristics, ease and creativity. I love to show up at a party with a dish that makes people say, "Wow!" Not because I want praise or attention (okay maybe that's a tiny part of it), but because it absolutely thrills me when something I've prepared makes someone smile. Its even better when they ask me for the recipe and then later tell me it was a hit with their guests too! That's what food is all about to me...sharing and making people happy. Its a circle of love people, a circle of love.

Alright, enough of that mushy nonsense, lets get on with this recipe! The original recipe calls for these to be fried, which you can certainly do, but I always choose to bake them. Honestly its much less effort and mess to just pop them in the oven, and they are so tasty this way that I can't imagine frying them would add anything except calories. This is actually a very figure friendly snack because egg roll wrappers contain very minimal calories and you can find reduced fat cheese sticks for around 50 calories per stick. The best part is you only have to make as many as you want, so portion control is breeze!

Mozzarella Sticks
(Make sure you get a pen to write all these ingredients down. I apologize in advance if your hand gets sore.)
  • egg roll wrappers
  • string cheese sticks
  • optional: marinara sauce for dipping

Place one cheese stick in diagonal egg roll wrapper and roll up. (There should be instructions on the package if you aren't sure how to roll them.)
Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. (I always line mine with foil for easy clean up.)
Place mozzarella sticks on the sheet making sure they aren't touching.
Bake at 450 for about 20 mins, turning once halfway through cooking. The wrappers will get crispy and brown. Don't be alarmed if some of the cheese oozes out of the sticks. All this means is that you will have some crispy cheese bits in addition to your mozzarella sticks, yum!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Grilled BBQ Chicken Wraps

Just because its Fall doesn't mean I'm putting my grill away! I love to grill all year round. And when I say "I", I technically mean The Mr....but I'm the mastermind behind the food creations, so I think I still get to take the credit for grilling. Right? Good, I'll take your silence as agreement.

This is one of those whip-up-really-quick-because-you-forgot-to-plan-for-dinner meals. What? You don't have a tab with that label on it in your cookbook? Well, go make one! I'll wait...

These ingredients are all things that I normally have on hand at all times. Chicken, cheese, BBQ sauce, tortilla and lettuce. Surely you guys have all those things, right? And if you don't have a grill, no worries, you can cook your chicken either in a skillet or in the oven and the result will still be delicious!

Grilled BBQ Chicken Wraps
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4C BBQ sauce
  • 2 large (burrito style) tortillas
  • lettuce
Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, occasionally brushing with BBQ sauce. (Or bake/fry)
After chicken is finished, cut into strips.
Heat tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to make them more pliable.
Assemble chicken, cheese lettuce and an extra drizzle of BBQ sauce in the center of each tortilla.
Roll up burrito style, tucking both ends in.
You can eat this right now and it will be delicious, however if you want to take an extra step you can toast the tortillas.
Heat a skillet on medium and spray with cooking spray.
Place the wrap seam side down in the pan for about 3 minutes and then flip to brown the other side.