Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn Bisque

This is a recipe Mandy Mack made a couple of years ago at Cook's Emporium. I changed it up a bit today since I didn't have some of the spices called for.


1/2 cup diced onion
3 T. minced garlic (I used 3 garlic cloves)
4 c. peeled and cubed Butternut Squash (the smaller the cube, the quicker it cooks)
3 c. chicken stock (enough to cover veggies to cook them)
4 Bay Leaves (I couldn't find them today, so I didn't use)
1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Pie Mix
2 c. heavy cream (I used 1 c. 1/2 & 1/2 & 1 c. 1% milk)
Allspice, salt and pepper to taste (I didn't have allspice, so I used Pumpkin Pie Spice)
Garnish: sour cream, cinnamon and nutmeg


Saute onion and garlic in some olive oil over low to medium heat. Add squash to the pot along with the chicken stock. Simmer until squash becomes soft.

Using a hand blender (or in a blender or food processor), puree mixture until smooth.

Add bay leaves, pumpkin pie mix and heavy cream. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and season to taste.

Garnish and enjoy!

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Cheesecake

I made this yesterday...so easy and incredibly tasty! Here's the actual website...


1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (from approximately 12 graham crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 large eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
1/4 cup pure grade B maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Maple Pecan Glaze:
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup pure grade B maple syrup
3/4 cup chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

For the cheesecake: Finely crush the graham crackers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or use a food processor. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, and firmly press into the bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually mix in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. With the mixer on medium, add the pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well and pour into the springform pan.

Bake until the center appears nearly set, but jiggles a little when shaken, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

For the glaze: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the whipping cream and pure maple syrup and bring it to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chopped pecans. Cover and chill until time to serve. Stir before serving.

To serve: Spoon the Maple Pecan Glaze over the cheesecake.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Swedish Sugar Browned Potatoes


12 small potatoes, peeled and cooked (small new potatoes, Yukon Gold, or fingerling...don't need to
peel the fingerlings)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Cook sugar in a heavy skillet until it turns light brown. Add the butter and stir to combine. Add the potatoes and coat with sugar mixture, browning the potatoes at the same time. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with pork or ham.

Cinnamon Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich


1 1/2 cup peeled, sliced apples
6 Tbsp. butter, softened and divided
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8 slices white or cinnamon raisin bread
4 slices Muenster cheese


1. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add the apples and saute until tender. Set aside.

2. In another skillet heat the walnuts and honey for 2-3 minutes or until the nuts are toasted. Combine the nut mixture with the powdered sugar, cream cheese and cinnamon.

3. Spread the cream cheese mixture over 4 slices of bread. Top with a slice of the Muenster cheese and then the apples. Top with remaining bread.

4. Spread the remaining butter on the outsides of each sandwich. Toast in a large skillet or on a grill press until browned and the cheese is melted.

Makes 8 half sandwiches.

Winter Casserole


1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp. butter
3 cups cooked mashed winter squash (butternut)
12 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled (I only used 6 slices)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Optional: herbs such as sage, thyme or parsley


1. Saute the onions in the butter until tender. Combine with the squash, bacon, cheese, sugar, salt, pepper and herbs, if using. Spoon into an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Combine the crumbs and butter. Sprinkle over top.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through.

Serves 6.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Last year while browsing through the food blogs I normally read, I came across the recipe for Honey Walnut Shrimp. (You can find it here on The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch.) Well, I finally made it last night. So yummy! It tastes like what you get at PF Chang's! Next time I make it I will add some honeydew melon balls to it, and maybe serve it over finely shredded cabbage (I can just taste the sauce mixing with the cabbage...YUM!). I was originally going to make this for Alan and myself, but I decided that I wanted to make it first to see how it was. Is it bad that I ate the entire thing in 2 days...by myself? :)

Besides serving it over cabbage and adding melon balls, next time I make it I will use my deep fryer OUTSIDE! I just need to buy an extension cord to run some power to the patio area. I just hate smelling oil in the house for days afterwards! (It's worth it, though!) :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Granola Bars

This is a recipe my sister sent me...


1 C. oats
¼ C. almonds
1 T. sesame seeds
¼ C. sunflower seeds
1 T. flaxseeds
1/3 C. dried cherries (or any dried fruit or mixture of dried fruit)
¼ C. creamy peanut butter
¼ C. brown rice syrup
¼ C. brown sugar
½ t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt
1 T. unsweetened applesauce ( 1 rounded tablespoon is perfect chewiness, crisper with less)
1 C. unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (1/2 C. Rice Krispies + 1/2 C Kashi 7)
¼ C. mini or regular chocolate chips


Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spread oats, almonds, and sesame seeds (and sunflower seeds if not already roasted), on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until oats are lightly toasted, shaking halfway through, about 10 minutes.

Transfer oats to large bowl.

Process almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds to a coarse powder. Add to bowl.

Process 1 T. flax seed to powder; add dried fruit to flax seed and pulse about 12-15 times to coarse lumps. Set aside.

Put peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and brown sugar in a microwave proof 4 C. container. Microwave on high 30 seconds, stir till smooth; microwave one more minute on high. Add vanilla, applesauce, salt and fruit/flaxseed mixture and stir until smooth. Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain.

The add ½ C. rice krispies and ½ C. kashi puffs, and stir lightly until combined.

Last, add ¼ C. mini chocolate chips, with minimal stirring to minimize melting.

Transfer to prepared pan. (Waxed paper in 8”x8” pan, then spray waxed paper.)

Lightly coat your hands, or a spatula, with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait till cools slightly if necessary).

Cut into 10 bars while warm and in pan, in order to score them, so when cooled they are easy to finish cutting.

Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove waxed paper from pan and cut into 10 bars.

About 200 calories a bar.

Double batch makes a 9 x 13 pan that cuts into 1/3rds on the width and 1/6ths on the length.

If you like your bars to be chewier, increase the applesauce. (5 T. is too much, kind of soggy.)

Increased Protein variation:
Add one scoop Syntha-6 vanilla protein powder, decrease dried fruit to ¼ C. Add ¼ C. roasted soy nuts (grind in chopper with sunflower seeds) Increase applesauce to 2 T.

My variation: I prepared the granola bars as listed above, but used mixed dried berries (blueberries, cherries, cranberries) instead of just cherries - chopped up fine so that they are not really noticeable to the kids; and added the vanilla soy protein powder and an extra T of applesauce. I didn't have soy nuts on hand and I also didn't have Kashi, so I just used a mix of brown rice puffs and Rice Krispies for the cereals. They are very tasty and should last a few weeks for sure if kept in the fridge.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pull Apart Bread and Greek Salad

Pull Apart Basil Cheese Bread


1 pound round loaf of white bread, unsliced (Margaret used sourdough)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 T. minced basil leaves or a scant T. minced rosemary (Margaret used basil)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice bread in 1 1/2-inch slices, cutting down but not through the bottom. Turn loaf and make 1 1/2-inch slices going the other way, not cutting through the bottom. Place on a sheet of heavy duty foil.

Combine the melted butter, basil, garlic, salt and cheese. Pour over the bread (more like drizzle in between the slices, but some can sit on top, too). Seal foil securely around bread and place on baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until the bread is hot and the cheese is melted.

To serve, pull apart the breadsticks. If they were not cut close enough to the bottom, you may need to cut the bottom of the slices. (Margaret just pulled them off, leaving a bottom "crust" that you can eat, too.)

Serve with salad (Greek Salad) or pasta.

Greek Salad
serves 8


2 bunches Romaine, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 large tomatoes, wedged or cubed
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced (1/4" thick)
1 small red onion, cut in half and sliced (or Vidalea onion)
1 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (Margaret uses fresh Feta that comes in
water that is sold at the downtown Ames Fareway)
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup shaved fresh Parmesan cheese
Coarse black pepper
Dressing (Recipe follows)


Combine the Romaine, tomatoes, cucumber and onion in a large salad bowl. Top with the cheeses and olives. Sprinkle with coarse black pepper. Toss with the dressing just before serving. (You probably won't need all the dressing...Margaret used 1/2 to 3/4 of it.)

Serve with pork chops or chicken breasts, or by itself!



1 cup olive oil or salad oil (Margaret uses 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 salad oil)
1 T. sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. minced fresh oregano
2 T. fresh basil, minced
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
2 tsp. salt
3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Toss with greens just before serving.

* If using dried herbs, use 1/3 the amount of fresh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Veggie-Friendly Asian Lettuce Wraps

This recipe is from the Hungry Girl website, but I changed a few things. I've added my changes in red.

Veggie-Friendly Asian Lettuce Wraps
PER SERVING (3 wraps): 220 calories, 3.5g fat, 971mg sodium, 30g carbs, 8g fiber, 10g sugars, 21g protein -- POINTS® value 4* (If using ground beef, it will be more.)


6 medium iceberg lettuce leaves (or leaves from another round, firm head of lettuce)
6 oz. (about 1 3/4 cups) ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the ones by
Boca or Morningstar Farms), defrosted if previously frozen I used 1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, drained & chopped 1 6 oz. can
1 cup bean sprouts Didn't use
3/4 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms Used 4 oz. fresh button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions I used 1/4 cup only because I ran out!
2 tbsp. light/low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar (not packed)
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce (found in the Asian foods aisle)
1/2 tsp. sesame oil


To prepare sauce, combine soy sauce, sugar, chili garlic sauce and oil in a small dish. Mix well and set aside.

Cook beef in a skillet until done, breaking up bigger chunks (I used a pastry blender to break it up, but a potato masher would work well, too). (If using soy crumbles, use original directions which state: Bring a medium pot sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat.) Place all ingredients except for the scallions and lettuce leaves into the pot. Add the sauce, and stir. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add scallions, cook for 1 minute more, and remove from heat. Divide mixture evenly among the 6 lettuce "cups" and enjoy 'em wrap-style (fold 'n chew!).


I was able to make 3-4 servings out of mine with the changes I made.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Zesty Penne Pasta with Sausage and Peppers


3 cups penne pasta, uncooked (I used Barilla's mini penne)
1 pound Italian sausage (I used Jimmy Dean's)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 (26 oz.) jar meatless spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu Traditional)
1 teaspoon fennel seed
Dash red pepper flakes
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (I used grated since that's all I had)


Cook pasta according to package. Drain.

Crumble sausage into large skillet; cook and stir on medium heat 8 minutes or until cooked through. Add peppers; cook and stir 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in fennel seed, red pepper flakes and pasta sauce; cook 5 minutes or until heated through. Add cream cheese; cook 2 minutes or until melted, stirring frequently.

Add cooked pasta to sausage mixture; mix lightly. Top with parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 (large) servings.