Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Bread

A taste of Autumn!

Pumpkin flavored anything!  It just seems to take over my brain at this time of year.   I can't imagine having a fall season without baking something with pumpkin in it...usually, it's more than just one delicious pumpkin recipe that will get made!

This is your basic Pumpkin Bread recipe, so if you like to experiment with it,  you can add some really yummy goodies to the batter.  Such as chocolate chips, crushed pineapple, coconut, cream cheese.  There's an endless supply of extras for this delicious bread.  We like it plain, then spread pieces with my Cream Cheese Spread with Pineapple.

I love to spread the cream cheese, pineapple filling to make little sandwiches out of this bread as well as the Cranberry Orange Nut Bread.






Ingredients:

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 cup. coarsely chopped nuts (opt.)
2/3 cup raisins (opt.)

Heat oven to 350'F.  Grease and flour two 9x5x3" loaf pans.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. 

Stir in eggs, pumpkin and water; beat until well mixed. 

Measure flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a separate bowl and stir until combined.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, beating until smooth.   Stir in nuts and raisins, if desired.

Pour into  prepared pans, evenly dividing the batter between the two pans.

Bake at 350'F. for about 60-70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pans by inverting onto a rack and tapping the bottoms. 

Slice and serve plain, with butter, or cream cheese (Add crushed pineapple to the cream cheese for a real treat.)


Cream Cheese Spread:

4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained (opt.)

Blend all together in a small bowl, using a spatula.  Slice bread into half slices and spread with cream cheese mixture; top with the other half and make little sandwiches.   So good!
If you don't like pineapple, just leave it out, it will still be delicious!


"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  -Jeremiah 29:13

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

A great breakfast or snack!

This sweet & tangy bread has been at every Thanksgiving dinner since I got the recipe from an elderly woman when I was a young bride.   I've never forgotten the advice she gave me while making this recipe.  She said, "Never use anything to mix this, except a wooden spoon!"   Now, I didn't understand at the time, but I took her advice, and to this day, I never use anything but a wooden spoon to mix it.   The funny part is...I still don't know why!  Haha!

This was another one of my mother's favorites, and she looked forward to it every year.  She also loved it when I made a filling with cream cheese, crushed pineapple and turned this and pumpkin bread into little sandwiches.  Oh, yum, I'm getting excited for the holidays again!

This is a bread you can make weeks ahead of time and freeze until the big day.  Pumpkin bread is another one of the "make aheads" on my holiday "to do" list!   Baking these ahead of time cuts down on the stress of the week before the event.


Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup shortening or butter
3/4 cup orange juice
1-2 Tbsp. freshly grated orange rind
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350'F.   Grease a 8 1/2x4 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 

Cut in shortening with a fork, until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. 

Combine orange juice and rind with egg.

Pour all into dry ingredients, mix with a "wooden spoon" just to dampen.  Don't over mix.

Carefully fold in chopped cranberries and nuts.

Spoon into a greased loaf pan, spreading corners higher than center.

Bake at 350'F. for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


"If God sends us on stony paths, He provides strong shoes."  -Corrie Ten Boom

Monday, October 27, 2014

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs

This really should be called Heavenly Potatoes


I saw this on "Everyday Italian" with Giada De Laurentiis.  So, I tried it out for our Thanksgiving dinner last year, and oh my goodness!  These potatoes were so good, my granddaughter and I were licking the bowl, like it was cake batter!

The flavor is reminiscent of twice-baked potatoes, but a whole lot less work.  In fact, this recipe is easy and delicious.   The family all loved them.  I'll definitely be making these again this Thanksgiving.  

I might even add a little bit of chopped bacon too...maybe. 


Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. butter
4 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1"cubes
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400'F.  Coat a 13x9" baking dish with 1 Tbsp. butter, set aside.

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling, salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well.

Mix in the milk and melted butter. 

Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the parmesan.  

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. 

Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan in a small bowl to blend.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes.

Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.

Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Serves 6-8


"You're never without hope, because you're never without prayer."   -Max Lucado

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fully Loaded Marshmallow Brownies

Oh my goodness!
 


I can't recall when I found this recipe, but it's beyond words!  Rich, chewy brownies and yummy gooey marshmallows.  Throw in a little caramel ice cream topping and peanuts...how can that be wrong? 

Then, drizzle a warm buttery, chocolate frosting over it and it's the most "over the top" brownies I've ever had.
 
I worked as a hostess for a local restaurant and loved to bring in goodies for the staff and management.  I took these in one day, and the whole staff raved about them, as they finished them off within minutes.  It's so nice to be appreciated...haha!

You may want to use a fork to eat these, or just lick your fingers when you're finished with one...uh, never mind, you'll be going back for seconds anyway! 

 
 Ingredients:

2 (18oz. boxes brownie mix (use your favorite)
1 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 10 oz. package mini marshmallows (If you like more, go for it!) 
1 cup peanuts, dry roasted are fine (salted or unsalted)

 

 
Frosting: 


 
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla 

 
Preheat oven to 350'F.   Grease or spray a jelly roll pan.
 
Mix ingredients as directed on the back of the box.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.
 
Remove and immediately drizzle caramel over the top of the brownies.  Top with peanuts and marshmallows.   
 
Return bars to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or until marshmallows begin to brown.   Remove and immediately drizzle with chocolate frosting.
 
 
For the frosting:
 
While brownies are baking, melt butter, cocoa and milk. 
 
Remove from heat when melted.  Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla, beating with a hand mixer until smooth.


"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you."  -Deuteronomy 31:6
 
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin-Streusel Coffee Cake

Moist cake with a yummy pumpkin filling!

Let me start off by confessing, "I am bananas about pumpkin!"  I know it's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me. 

This coffee cake is one for the books...and the perfect fall dessert.   The cake is tender and moist, with a pumpkin pie-streusel layer, then topped with more cake and finally, the rest of the streusel sprinkled over the top.   It's just fabulous in looks and flavor!

I've listed this under desserts, but, how good would a piece of this cake with a cup of coffee be for breakfast?  I'm thinkin' "pretty good!"  Wink!



Ingredients:

Cake:
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille  :)
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sour cream

Filling:

1 3/4 c. pumpkin
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


Streusel Topping:
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 325'F.   Spray a 9x13" pan.

Combine ingredients for Streusel Topping; set aside for later.

Cream butter, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla; add 3 eggs beating well. 

Combine flour, baking powder and soda. Add to butter mixture alternating with sour cream.

Combine pumpkin, 1 egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and pumpkin spice.

Spoon 1/2 of batter in a prepared 9 x 13 pan.  (It's thick and looks like it's not enough, but it will rise up into a beautiful, moist cake.)  Sprinkle 1/2 of streusel over batter.  Spread pumpkin mix over streusel.  Spread remaining batter over pumpkin.  Sprinkle remaining streusel on top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Serves 12.   Refrigerate left-overs, if you have any!


"As Christians, we should be very careful on how we live...our life is a permanent sermon."  -Annonymous

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Corn Bake Casserole

An immediate favorite every time!

I know it's been a few days since I posted, but we were in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in NC.  There's no reception where we were staying and all I can say is "ya'll gotta try it!"  Just get away and leave the technology behind, even for just a few days!  Ahhh...peace and quiet.

Anyway, let's get back to one of my favorite holiday recipes.  The first time I ever had this was at a church function, when we lived in New Jersey.  So, I guess it isn't just a southern dish, although I do believe they've claimed it!  Ha!   Either way, it's a wonderful addition to any meal.   It tastes great with turkey, ham, chicken...yes, everything!

You'll be a star at the next holiday or family gathering with this dish, and there won't be a kernel left in the pan.  And, oh, you may want to have the recipe handy, you'll have to share.

My family always requests it, and since it's so easy to prepare, I always make sure not to disappoint!   Just throw everything into a bowl, mix and pour into a casserole dish. 


Ingredients:

1 (81/2 oz. pkg.) corn muffin mix
1 (17 oz.) can creamed corn
1 (17 oz.) can whole kernel corn (lightly drained)
1 (8 oz.) carton of *French Onion Dip (made with sour cream)
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)

Preheat oven to 350'F.  Lightly grease 2.5-3 qt. casserole dish or 7.5x11 pan.

Mix everything together in a bowl until well blended; pour into a lightly greased casserole dish. 

Bake at 350'F. for 50-60 minutes or until top is golden brown.

*If you don't like using the French Onion Dip, just use plain sour cream.  It's all a matter of taste.


Hold on and keep the faith. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding."   -Proverbs 3:5


Friday, October 17, 2014

Cinnamon-Butterscotch Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy & Oatmeal go together like Cookies & Milk!


Well, by now you all know I enjoy baking for my family and friends, but sometimes, there's just no time to get all the ingredients together to bake from scratch.  So, I always have cake and cookie mixes in the pantry.  They really work well, and when you "doctor" them up, can taste as close to homemade as...well, homemade!

That was the case this morning, as I wanted to make a couple of different kinds of cookies to send to my grandchildren in New Jersey.  I had a pouch of Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookies that were just screaming to be played with, and so I did.

I just followed the directions on the pouch and added some goodies from the pantry.  I was out of coconut, or that would have been added too!  Now, don't you think that's another great flavor?  I'm so happy with me today..haha!




Ingredients:

1 (17.5oz) package of Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix

Mix according to package directions.

Then add some goodies:

1 cup cinnamon chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Bake at 375'F. for about 8-10 minutes, following the package directions.

And that's it!   This has got to be the easiest recipe I've posted yet...so there's no excuse for you not to try it!  "wink!"








"The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles." - Psalm 34:17








Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Amazing Chicken Casserole

Comfort food at it's best!

I used Tri-color veggie penne pasta.
Well, Ms. Paula Deen has done it again!   Her recipes are always delicious and this one is no exception.    

It's also great because you can use any pasta or egg noodles, and it will still turn out scrumptious.  The ingredients cook together in a perfect marriage of flavor and texture.  It just doesn't get any better than this.

I made a few changes to cut back some calories, like lite sour cream, low fat milk, and I used veggie penne pasta...still great tasting and a "little" lighter for us waist watchers.   I've watched my waist do some crazy things over the years.  LOL!

I wanted to use a combination of sharp cheddar and swiss cheeses, but the hubby brought home mozzarella instead of swiss, so my combo ended up being 2 cups sharp cheddar and 1 cup swiss.   It was still delicious, and he must have really like it too, because he had three helpings!  


Ingredients:

2 cups cooked chicken, cut in small bite-sized pieces
4 cups pasta, cooked and drained, approximately 2 cups uncooked (penne, cavatappi, rigatoni all work well)
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup sour cream (lite)
1 cup milk (1%)
3 cups cheese, grated (Cheddar, Colby Jack, Swiss or a combination) – save a half cup for sprinkling on the top
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the inside of a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes) stirring occasionally. 

Add the flour and whisk together for about 1 minute (this will allow the flour to cook just a little before adding the other ingredients). 

Add the sour cream and milk, and continue whisking until the mixture has thickened. 

Remove from heat and add all but ½ cup of the cheese. 

Add the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (to taste). 

Add cooked pasta and chicken.  Pour mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top of the casserole and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and the sauce is bubbly. 

Remove the casserole and let it sit for about 15 minutes prior to serving.


"I have told you these things that you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."   -John 16:33

Monday, October 13, 2014

Frosted Banana Bars

You'll go bananas over these!

I don't know what it is about bananas, but they either get eaten up in one day, or stay in the bowl until they turn brown.  Today, they are brown!   Well, I can't just throw them away, now, can I?  And you know, over-ripe bananas are the best to bake with, so I found myself a new recipe to try. 

When I read what the frosting was made with, that cinched the deal...cream cheese!   I can't resist a good cream cheese frosting.  So now, my house smells wonderful and we'll be having these delicious Frosted Banana Bars for dessert tonight.  Uh, actually, I haven't made dinner yet, so maybe we'll skip it and just go for the Frosted Banana Bars instead.

Dinner is over and we tasted this yummy new dessert!   They were moist and flavorful, and my husband said they were a keeper.  I'll be making these again soon! 


 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350'F. 
 
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla.
 
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt;  stir into creamed mixture just until blended.
 
Pour into a greased 15x10x1" baking sheet.
 
Bake at 350'F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.
 
 
Frosting:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar (add 3 cups first, then slowly add the rest if necessary)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 
In a small bowl, beat softened cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. 
 
Frost cooled bars. 
 
I'm thinking some chopped walnuts might be really nice sprinkled over the top too.


"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him,  for God is our refuge." - Psalm 62:8 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apple Pie Filling Coffee Cake

For breakfast or...anytime!
The aroma of apples and cinnamon...oh yes!
Who doesn't like a nice piece of coffee cake for breakfast, or anytime, for that matter.   Especially for overnight company...it's just a real treat!
So, instead of running to the grocery store and buying donuts or coffee cake,  just make this one up in no time.  Your guests and family will love you even more for it!  Mine did!  Haha!

This recipe is from Kraftfoods.com and is so versatile, you can change up the pie filling to any flavor you like.  The original called for cherry, but, since we're heading into fall, I just thought the apple pie filling would be great to add to it.   Apples, cinnamon!  I get excited just thinking about this time of year, it's my absolute favorite!
Ingredients:

Can't wait to make this again!
1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 tsp.  ground cinnamon
1 cup sour Cream
3   eggs
1/4 cup water
1 can  (21 oz.) apple pie filling

Glaze:
1 cup  powdered sugar
1 -1 1/2 Tbsp. milk

Directions:
Heat oven to 350ºF.

Beat first 5 ingredients with mixer until well blended.   Pour into a greased and floured (or spray with Pam) 13×9-inch pan; top with spoonfuls of pie filling.  The cake will bake up over the filling.

Bake 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 min.

Mix sugar and milk; drizzle over cake. Cool completely before slicing.

Note:  If glaze is too thick to drizzle, add milk, by teaspoonfuls, until of desired consistency.
Substitute:  Change the flavor of the coffee cake by preparing with your favorite pie filling, such as blueberry, apple or strawberry.


"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."  -Proverbs 18:24

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Bars

A must for us chocoholics!

If you remember, right from the beginning, I warned you about my chocolate addiction.  I just can't help myself.   If I see a recipe with chocolate (especially dark chocolate) I know pretty soon, I'll be trying it out. 

It's been over 25 years since the first time I made this one, and it has never failed to delight everyone who indulges in this moist, fudgy dessert.

This is such a quick cake and what's great about it is there's no waiting to frost it.  You actually spread the icing on while the cake is still hot.  But, you do have to wait until it cools to eat it.  Patience is a virtue, and you'll be rewarded for yours.  I promise.

Carefully follow the frosting directions, or it may have that gritty, sugary feeling.  When done right, it's rich, fudgy and looks pretty because it's completely smooth.


Ingredients:

1 pkg. chocolate fudge cake mix (regular size)
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 tsp. almond extract
2 eggs (beaten)

Frosting:  Prepare while cake is baking.

1 cup white sugar
5 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels


Heat oven to 350'F.   Spray 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan or 13 x 9-inch pan with flour no-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, cherry pie filling, almond extract and 2 eggs; mix by hand until well blended.   Pour batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool only slightly.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine sugar, milk and butter. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat. 

Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Pour over warm cake; spread evenly. Cool completely before cutting. 


"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast."  Isaiah 26:3

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ham & Cheese Rolls

A great snack, ready in 25 minutes!

My son could never eat anything with sugar, or even the taste of sugar...no fruit, juice, tomato sauce (that's a killer for an Italian Mama)...he just couldn't bear the taste  When he was a baby, we couldn't wait until he could talk and tell us why he didn't like it.  He would taste sweets, like his birthday cake, and just start gagging.  Now, if that isn't a blow to this girl's ego, I don't know what is!

When Halloween came around each year, even our neighbors stocked him up with Slim Jims, chips Doritos and such!  They all knew David couldn't eat candy, yet wanted to include him in the fun.

Finally, the day came when we asked him what it tasted like.  You'll love his one word answer, "Yucky!"   Yup, that's all we ever got out of him.  He just could never explain why, and to this day, he doesn't eat anything with even a hint of sweet in it.
So, this is how I started coming up with snacks for him, besides chips, pretzels, popcorn and the usual.  

I always felt badly that I could please my girls with dessert, but nothing homemade for David.  This recipe is one of the few that I started making just for him, but it turned out that everyone else loved it so much, I've had to double it every time!

Hope your family enjoys this, whether they like sugar or not!  

Oh, by the way...he has perfect teeth!  Haha!


My son and his beautiful wife, Linda
Ingredients:

1  (80z.) can refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
8 thin slices of cooked ham (I like the imported)*
8 thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese (I like to use shredded)*
Mustard (any type that you like)

Heat oven to 375'F.

Divide dough into 4 squares, pressing seams together to prevent leakage.

Spread with mustard (as if you were spreading on bread for a sandwich).  Now layer half the ham and cheese.

Roll like a jelly Rolland press dough to cl0se seam and openings at both ends.

Repeat with second half of dough and fillings.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for 3-5 minutes before slicing into pinwheels about 1" thickness.

*The beauty of this recipe is that you can substitute the ham for other cold cuts, and the cheese for your favorite.  Have fun with the fillings and enjoy.


"The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need."  -Psalm 23:1

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dee's Orange Jell-O Salad

A nostalgic trip back to the 70's...


Sometimes the simplest things to make are the most delicious to eat.  That's what this Orange Jell-O Salad is all about...simple and delicious! 

My cousin, Dee, lived downstairs from us at my Aunt Rose's house when I was a baby.  She's the one I entrusted my newborn son to, when I had to have surgery for gall bladder.  Bless her for taking such good care of him and my three year old daughter.  Actually, I almost didn't get them back...she just wanted to keep them! 

She gave me this recipe back in the 70's, after she served it at a family cookout.  I've made it every year as part of our Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone looks forward to seeing it on the menu.  It's great to make the day before, because it stores well and helps cut down on the last minute rush in the kitchen before company shows up.

It's also easy to convert to a low sugar version by using the sugar-free jello, whipped topping and pineapple in it's own juice.   

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it's called a "salad", which means it's healthy, right?  And it does have cottage cheese in it.  But, in full disclosure, I think this can easily be labeled "dessert".   That can be our little secret, though.


Ingredients: (Full recipe is enough for 10-12 people or more.)  

1 (16 oz.) container cottage cheese, small curd
1 (6 oz.) pkg. of orange Jell-O (dry)
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained (best if drained overnight)
1 (11 oz.) can Mandarin oranges, drained (save a few for garnishing top)
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip

In a large bowl, mix together the cottage cheese and dry Jell-O.

Add drained pineapple and Mandarin oranges (except the ones saved for garnishing top)

Fold in Cool Whip. 

Garnish top with reserved Mandarin oranges and cherries, if desired.

Chill until ready to serve.  Refrigerate leftovers...if you have any!  ;)

Here's where you can use your imagination and add other goodies to this "salad", like marshmallows, coconut, pecans, just to name a few.  We just like it in it's original form, and it disappears really fast.  


"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us; so that in Him we might  become the righteousness of God."       -2 Corinthians 5:21

Monday, October 6, 2014

Baked Rice and Mushroom Casserole

So simple and so delicious!


Here's another recipe from a dear friend, who is a wonderful cook.   I've made it for years.  In fact, it's one of those recipes that's great for company or a casual family dinner.

You'll get a lot of compliments and requests for this recipe.  It happens every time I make it.  And you can dress up any "plain" meal with this super easy recipe, because it tastes great with chicken, beef, pork...basically, everything!

Be careful, though, you may fall asleep while making this, it's that easy!  This can be prepared in minutes, then everything is baked together in a 325'F. oven. 






Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 small can mushrooms (chopped)
2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
1 can French Onion Soup

Preheat oven to 325'F.

Mix all ingredients into a bowl, and pour into prepared 1 1/2-2 quart casserole dish.

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.


"Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world."   1 John 4:4

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Chickpea, Pasta and Spinach Soup with Rosemary


Soup season is here!


Here's another great recipe from my friend, Linda!  She lives a couple of hours from us, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and when we visit, it's always a great time together...and good eats!

This soup has a unique flavor and beautiful layers of textures, because of the tomatoes, chopped chickpeas and spinach.  If you don't have fresh rosemary, be sure to add much less of the dried, but, I do encourage you to use the fresh.  It's just better that way!

Your pasta can be any short, dried pasta; elbows, Orzo, D'Italini, twists!  You can choose your favorite.  Whatever will fit in a soup spoon!





Ingredients:

3 c. chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 c. small, short dried pasta
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or about 3/4 tsp. dried
salt to taste
3 c. (3oz.) baby spinach

1 (3-4 oz.) piece parmesan cheese

Pour stock into pan, add tomatoes.  Add 1/2 c. chickpeas (mash with potato masher)

Add remaining chickpeas, bring to a boil; add pasta, chopped rosemary and salt to taste.

Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the pasta is al dente; 6-8 minutes.

If soup cooks down too much, add 1-1/2 c. additional stock or water.  Return to a simmer, and add spinach.  Cook until wilted. 


From the mountaintop...can't wait until our next visit!
Season with salt if necessary.

Can be made a day in advance, and frozen up to 3 months.  Makes 4 servings.

When ready to serve, peel thin strips of parmesan over each serving. (Optional)  But tastes great!

Makes a great lunch with a sandwich on the side.


"In Christ alone, my hope is found."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Creamy Ranch Pork Tenderloin

Oh my goodness, this was good!
I love using pork tenderloin in so many dishes; roasts, grilled, breaded, sauces and now, this new one I found while looking for a quick and easy dinner idea.

 
The online recipe used pork chops and a crockpot, but I didn't have time, since I started dinner later in the day.  So, I changed things around and had a wonderful meal in about an hour and a half.
 
Ranch salad dressing and cream of chicken soup combine to make a perfectly seasoned sauce to serve over golden, juicy pork chops and rice. A quick and easy recipe for a weeknight meal, this pork chop recipe will become a keeper.
 
My family loved it and I'll definitely make it again!   Doing it with a tenderloin made enough for 4 people. 

I'm a little salt sensitive, and felt like there was a tad too much of it in this dish.   I will make it again, and the only thing I would do differently is to use a low sodium soup, since there is a lot of salt in the dressing.  You can always add a little salt, but you can't take it out once it's there.  


Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 pork tenderloin (approx. 4.5 lbs.) 
1 pkg. ranch dressing (dry)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I didn't have this, so I substituted cream of chicken)

1/2 can water
 
Pour about 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet, and brown the whole pork tenderloin on all sides.
*I seasoned this with a little granulated garlic and black pepper (no salt!)

Once browned nicely on all sides, place on cutting board and cut into thick (about 1 1/2") slices.  Return them to the pan and brown on both sides. 
*This step is important because it gives the meat more flavor and a beautiful color to the gravy.

In a bowl, mix the soup, water and the dressing mix until blended.   Pour over the pork and carefully stir, to mix with the juices already in the pan.  

*I took the pork out for a minute to stir all the mixtures together well, then returned them to the pan.

Now, cook on low heat for about 45 minutes or until the pork is tender.  It doesn't take long, and is so worth the wait!


 "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." 1 Corinthians 2:5