30 September 2011

Yesterday was my husband's birthday.  A couple of years ago I started the tradition of making him a special birthday breakfast.  Every year I scan my "to-make" recipe collection (now more easily done thanks to Pinterest!) for a yummy fall-themed breakfast.  This year, since his birthday was on a Thursday, I also got to choose a fun fall-themed dessert to make him and I thought, why not throw a drink in there too?  I enjoyed making my Summer Sangria so much that I thought it would be fun to make a fall version.  I saw an autumn sangria recipe on BHG and changed it up to suit our tastes and to make it my own.

Autumn Sangria

2 fresh figs or 1 cup dried figs, halved
1 fresh plum, pitted and halved
1 cup dried apricots (6 oz. package)
2 tbsp molasses
1 (750 ml.) bottle Moscato or other sweet white wine
3 cups apple cider
2 shots Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
Sprite, to taste, optional

In a 3 quart glass container combine fruits and molasses; stir until evenly coated. Slowly pour in wine, apple cider, and rum.  Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours, stirring fruit occasionally.

To serve, add Sprite, if using.  Stir gently with spoon.  

Makes 8 servings.

If you think this sounds good, let me tell you, it's even better than you think it is!  It's amazing.  I wasn't sure if it was going to need the Sprite or not, and it actually doesn't.  It's really good without it.  We had it both ways.  The Sprite adds nice carbonation and will help "stretch" the servings if you're making it for a crowd.

The original recipe didn't call for apple cider or spiced rum.  It called for sparkling apple cider, but I could only find grape at the store.  Then I saw the apple cider and thought that apple cider mixed with Sprite would be better than sparkling apple cider.  And I had a coupon for the spiced rum, so I thought, why not?  The flavor pairs perfectly with everything else, and the added undertone of vanilla was really good!

 This was before we added the Sprite (we didn't actually add it to the pitcher; just our individual glasses).

 Such a pretty combination of fruits!  I had never used figs before.  I bought some fresh ones on Tuesday, but unfortunately they didn't make it to Thursday.  The store I went to on Thursday only had the dried kind, but that worked just fine.  "Dried" is kind of a misnomer because they aren't really dry at all; they are really sticky and gooey!  I used dried apricots only because I had a package in my pantry that I had no plans for.  You can use a fresh apricot if you like.  You can also use dried plums or prunes if you like.  I like how this can be made using dried fruits from the pantry, especially if you're making it in the dead of winter when decent fresh fruit can be hard to find.

The fruit all covered in molasses.  I never would have thought to use molasses in a drink.  I wasn't sure how it was going to taste, so I only used half of what the original recipe called for.  I think it adds sweetness and some color.

Pin It

This recipe was shared at:
Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands
Fusion Friday at Jane Deere
Tastetastic Thursday at A Little Nosh
Turning the Table Thursday at Around My Family Table
Freshman Friday at Home Savvy A to Z

28 September 2011

I'm so excited to share this recipe with you.  This is the mother of all autumn chicken dishes.  Chicken drumsticks roasted to golden brown perfection with a hint of apple cider flavor.  It's an adaptation of a Family Circle recipe.

Apple Cider Drumsticks

1 (12 oz.) can apple juice concentrate, thawed
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt
8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp brown mustard
4 servings cooked brown rice

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine apple juice concentrate, cider vinegar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add chicken; shake to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°. Place a rack in a roasting pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Place the chicken in the roasting pan.  Roast for 50 to 60 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 170° on an instant-read thermometer. 

Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat to low.  Baste chicken with marinade three times during cooking.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, and mustard. Gradually whisk in ¼ - ½ cup of the marinade.  Place mixture in a small saucepan and heat until thickened.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

Serve the chicken with the brown rice and gravy.

Makes 4 servings.

Wow, this chicken is so good!  You really do not even need the gravy, but I included the recipe anyway.  I had to change it because the way I made it, it was too sweet.  I used all of the remaining marinade for the gravy, but next time will only use a little bit.  Of course, my husband loved it, but he has a freakishly large sweet tooth!

Aren't these drumsticks just the prettiest things you've ever seen?  Everytime I pulled them out of the oven to baste them, I was like, "Oh my gosh! They're so pretty!"  Basting them with the boiled marinade gives them the nicest browning and also gives them just enough flavor that you don't really need a gravy.  If your drumsticks are browning too much but aren't up to temperature yet, place a large sheet of foil on the oven rack above them until they are cooked through.

My one-year-old could not shovel this chicken into her mouth fast enough.  I think she ate almost two drumsticks by herself!  And it's not because she inherited Daddy's sweet tooth (I know this because she snarfs Veggie Straws, but won't touch their sweet counterpart, Apple Straws).  

I used my recipe for baked brown rice.  Since both the rice and the chicken needed the oven, I baked the rice first, then set it on the stovetop covered up in foil.  Since my stove vents out the front, the rice stayed warm while the chicken cooked.

Pin It

Shared at This Chick Cooks Linky Party, Savvy Homemade Monday#9

27 September 2011

I am excited to announce the winners of my first-ever giveaway.  The winners were chosen via Random.org and they are:

Comment #15: Mammamayor
Comment #32: tyler + linds

Congrats to both of you!  Please send me an email at lesa@edesiasnotebook.com with your name and address. Please do so by Thursday at noon (Eastern).  If I don't hear from you by then, I will chose another winner.

Thanks so much to all of you who entered my giveaway!

As of today, Friday the 30th at 1:45 pm, Mammamayor has not contacted me with her name and address, so I have gone back to Random.org and chosen another winner. The result is:

Comment #11: Liz Main

Congrats, Liz!

26 September 2011

I used to avoid making meatballs.  I didn't like it.  I guess I thought it was too much of a pain to roll each one out; the same reason I don't like making cookies.  But over the last year or so, I seem to have gotten over that.  Now, every time I try a meatball recipe, we love them so much that it doesn't seem like such a pain to make them anymore.  First there were Apple Cheddar Turkey Meatballs, then Asian Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Peanut Sauce.  Now these Honey Garlic Meatballs.  I made these with beef, but they can be made with turkey or chicken if you prefer.  This recipe is an adaptation of one I saw at Meg's Everyday Indulgence, who got it from a Taste of Home cookbook, The New Appetizer.

Honey Garlic Meatballs

2 eggs
¾ cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp salt
2 lbs. ground beef, turkey, or chicken
4 garlic cloves, grated
1 tbsp butter
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup honey
3 tbsp soy sauce

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk. Add the bread crumbs, onion powder, and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.  Roll into 2 tbsp balls.  Place on two greased 15” baking pans. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or skillet, saute garlic in butter until tender. Stir in the ketchup, honey, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Remove meatballs from oven and, using tongs, transfer meatballs from baking sheet to saucepan.  Carefully stir to evenly coat. 

Makes 3 dozen meatballs.

Not only is the honey garlic sauce on these meatballs amazing, but the meatballs themselves are really good.  I tried one before saucing them, just to see how it tasted plain, and I was surprised at how good it was.  Probably the most soft, tender, pillowy meatball I've ever had.  If you are looking for a good basic meatball recipe, forget the sauce and use this one.  If you are making them as plain meatballs, you might want to add a little more seasoning to them, like some Italian seasoning, or something like that.  

The original recipe called for ½ cup diced onion instead of the onion powder, but I cook for a man who is quite picky about onions in things and I knew that 15-20 minutes in the oven wouldn't be enough to thoroughly cook the onion pieces.  The powder was a great substitute in this recipe.

The original recipe also called for making the balls smaller.  Meg said to shape them into 1" balls, but since we were having them for dinner, instead of a party appetizer, I made them bigger.  Use 1 tbsp instead of 2 if you are making them as appetizers, and then decrease the oven time to 12-15 minutes.  If you are making these for a party, bake and sauce them as directed, then throw them into a slow cooker set to "warm".

The honey garlic sauce is really tasty.  It's just the right amount of sweet and garlicky.  

My husband has only one complaint whenever I make meatballs: I don't make enough.  Normally I would have halved this recipe, but being the good wife that I am, I heeded his advice and made all 2 lbs.  It made a lot of meatballs, 3 dozen.  Finally he was satisfied!  We ate our fill at dinner, and there were enough leftover that we both had them for lunch the next day.  This is one of those instances where too much is better than not enough!

 Tray #1: 20 meatballs.  I have a 2 tbsp measuring spoon; comes in handy for things like this.

Tray #2: 17 normal-sized meatballs and one tiny one!

I served these with rice and steamed carrots.  They were a big hit.  I guess I am fully on board with meatballs now!

Don't forget; today is the last day to enter my Taste of Home magazine subscription giveaway.  It ends early tomorrow morning, so enter today!

Pin It

23 September 2011

(Sorry about the quality of the pictures in this post. It was raining the evening I made this and there was not much light to work with!)

This is the newest addition to my meatless main dish rotation.  I'm tagging it as Mexican, though it's more accurately Tex-Mex.  Chili beans (also called ranch beans) are combined with cheese and rolled into tortillas and baked.  It's an adaptation of one I saw at Simple Daily Recipes.

Baked Chili Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

4 (16 oz.) cans pinto beans in chili sauce
8 (10”) flour tortillas
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Lettuce, for topping
Sour cream, for topping

Preheat oven to 350º.

Pour the beans with their liquid into a large bowl.  Lightly mash, leaving about half of the beans whole.  Stir in 1½ cups cheese.  

Spread a little bit of the bean mixture evenly in the bottom of a 9x13” casserole dish.  Fill each tortilla with a generous amount of bean mixture.  Roll tortillas up and place seam side down in casserole dish.  Use remaining bean mixture to spread over the tops of the burritos.  Cover all the enchiladas with the remaining cheese.

Cover and bake 25 to 30 minutes . Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with lettuce and sour cream.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Mmm, this is good!  It's a nice change from our usual Mexican dishes.  I got the medium beans, which was the perfect level of heat for us.  If you like things hot, get the hot beans.  How can you go wrong with beans and cheese?

 Just look at all that beany cheesy goodness!

I just barely fit 8 tortillas in my pan.  They were as snug as bugs in rugs!

I wasn't sure what to put as far as how many servings this makes.  I could only eat one, but I could see how someone could maybe eat one and a half, so I left it at 6-8.  Beans are pretty filling.

They definitely require some toppings to offset the richness.  I chose lettuce and sour cream.  The lettuce provided a nice crunch to change up the texture, and the sour cream provided the coolness.  I ate some of the leftovers with tortilla chips; that was really good too.

Don't forget to check out my giveaway for up to 4 chances to win a one-year subscription to Taste of Home magazine!  The contest ends Tuesday morning, so head over there now and make your entries!

Pin It

22 September 2011

In honor of posting my 300th recipe and reaching over 200 fans on my Facebook page, I am excited to announce my first-ever giveaway!  Since I have never done this before, you will have to bear with me.  Let's see if I can do it right!

The giveaway is a one-year subscription to Taste of Home.  I love Taste of Home and have found many great recipes in it.  I love how their recipes aren't too fancy and tend to use a few simple ingredients to create a nice meal.  

I will be giving away a one-year subscription to TWO lucky readers.  Don't fret if you already subscribe; if you win, you can gift your subscription to a friend or relative and you are covered for their next birthday or Christmas (they don't have to know it was free)!  The winners will get to choose who receives the subscription, either themselves or a friend/relative.  Here are the giveaway rules:

  1. To enter, leave a comment telling me what your favorite food magazine is.
  2. For a second entry, become a follower of this blog through Google Friend Connect (in the right sidebar). Leave a separate comment telling me you became a follower or are already following me.
  3. For a third entry, become a fan of my Facebook page.  Leave a separate comment telling me you have done so.
  4. For a fourth entry, share the link to this giveaway on your Facebook page. Please tag Edesia's Notebook in your post. Again, leave a separate comment telling me you have done so.
That's four chances to win!  The contest will be open until Tuesday, September 27 at 7:00 am Eastern.  The winner will be chosen by Random.org. You can comment as "Anonymous", but you must include your name in your comment for it to be valid. Any Anonymous comments with no name will be deleted. Contest is open to U.S., Canadian, and International residents. This contest is not sponsored by Taste of Home or any other party; I am sponsoring this giveaway myself.

Good luck to all of you!

21 September 2011

Everybody loves wings.  Making them is still fairly new to me.  My first time was in August when I created my Crispy Orange Teriyaki Wings.  I had bought extra wings when I was getting ready to make that recipe, in case they didn't turn out the first time and I had to try again.  Thankfully, they did turn out the first time, so I had an extra 2 pounds of wings in my freezer waiting for another adventure.  I saw Lucinda Scala Quinn make these wings on her show Mad Hungry last fall and I knew that would be the next wing recipe I would try.  These aren't your typical, sauce-covered wings.  They are delightfully crispy and crunchy, but in a lighter way than those that are deep-fried.

Crunchy Baked Sesame Chicken Wings

20 chicken wings (about 2 lbs.)
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup flour
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
Hot sauce, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or coat the pan with 2 tsp vegetable oil.

Place the chicken wings in a large bowl. Add the eggs and toss to coat. In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds, flour, bread crumbs, salt, paprika, and garlic powder. Dip each wing into the sesame mixture to fully coat. Place the coated wings side by side on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, flip wings over, then increase the temperature to 400° and return wings to oven. Cook until the wings are golden brown and sizzling, 20 to 30 more minutes. Immediately remove the wings from the baking sheet while hot. Serve with hot sauce.

Makes 5 servings as a main dish, 10 servings as an appetizer.

I changed very little about Lucinda's recipe.  I decreased the eggs (it called for 3) because I had a lot of it leftover in the bowl when I was done.  The paprika in my recipe was cayenne pepper in her recipe.  I don't keep cayenne on hand as I usually use chipotle instead, but I thought paprika would be a good substitute in this recipe.  I recommend the smoked variety, but any kind would be fine.  The only other ingredient I changed was that the garlic powder was minced fresh garlic.  I was kind of afraid it would burn, and I thought the powder would incorporate with the other breading ingredients better.

The original recipe didn't call for flipping the wings halfway through, but mine got really super dark on the side they were laying on.  They didn't burn, but one side was remarkably darker and crispier than the others.  It was actually really tasty, but next time I will flip so they get more evenly browned.

When you are breading the wings, don't go overboard trying to coat them.  If you put too much coating on them, it won't brown properly and will stay kind of powdery.  Just give them enough to coat; that's plenty.  I really loaded them up with coating and then started running out towards the end.  I noticed when I pulled them out of the oven, that the ones with a thinner coat of breading browned up better than the ones where I really piled it on.

We loved these wings.  They would be good dipped in just about anything, I think, but we devoured them just plain.  The coating is so crisp and crunchy and the meat inside is moist and tender.  These would be great for parties and would be a bit less messy than traditional wings.

You'll notice I used wingettes, which have the wing part removed.  But you can use traditional wings too.

With football season upon us, wings will be in high demand, so stand out from the crowd and bring these delicious little gems.

Pin It
Shared at: This Chick Cooks Linky Party, Made it on Monday at Lark's Country Heart, Fusion Friday at Jane Deere, Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen

This recipe was featured on

20 September 2011

Did you hear about this $5 Slow Food Challenge?  It was a challenge for people to cook at home on Saturday, September 17, for less than $5 a serving.  To be honest, this wasn't much of a challenge for me.  Not a challenge at all, actually.  I would bet that most (if not all) of the recipes I make and the recipes on this blog cost less than $5 a serving.  We live on one income, so $5 a serving seems kind of high to me!  But I decided to play along and chose this Cooking Light recipe because it looked really good and the cost per serving was included with the recipe so I didn't have to do any math!  The cost of this recipe is around $2.49 a serving, so less than half of the suggested cost for the challenge.  Pretty good!

Mushroom and Sausage Ragu with Polenta

1½ tbsp olive oil, divided
8 oz. Italian sausage
½ cup chopped onion
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, grated
1 (8 oz.) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
3½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup uncooked instant polenta
1 tbsp butter

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1½ tsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan; drain off fat.

Add 1 tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sausage and tomato sauce; bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tomato sauce has reduced.  Combine cornstarch and 1¼ cups broth.  Stir into mushroom sausage sauce. Reduce heat to medium; simmer gently for 15 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

Bring remaining broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add polenta, stirring well. Polenta will firm up quickly; add more stock if it gets too thick.  Stir in butter.  

To serve, place some polenta on a plate or a bowl and top with the mushroom sausage sauce.  

Makes 4 servings, $2.49 per serving.

I did change a few things about the original recipe.  It called for chunks of tomatoes instead of the sauce, but I didn't want chunks in it (hubby is not a fan of tomato chunks) and I kind of wanted it to be saucier anyway since it was being served over polenta.  So I added some broth and thickened the sauce with cornstarch.

I also used instant polenta instead of regular.  The regular takes about 20 minutes to cook while the instant takes about 20 seconds! I know this is a "slow food" challenge (oh the irony!), but I always have instant polenta on hand so that's what I used.  I also used regular tomato sauce, but I suggest using the no-salt-added kind because, since it reduces, it ends up being a tad on the salty side. Next time I will use the no salt kind.

This dish was a huge hit in our house.  My husband, who doesn't usually care for mushrooms too much, couldn't shovel it in fast enough, and my three-year-old loved it too.  It was really easy to throw together and makes a great weeknight meal.

Pin It

19 September 2011

Today I am posting my 300th recipe!  I can't believe it!  There are a full 300 recipes on this blog.  I have really stepped up my posting this year; in fact it was less than 6 months ago that I posted my 200th recipe.  I just love sharing recipes with all of you!  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for all of the support you have shown me: the lovely comments here on my blog posts, the comments and questions you post on my Facebook page, the shout-outs, and all the times I hear in person, "Lesa, those recipes you post look great!"  As a stay-at-home-mom, I don't get out much and have very little life beyond my two little ones, so being able to share and interact with a wide community of people about something I am really passionate about really means a lot to me.

I'm sure you are all looking at the picture above and are wondering when I am going to stop rambling and being sappy and get to the recipe.  Well, this is a great recipe to have as my 300th.  It's one that has been popping up constantly on Pinterest with the name of Pumpkin Crunch Cake.  While I am still mourning the end of summer, I decided it was time to get on with things (namely, fall) and embrace the fall recipes.  I chose this as my first fall recipe of 2011.  While I am sure there are multiple variations of this recipe floating around, the one I followed was from the blog The Picky Apple.  Are you familiar with dump cake?  This is usually a "cake" made by layering dry cake mix with some sort of fruit filling (like canned pie filling).  I had never made one before, but when I looked at this recipe, I realized that this is pretty much a pumpkin version of that.  It has a pumpkin pie-like custard on the bottom, then the sweet cake mix layer in the middle, and it's topped with a crunchy layer of pecans.  It's divine!  I decided to rename it to reflect how it's made.

Pumpkin Pecan Dump Cake

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 (18 oz.) box yellow cake mix
1 - 1½ cups chopped pecans 
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease bottom of 9x13″ pan.  

Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour mixture into greased pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture and top with pecans.  Drizzle melted butter over pecans.  

Bake 40-50 minutes or until edges brown.

Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

This is such a great dessert for fall.  It was our first time having pumpkin anything this season, and it tasted so good!  While I love summer and am grudgingly being dragged into fall, I have to say that fall is my favorite "food season".  Be prepared for lots of recipes involving apples, pecans, maple, pumpkin, squash, etc.  I have a full Pinterest board of fall recipes that I can't wait to get to.  This recipe was a great intro to fall food!

I took some of this dessert to my friend Sarah who watched our girls on Friday.  She reported that they loved it too.  It's got that great contrast of textures going on, with the creamy custard and the crunchy pecan layer.  So delightful.

Welcome, Fall!

I can't wait to discover my next 100 recipes!

Pin It

Featured at: Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands, Fusion Friday at Jane Deere, This Chick Cooks Linky Party, Made it on Monday at Lark's Country Heart

This recipe was one of 5 out of 225 featured on This Chick Cooks!

17 September 2011

This is a simple recipe that "dresses up" store-bought biscuits.  We had soup the other night and I love serving bread with soup.  Instead of doing the usual French bread, I decided to try something new.  I got the recipe from the blog Big Bear's Wife and changed it slightly.

Parmesan Garlic Knots

10-12 refrigerated buttermilk biscuits 
¼ cup canola oil or melted butter
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
½ tsp garlic powder
1½ tsp dried oregano 

Preheat oven to 400°.

Open the canned biscuits. On a dry work surface or cutting board, take one biscuit at a time and roll each biscuit into a long rope. It might work best just to roll it out in your hands.  Gently tie the biscuit rope into knot and tuck the ends under.  Place knots 2” apart on a greased baking sheet. 

Bake at 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the canola oil (or butter) and the seasonings.

Remove the knots from the oven and place them on a wire rack with a paper towel underneath it.  Brush bread knots with the seasoning mixture while they are still hot. 

Makes 10-12 knots.

Mostly what I changed was the amount of garlic powder.  It originally called for three times that amount, and it was too much.  We love garlic, but it was really sharp and "bite-y" and it was pretty much all we could taste.  So next time I will use far less garlic powder.

They still got eaten, though.  They are really good.  I think it would be really easy to change the seasonings to suit whatever meal you are serving them with.  For instance, if you are serving them with an Italian dish, use your favorite Italian seasoning instead of the garlic and oregano.  You could also do a sweet version with cinnamon and sugar.  I love recipes that are really versatile like that.

With soup season just over the horizon, I will probably be making simple bread recipes like this quite often.  Hello comfort food season!

Pin It
Shared at: Made it on Monday at Lark's Country Heart

16 September 2011

This is going to be a short post because I have a very busy morning/day.  But I really wanted to share this soup recipe with you.  I made it last night.  It's perfect for chilly winter evenings!  It's an adaptation of a Cooking Light recipe.

Roasted Garlic Potato Soup

5 whole heads garlic
2 bacon slices, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
2 lbs. baking potato, finely diced (about 6 cups)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sweet curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 cup 2% milk
¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.

Do not peel completely, but remove the outermost paper skins from the heads of garlic.  Slice off the top ⅓ of the heads.  Drizzle them with olive oil and place each one individually on a square of foil and loosely wrap.  Place foil packs in the oven and roast until garlic is completely tender, about an hour.  Remove from oven; let cool enough to handle, then squeeze all of the garlic pulp out of the skins.  Place them in a small bowl and set aside.

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp. Add onion and carrot, and sauté 5 minutes. Add potato, broth, salt, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until potato is tender; remove bay leaf.

Combine garlic pulp and 2 cups potato mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return purée to pan; stir in milk, and cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and stir in chopped thyme.

Makes 7 servings.

There really isn't too much to say about this soup, except YUM!  Keep your potato dices small.  I reduced the amount of stock because the soup was a little thin for my tastes.  Don't let the 5 heads of garlic scare you; the roasting makes it so mellow and delicious, not sharp at all.

I love soups during cold weather and different variations of potato soups are probably my favorite.  I know I'll be making this one frequently during the long winter.

Pin It

Paulchen from Paulchen's Food Blog chose to make this recipe when she was assigned my blog in the Secret Recipe Club for October 2011.  Click on the button below to check out her post!
Secret Recipe Club

Shared at: Recipe Round-Up at Gooseberry Patch and at Jane Deere's Fusion Fridays.

14 September 2011

I'm on a pizza kick lately.  I made another one last night, not necessarily because I was craving pizza, but because I had some stuff in the fridge that needed to be used up and it just so happened that I thought they might make a tasty pizza.  I was right.

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pizza

1 batch pizza dough, enough for a 15” pizza
¾ cup alfredo sauce
1 cup cooked chicken, diced
1 cup broccoli florets, lightly steamed
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425°.

Roll out pizza crust onto a pizza pan.  Spread the alfredo sauce over the crust and top with chicken, broccoli, and cheese.

Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Makes 4 servings.

Disclaimer on the pictures: I made the crust wrong, so that's why it's really "bready" looking.  I forgot that my pizza crust mix made enough dough for 2 pizzas, so I didn't divide it in half before pressing it out onto my pan.  It didn't hit me until it was halfway done baking, and by then it was obviously too late!  It was still good, there was just a little more crust than usual.  I called it "deep dish"!

To make sure the broccoli wasn't too crunchy on the finished pizza, I steamed it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  I drained the florets, then laid them on a kitchen towel and gave them a light squeeze to get out any excess moisture.  It didn't want the broccoli to make my pizza soggy.

The biggest bummer about not dividing the pizza dough was that now I can't make another pizza dough later this week.  That was the last of the Pampered Chef crust mix that I won as a door prize.  I don't think they make it anymore, so I will have to find a new pizza crust mix.  What kind do you use?  If you have a kind you really like, please leave a comment and let me know.

Pin It       Shared at Turning the Table Thursday at Around My Family Table

13 September 2011

Today is a bittersweet day.  Today I am dropping my oldest daughter off for her first day of preschool.  It's her first-ever first day of school.  Hard to believe she is starting school already!  Seems like just yesterday I was carrying her around on my hip and teaching her words.  Now I can't get her to stop saying words!

Aside from dropping Lena off at school (and subsequently sobbing as I drive away), today is a busy day.  There is a district pastors' conference being held at our church and I volunteered to make muffins.  I also have to take my younger daughter to an appointment.

I was nervous to try a new muffin recipe for the conference, as my last two muffin attempts were less than stellar.  They tasted okay, but they were NOT pretty.  They both had the problem of the tops baking totally flat and all spread out.  What causes that?  I am not a baker, so when something goes wrong, I have absolutely no idea what caused it or how to fix it.  What makes some muffins bake into lovely poufy "muffin tops" while some spread all the way out and look like plates sitting on top of the muffin base?  If you can help me out with that, please leave me a comment.

Despite these last two failures, I decided to risk it and made a new muffin recipe yesterday for the pastors.  I saw this one on MyRecipes and gave it a shot.  As you can see from the pic, they turned out pretty well.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

1¼ cups quick-cooking oats
½ cup flour 
⅓ cup whole wheat flour 
⅔ cup light brown sugar
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp canola oil
Zest of half a lemon
2 eggs
1½ cups frozen blueberries
1½ tbsp flour
Sugar in the Raw

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place oats, flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine milk, oil, lemon zest, and eggs in a separate bowl.  Add to flour mixture; stir until just moist.

Toss berries with 1½ tbsp flour and gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle tops with Sugar in the Raw. 

Bake at for 18 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

This is my adaptation; I changed it slightly.  The original recipe made 16 muffins, so I changed it to make 12.  I think all muffin recipes should be written for 12, but that's just me.  The only other thing I changed was that the oats were supposed to be pulsed in a food processor, but I liked the idea of whole oats better.  Since they are the quick-cooking kind, they aren't too hard or chewy in the baked muffin.

Hopefully the pastors like these muffins!

Pin It

12 September 2011

This is my second month participating in the Secret Recipe Club, a group of food bloggers who secretly make  one of someone else's dishes and post them all on the same day at the same time.  I really had fun last month, choosing a recipe to make, making the recipe, then reading about everyone else's recipes.  It's a great way to "meet" other bloggers and check out some great blogs that you never knew about before.

This month I was assigned the blog Through The Bugs On My Windshield.  Like last month, this was a new blog to me.  The author is Suzanne, a woman who likes to cook, likes to travel, and loves her family.  Her blog is a mixture of recipes, travel pics (hence the name), and old (and new) family photos.  It's really quite interesting!  While browsing Suzanne's recipes, I found a few that I would like to try.  She has a really tasty looking Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry, a gorgeous Cipollini Onion and Potato Pie, and probably because fall is just around the corner, her Roasted Pumpkin and Seeds was very tempting too!  But in the end I decided to go with a potato dish, her Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, a dish she nicknamed "Little Pieces of Heaven".  I don't care for rosemary very much, and I was planning on serving these potatoes with a Greek-style main dish, so I decided to use fresh oregano instead.

Oregano Roasted Potatoes

2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp fresh oregano
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425°.

Wash and dry potatoes, dry them, then cut into quarters. Place them in a large bowl.

Add olive oil to and toss to coat the potatoes. Add the salt and toss again.  Combine the oregano, shallot, and garlic and stir well until the potatoes are evenly coated. 

Line a large pan with non-stick aluminum foil and place the potatoes on the pan.  Make sure they are all in a single layer.

Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until the wedges become golden brown, flipping them over every 20 minutes or so. 

Makes 4 servings.

I really didn't change much else about Suzanne's dish.  I love that she included shallots; I love the flavor they bring to the dish.  The combination of oregano, shallot, and garlic is amazing on potatoes.  

Suzanne recommended using non-stick foil, which I have never used before.  I didn't have any in the house, so I just used regular foil.  I did have some problems with the potatoes sticking, so I will second Suzanne's recommendation and will look for that non-stick foil the next time I go to the store!

Even with that problem, the potatoes turned out great.  My husband couldn't get enough, my three-year-old loved them, and since they didn't contain dairy, my one-year-old gobbled them down too.  They were a huge hit.  I served them with my Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers, so it was kind of like a Greek version of burgers and fries night!

Thanks, Suzanne, for a great dish!

Pin It   Also shared at  Jam Hands

10 September 2011

Here is a little something sweet for your Saturday morning!  I saw this recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything and I knew I had to make it.  We love peanut butter desserts at our house, and this is certainly no exception.

I had made dessert cheeseballs before, but from mixes.  At Hallmark they sell these little packages of dessert cheeseball mix that you combine with cream cheese and butter.  I've have made them twice before for our annual holiday open house.  But I never would have thought to make one from scratch.  This was really easy to make and I probably don't have to tell you how yummy it is!

Peanut Butter Cheeseball

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar 
¾ cup creamy peanut butter 
3 tbsp brown sugar 
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Graham crackers, vanilla wafers, and/or apple slices for dipping

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar in large bowl until blended. 

Spoon onto a large piece of plastic wrap; bring up all four corners and twist tightly forming into a ball shape.

Freeze for an hour and a half or until firm enough to keep its shape. Place mini chocolate chips in flat dish. Remove plastic wrap from ball and roll ball into chips to completely cover, pressing chips into the ball if necessary.

Place ball on serving dish; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until almost firm. (Can be made ahead. If frozen overnight, thaw at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.) Serve with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or apple slices for dipping or spreading.

Makes lots of servings.

The only thing I changed was the coating.  The original recipe called for half regular chocolate chips and half peanut butter chips.  But I loved it with the mini chocolate chips.

The nice thing about this recipe is that, except for the mini chocolate chips, it uses ingredients I almost always have on hand.  No, wait, maybe that's a bad thing!

This recipe was shared at

Pin It

09 September 2011

I tried a new burger recipe last night.  I saw these burgers on A Zesty Bite and knew I had to make them.  We had put feta on top of burgers before, but I never thought to put them inside the burger.  Genius.

The picture isn't so great, because I find burgers very difficult to photograph.  This is one of those who-cares-what-it-looks-like-because-it-tastes-so-awesome recipes.  Although, it is kind of pretty in person.  You can't go wrong with vibrant green flecks running through something.

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
1 tsp Greek seasoning
¾ cup feta, crumbled
¼ cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
4 hamburger buns

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly combine.  Divide into four patties.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Place patties in pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side, until cooked through.  Serve on buns.

Makes 4 servings.

The burgers are really good.  They are super duper moist.  I topped mine with mayo and thinly sliced onion.  Red onion would have been prettier, but I didn't have any.  Tzatziki sauce would be really good on these burgers, I think.

My husband said these are quite possibly the best burgers he's ever had.  He loved how juicy they were.

The original recipe called for fresh spinach, and I'm sure that would be good too, but I didn't have any on hand.  Frozen spinach is something I always have, so it was easy to pull it out of the freezer and use that.  While I cooked these on the stovetop, I think they would be great on the grill as well.  In fact, I was kind of wishing I had done them that way.

I made a special side dish to go with these burgers, but I can't tell you about it yet because it's this month's recipe for the Secret Recipe Club.  Come back Monday morning to read all about it!

This recipe is linked up at 

Pin It