Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

This is the best pumpkin bread I've ever had and I was lucky enough to eat this at my friend Cami's house - you are a stellar cook Cami!! I'm making this today to make it feel more like fall even though the weather has been crazy warm. BTW you can make pumpkin muffins and mini muffins with this batter and I jotted down the times for both below.

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups vegetable/canola oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I use 5 cups for high altitude)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1 /2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 loaf pans ( or 2 loaf pans and 1 mini loaves stoneware pan).

In the bowl of a mixer combine pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Beat till mixed. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add the dry ingredients mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat till combined. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaves should spring back when lightly pressed.

For Muffins:You can add mini or regular chocolate chips to batter. Use paper muffin cups or grease and flour muffin pan and bake for 22-25 minutes at 350.

For Mini Muffins: You can add mini or regular chocolate chips to batter. Use paper mini muffin cups or grease and flour mini muffin pan and bake for 13-15 minutes at 350.

**I usually make 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, then take remaining batter and add about a cup of chocolate chips and make 24 regular size muffins. My kids love chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

We had this one for the first time tonight and it went over really well. The kids liked it better than the chicken tetrazzini I make because it does not have mushrooms (mushrooms are a great horror to my children). One note is that this makes a lot, in fact we will be having this again for dinner tomorrow because there are just so many leftovers. In the future I'm going to make the full recipe, but break it into 2 8x8 pans, cook one for dinner and freeze the other one.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

3 cup dry spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 cups cooked cubed chicken (I use the good meat from a Costco rotissery chicken)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 cups grated sharp cheddar, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 oz jar of diced pimentos, drained
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Fill a pot with water and add bouillon to it. Bring to a boil and once boiling add spaghetti and cook till al dente (about 11 minutes). Drain and set aside.

While spaghetti is cooking, in a large bowl combine cubed chicken, soups, 2 cups of grated cheese, green pepper, onion, pimentos, 2 cups of chicken broth, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add spaghetti to the bowl and mix well. Pour mixture into a 9x13 casserole and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of grated cheese on top and bake another 2 or 3 minutes until cheese melts. Take out of oven and let rest about 10 minutes before serving.

Freezer Meal directions:

Assembly: Prepare recipe as directed up until the baking part. Pour noodle mixture into 1 - 9x13 foil pan, or 2 - 8x8 foil pans. Cover with plastic wrap then 2 layers and foil and label with heating directions. Place remaining 1 cup of grated cheese into a freezer bag and place on top of casserole. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Heating directions: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove foil and plastic wrap and bake for 40 minutes at 350 (if baking from frozen baking time could be up to 2 hours). Sprinkle with 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese and bake an additional 2-3 minutes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deceptive Taco Meat

So I own and love the Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld. It really is a great idea and last fall I experimented a lot with hidden veggies in our dinners... The only thing was that the process of making the recipes was a bit labor intensive. So I've kept a few of the recipes as staples (the one's that were not complicated) and I've tweacked them to make 'em easier. So here's how I make our taco meat now. I just made this tonight to put in my freezer actually for a taco night a few weeks away. Anywho, here's the recipe:

Deceptive Taco Meat

1 pound ground beef
1 can petite diced tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
1, 2nd foods size, baby food butternut squash (can use 2 jars if you can get away with it without your kids noticing)
1 packet taco seasoning

Brown ground beef, drain. Add can of tomatoes with juice, butternut squash and taco seasoning. Mix it all really well and heat to boiling. Turn down heat and simmer for about 7 - 10 minutes, squishing the tomatoes with a spatula or potato masher to break them up as much as possible. You can either serve it hot or let it cool down and spoon into a freezer bag to freeze for another night.

My kids never realize they are eating tomatoes and squash in the taco meat and really you can hardly taste the difference with the taco seasoning overpowering all the veggie flavor. I've thought about adding some bulgur wheat to this too to throw in a little whole grain with all the veggie goodness. I'll tell you how it goes if and when I do this.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

I have now had these for breakfast 2 days in a row and I think they are great!! This recipe is from my good friend Corinne and I had these at her house yesterday morning. I liked them so much I made them at my house this morning. (This past weekend I had a getaway all by myself and stayed with friends on the East Coast - it was so fun and man do my friends cook good food!!) These pancakes are yummy and filling. I also plan on making hootenannies soon too - I had those for breakfast at another friends house - yum yum!!

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I added 1/4 cup more for high altitude)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1/4 cup oil (I used canola)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups water

Mix dry ingredients, add in wet ingredients, mix and you are ready to go.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Last night I hosted book club and the book we read was Rebecca, which is a stellar read in my opinion. Since the book is set in a big English manor house I decided to do English high tea treats. We had hot cocoa in the place of tea, cucumber tea sandwiches, chocolate covered strawberries, and 2 different kinds of loaf cakes (butter pound, and pumpkin strussel), but I can't post the cake recipes since I bought them from Costco :). I did make the cucumber sandwiches and they were scrumptious if I do say so myself.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (.7 oz) packet of dry Italian salad dressing mix
2 French baguettes, or pre-sliced appetizer bread (you can usually find it in the deli section)
2 medium cucumbers, sliced fairly thin
dry dill

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayo, and Italian dressing mix. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Cut baguettes into 1 inch diagonal slices. Spread the cream cheese blend onto each bread piece. Top with 2 over lapping cucumber slices. Sprinkle each sandwich with just a little dill and paprika. Serve immediately or refrigerate. The spread keeps for about a week in the fridge so you can make as many or few as you want and have them again and again!

Chicken and Rice Casserole

This is a kid-pleasing fave around here. I got the recipe from my friend and former neighbor Michelle. She brought this dish (as well as her fantastic orange rolls and a fruit salad) when Ben was born.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

3 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 packet dry onion soup mix
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup rice

Pour butter into a 9x13 pan. Add rice and chicken. Sprinkle with half the onion soup mix. Mix the cream of chicken with 1 cup of broth. Pour over chicken and sprinkle with the rest of the dry onion soup mix. Pour 2 more cups of broth over all. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 350. Remove cover and bake for 10-20 minutes more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Week of the Crockpot Part 4: Russian Roast

Another crockpot favorite around here. This recipe is from JaNae who I had the pleasure of getting to know through a Recipe Swap enrichment group in our last ward. I love the flavor of this roast and the sauce made from the strained juices is fab over rice.

Russian Roast

8 oz or 1 cup apricot preserves
8 oz or 1 cup Russian salad dressing
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
rump roast or eye of round roast
3 tablespoons ultra gel or 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a little water
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules or 2 cubes beef bouillon (crushed)

Place roast in crockpot with water. Cover with jam, dressing, and soup mix. Cook on low for 8 hours.

To make a sauce:
Strain the liquid from the crockpot into a saucepan. Add Ultra Gel or cornstarch and beef bouillon. Stir over med high heat until thickened. Serve beef and sauce with rice.