Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Dip

You can either serve this inside the pumpkin for a cute presentation, or if you are like me and have two boys, the grosser the better. I serve this yummy dip every Halloween and it is usually the first item to go. It is slightly sweet, with a touch of pumpkin and spice. I always serve mine with Swedish Gingersnap Cookies found at World Market. If you have not tried these you are really missing out. They are thin crisp cookies with a mild ginger flavor. Warning: they are highly addictive!

Swedish Gingersnap Cookies from World Market


8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
1 Tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
8 oz cool whip

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and continue to beat on medium speed until well blended. Fold in cool whip and enjoy! Super easy and super delicious!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Italian Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

This chicken dish is one that I love to make when I am in a pinch for time. Honestly, it can be made in 29 minutes or less. (Take that Rachel Ray.) Kidding aside, my kids love this chicken and request it often. (minus the sauce of course) You can use the marinara that is left over from the spaghetti in my last post and turn it into chicken parmesan, or they can just dip it in the marinara if they really want to get crazy.


2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan reggiano (for the chicken)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tablesspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream (lighten by using half cream and half milk, or you can use half and half)
1 (4oz) jar chopped pimento peppers, drained
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan reggiano (for the sauce)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350°F

This recipe serves four so this is a trick I use to save money and time. The recipe requires that the chicken is pounded thin. In my opinion, it always ends up being way to big for one individual. I cut mine in half which leaves you with four thin chicken breast that are the right proportion. (applause inserted here)

You are now going to create a breading station. Make an egg wash by mixing the two eggs and two tablespoons of milk in a shallow dish. In another dish you are going to combine the bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of the grated parmesan cheese. Heat a large saute pan over medium/high heat. Make sure you let it get up to temperature before adding the chicken or you will get soggy chicken. May sure your chicken is dry by patting it with a paper towel. Next, dip the chicken into the egg wash and then into the breadcrumbs making sure to press them onto the chicken until completely coated. Place the chicken into the saute pan and brown on both sides for about 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a cooling rack that is on top of a cookie sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest on the cooling rack while you make the sauce. Wipe the saute pan out with a napkin. Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the cream and pimentos and bring to a boil and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the parmesan cheese, basil. Stir the sauce and continue to cook until it thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over the chicken and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spaghetti Two Ways

Marinara with Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Marinara with Spaghetti Noodles

This marinara recipe is delicious and versatile. I absolutely love roasted vegetables, however my kiddos don't always share in my enthusiasm. Cooking it two ways is not all that more time consuming and my husband and I can watch our waist line while the kids get what they like too. Spaghetti squash not only looks like spaghetti but I think it has much more flavor. No matter how you choose to serve it, it will be delicious.


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 small yellow onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 tablespoon Fresh Ground Black pepper
1 spaghetti Squash
1 small package spaghetti noodles

Preheat oven to 400°F

Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Drizzle cut side with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place squash, cut side down on baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove squash from oven and cool slightly, to handle. Then begin to shred the inside of the squash with fork to resemble spaghetti.

In a large saute pan, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions, carrot and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent and the carrots have softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes, onion, carrots, and garlic to a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the tomato mixture back into the saute pan and add in the wine, basil, salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Enjoy with either roasted spaghetti squash or cooked spaghetti noodles! (I figured those don't need directions) : )

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes with Toasted Pecans

The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and I am putting pumpkin in my pancakes! This is a wonderful change from the original pancakes we eat all year. It has a delicious sweet flavor with just a hint of spice and pumpkin. Perfect for a fall morning.


2 Eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Preheat griddle and lightly grease. Place chopped pecans on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes.

Combine eggs, buttermilk, butter, and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingriedients. Pour the dry ingriedients into the wet and blend until well incorporated, but do not over mix. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto heated griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes and the edges are set. Flip the pancakes and continue to cook the other side until cooked through.

Place on a plate and serve with syrup and chopped toasted pecans. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Apples

Nothing feels more like fall than crisp, cool mornings and the aroma of roasted acorn squash, sausage, apples and sage filling the house at dinner time. I absolutely love this time of year. Along with the weather changing, so does my taste in food. This is definitely something you can make ahead of time and bake off before dinner.


2 Acorn Squash, Halved Lengthwise and remove seeds
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 lb Italian Turkey Sausage (Regular Sweet Italian Sausage can be substituted)
1 Macintosh Apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 Small Yellow Onion
5 Baby Portabella Mushrooms Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic
3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Ground Dried Sage
1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Reggiano
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper To Taste

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place cut, and seeded Acorn squash on a baking sheet cut side up. Brush liberally with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is fork tender but still holds its form. The cooking time will vary depending on the size squash you have. Mine usually take around 40 to 45 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook and break apart sausage until no longer pink. Add the chopped onion, mushrooms, apple, and garlic to the sausage. Continue to saute until the apples are tender, then add the parmesan, brown sugar, and sage. Mix until throughly combined.

Scoop out most of the squash leaving a 1/4 inch shell. Add the squash pulp to the sausage mixture along with 1 Tablespoon of butter and gently stir. Stuff the squash halves with with the sausage and apple mixture and bake in the oven, uncovered for another 20 minutes. I like to sprinkle a little fresh parmesan on the top before serving.