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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette


Although butternut squash is more of an autumn vegetable, this salad is refreshing in any season.  This recipe is a little different, but super delcious. The roasted butternut squash on a bed of fresh arugula, complimented by a perfect touch of sweet/sour taste from the vinaigrette makes for a mouth-watering salad.



1 (1-1/2 pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
Good olive oil
1 T. pure maple syrup
Salt and ground black pepper
3 T. dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss.  Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender.  Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Turn off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan.  Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Happy munching!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Autumn Chowder

This delicious chowder is not only good in Autumn, but also any time of year when the weather is chilly and you just want to wrap your hands around a warm bowl of soup.   


4 bacon strips, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 medium potatos
2 small carrots, chopped
1 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules 
**Can also use 1 cup chicken broth in place of water and granules**
2 cups milk
1-1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 teaspoon pepper
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cold water


In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove to paper towels. 
Drain, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings. 
In the drippings, saute onion until tender. 
Add the potato, carrot, water and bouillon. Bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender.
Stir in the milk, corn and pepper. Cook 5 minutes longer. 
Combine the flour and cold water until smooth; gradually whisk into soup. 
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. 
Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted. Sprinkle with bacon.

Happy munching!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Queen Anne Cake

A rich chocolate cake with whipped icing.  The icing has a 7 oz. chocolate bar shaved into it, so you know it will be delicious!


1 box Swiss Chocolate cake mix or 1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 (3 1/2 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
7 ounce Hershey's chocolate bar
1 (12 ounce) container whipped topping


Mix cake and pudding mix together.
In another bowl beat oil, eggs and milk.
Add to dry mixture and beat well.
Pour into 3 well-greased 9-inch cake pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-25 minutes.

Shave chocolate bar into small bowl.
In separate bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugars until very creamy.
Fold chocolate shavings into cream cheese mixture.
Fold in whipped topping.
Ice between the layers and on the top and sides of cake.
Leave top plain, sprinkle on chocolate chips, or garnish with chocolate curls.
Happy munching!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Apple Pull-Apart Bread

The blog has been idle for a while, but we are back with some tasty recipes for the fall weather.  This apple pull-apart bread is perfect to welcome the season.  We made the filling with freshly canned apples, and the taste was delicious.  Try it warm for a dessert or just eat it as an ooey-gooey snack!


3 c. All-purpose flour
1 package yeast
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. water
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. butter

** We used freshly canned apples for the filling ** 
6 small apples, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2/4 c. powdered sugar
3 tsp. half & half (or milk)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bread pan.
In a skillet, cook apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, and cornstarch until mixture is thickened.  Set aside to cool.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles; remove from heat.  Add the butter and stir until melted; set aside.
Put flour, yeast, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl; mix well.
Add the water, egg, and milk/butter mixture.
Mix until dough forms into a ball; knead for an additional five minutes.
On a well floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle.
Evenly spread apple mixture over dough.
Cut dough into even squares (we got 20 squares from our dough)
Carefully stack pieces of dough onto each other forming four piles (use a spatula to make stacking easier)
Place piles of dough into prepared pan, laying them sideways.
Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown.  Immediately remove from pan.
Mix butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar into a bowl.  Add half & half; stir until you get a creamy consistency.
Pour on glaze and allow glaze to set for a few minutes.
 Pull apart the bread and enjoy!

Happy munching!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Chicken Florentine

This recipe (adapted from the original recipe by Paula Deen) has our favorite combination of characteristics: easy, healthful, mouth-watering, and budget friendly!  One of our chief culinary consultants named it a winner.  We hope you think so too.


4 (5-ounce) skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced (can use almost any type of fresh sliced mushroom)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (5-ounce) container baby spinach
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free milk
Pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray.
Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. 
Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until browned, about 6 minutes. 
Transfer the chicken in one layer to the baking dish.
Add the oil to the skillet along with the mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. 
Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.
Whisk together the flour with 2 tablespoons of the milk in a 2-cup glass measure until smooth. Stir in the remaining milk, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg until blended. 
Add the milk mixture to the spinach mixture in the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and begins to thicken slightly, about 2 minutes. 
Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese.
Bake, uncovered, until bubbly around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Happy munching!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mushroom, Spinach, and Smoked Gouda Sandwiches

The original recipe is from Panera Bread, and we put our own twist on it.  We used an artisan wheat berry bread, and we also found that grilled chicken would be excellent on the sandwich.  This sandwich would be delicious with tomato bisque soup!  A panini press works well for making an authentic panini, but you can also just use a griddler. 


8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
10 ounces baby spinach
2 scallions (white and light green parts), trimmed and chopped
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
8 slices of bread (a hearty or thick bread works best)
sliced Gouda cheese
4 teaspoons olive oil


Put mushrooms in large skillet with a splash of water. 
Cook over medium heat until mushrooms shrink and give up most of their liquid, about 5 minutes. 
Add spinach, scallions, oregano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook just until spinach wilts and liquid is gone, 3 to 4 minutes. 
Remove to a plate and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.
For each sandwich, put a slice of cheese on a slice of bread. Top with 1/4 of the mushroom mixture, another slice of cheese and the other slice of bread. Press down gently to compact sandwich.
 Working in batches, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. 
When hot, add sandwiches and cook until lightly browned and cheese melts, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove and cool slightly, then cut on a diagonal.

Happy munching!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brownie Trifle

Simple and beautiful!  Who can resist chocolate?  This is a wonderful dessert for almost any occasion.


1 package brownie mix
1 (3.9 oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (12 oz) container frozen whipped topping
1 bar Hershey's chocolate or chocolate chips


Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares. 
In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. 
Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain. 
In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. 
Shave chocolate or sprinkle chocolate chips onto top layer for garnish.  Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

Happy munching!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baked Ziti

This surprisingly easy Italian dish will please almost anyone.  With the right amount of spices and the perfect blend of cheeses, it is sure to be a success.  Experiment with spices and garlic to make the perfect tomato sauce.  Molto delizioso!


12 oz. ziti
28 oz. spaghetti sauce (We use Prego Traditional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. ricotta cheese
10 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 lbs. ground beef (can also use ground beef and Italian sausage)
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste


Cook pasta.  
While pasta is cooking, brown beef/sausage and drain. 
If desired, add minced garlic and salt to spaghetti sauce to taste.
Add spaghetti sauce to beef mixture.  
In bowl, combine eggs, ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 c. Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  
Drain pasta and add to cheese mixture and toss to coat.  
Spoon 1/3 of meat sauce into 13x9x2 pan.  
Top with 1/2 of pasta mixture.  
Repeat layers.  
Top with remaining meat sauce and remaining Mozzarella cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until sauce bubbles.

Happy munching!

Thick, Fudgy Brownies

We love brownies in our family. However, we are not a big fan of homemade brownies. They often are too flat or too dry.We were surprised by this recipe from Tasty Kitchen. It makes a lot of deep, fudgy brownies. We hope you all enjoy making (and eating!) these as much as we have.


3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, melted or 1 cup of oil
4 Tablespoons water
4 whole eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla Extract
2-⅔ cups all-purpose flour
1-½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoons salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, set aside.
Combine sugar, butter, and water in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; stir this into the sugar mixture. Spread into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Happy Munching!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Asparagus with Dijon Vinaigrette

A flavorful summer side dish!


2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed off


In a medium bowl, whisk mustard, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Saute asparagus in a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper for 5-6 minutes or until tender.
Transfer asparagus to a serving dish and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
Can be served warm or chilled.

Happy munching!