Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lots of pumpkin being consumed at my house these days but once you open one of those big cans of pure pumpkin it gets you inspired to come up with ways to use it up! So far from one can we have had Pumpkin Orzo, Pumpkin Pancakes, and now Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies which my hubby can take to work this week in his lunch. I used a 1/2 cup of applesauce instead of the oil and did one cup of white flour and one cup of whole wheat as well as a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Both of my boys have been fighting a cold with those annoying runny noses so my oldest (who is 2) was having a hard time settling down for bed so I decided to have him come and keep me company in the kitchen while I made the cookies. It's rare to ever have him up late and I could tell he was really enjoying the atmosphere in the kitchen a night while playing with his dinky cars and trucks. We enjoyed some cookies once they were cool enough to eat. These were definitely memories in the making and I can't wait to enjoy more times  like this with both my boys.

'Bacon' & Egg Casserole

Ham & Egg Casserole
This was a great recipe to use up the rest of my leftover ham! It was inspired by the lovely and talented Lizzy over at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. I made my casserole in an 8" baking dish instead of 9"x13" since it was just my family of 4. I also cut the recipe in half and made it the night before too. We love breakfast at our house so this was perfect and tasted amazing with the pieces of ham on top. Thanks Lizzy!
4 cups seasoned croûtons
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
8 eggs, beaten
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups crumbled cooked bacon (I used a pound)
Diced red bell pepper

Place croûtons and cheese in a well greased 9 x 13 pan.  Combine remaining ingredients except bacon.  Pour liquid over croûtons and cheese.  Top with bacon.

Bake at 325º for at least an hour or till egg is set.

To make the night before, complete all steps except for topping with bacon.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, remove from refrigerator and top with crumbled bacon.  Bake at 325º for 1 1/2 hours or till center is set.  Serve warm.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pumpkin Orzo

Pumpkin Orzo w/ Pepitas 
Here is a recipe for Paula Deen's Pumpkin Orzo. We found it a little on the bland side when taste testing so I added some onion powder but I think it could have been given a bit more kick... maybe some more ginger or even some nutmeg? I had to double the recipe and adjust it since I needed enough for 6 people and 2 kiddos. It was a nice side dish to our slowcooked ham which had tons of flavor so I guess it all evened out in the end.


  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orzo


In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth, pumpkin, butter, honey, balsamic vinegar, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-heat, then add the orzo. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring frequently, until the orzo is tender, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Apple Squash Soup

Apple Squash Soup
This soup is a great starter to any meal or if you just want something to cozy up to on a chilly day. I used an organic squash from our family garden which I was very excited to serve for my big family get together this past weekend. This soup smelled amazing as it simmered. Try a new soup out, it might just become one of your favorites!

Apple Squash Soup

1 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil
1 onion chopped (or 1 tbsp of onion powder)
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 8 cups)
1 sweet potato peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup regular, 2 % or fat free evaporated milk

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a stock pot or large pot. Add onions and garlic and cook gently for 2-3 mins. or until soft and fragrant.

2. Add squash, sweet potato and apples. Stir to combine. Add next 5 ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 mins. or until squash is very tender.

3. Puree soup. Return to low heat for 5 mins. to warm up. Stir in evaporated milk. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes
Mmm...pumpkin! These are great pancakes made with whole wheat flour and applesauce instead of oil. They are perfect for any meal of the day and even make a great dessert. Top them off with some whip cream and toasted pecans and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Happy Fall... enjoy every moment of the season! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Toddler Naan Pizza & Smoothie

Pizza on Naan Bread
It should be easy to cook for the little ones, but they are days when they seem pickier than others. My youngest hasn't put much of a fuss up about his food yet, but my eldest is starting to realize that 'green' things are not tasty things. One type of food he sure does love is pizza. But I like to make their pizza on naan bread because it is a bit softer for them to eat (as long as you don't bake it in the oven too long). The best part of making their pizza is the toppings because that is where you can hide the greenest of green things that toddlers tend to not eat. Have fun with it!

Nothing goes better with pizza than a smoothie for dessert! It's a great way to use up ripe fruit too. Add a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt (any kind, any flavor), your choice of fruit (frozen fruit is perfect), and some juice (orange or apple work great) and blend! Add some whip cream for the dessert factor. Lunch with the kids isn't just a great meal for them, it is for me too!

Pizza-faced Leeland enjoying his smoothie :) 

Sloppy Joe Pot Pie

Sloppy Joe Pot Pie
I love re-inventing classic meals. I first came up with the idea after seeing this post from Picky Palate this morning for Chicken Parmesan Skillet Pot Pie and decided to come up with something similar with the ingredients that I had hanging around the kitchen. I had some extra lean ground beef and thought about doing a sloppy joe mix so I made that up first. I added a clove of garlic to the beef with some Italian seasonings and then once it was cooked up I added some pasta sauce (or you could use tomato paste) and then added some Club House Sloppy Joe seasoning from the package for the flavor booster. Once it was all thickened up, I added the mix to my baking dishes (or ramekins) instead of a skillet and topped if off with some grated cheese.

I unthawed a pie crust and my hubby made small circles to fit our apple shaped baking dishes. Make sure to put some slices through the dough to let the hot steam out and add some seasonings and Parmesan cheese on the top! Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins. at 350 degrees. These little pot pies were a hit at my house... try something re-invented at yours!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apple Garlic Chicken

Apple Garlic Chicken w/ Pan fried Garlic Potatoes & Carrots
It's not often that I come up with my own recipe worthy of sharing, but this one is definitely for the sharing! I really enjoy inventing recipes with leftovers or with fruit and veggies that are close to going bad. It's sad to have to throw things out and waste money so I try my best to use everything up. What is so great about the supper my hubby and I enjoyed this evening is that it only cost us about $1.12 each which was for the chicken legs. We had our own organic garden potatoes, carrots, parsley, and even the apple to create our meal.

Start off with some chicken (breasts, legs, thighs etc.) and marinate them in about a 1/2 cup of apple juice and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mince up one clove of fresh garlic and add that to the chicken with some salt, pepper, and dried (or fresh) thyme. Marinate them for a couple of hours then transfer to a glass baking dish with the remainder if the marinade. Peel and chop up into small pieces one apple and add it to the top of the chicken with some fresh (or dried) chopped up parsley. Bake the chicken at 350 degrees until the chicken is cooked depending on the cut you use (30-40 mins).

The apple and garlic really balanced each other out and the small apple pieces on top were crisp and sweet. I know the skin on chicken is said to be the more fattening part to eat, but eating this skin will be a treat. It is full of flavor!

Happy 1st day of Autumn... enjoy this recipe and share it with others!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pork Meatballs

Pork Meatballs
We don't usually buy ground pork, but for the price of only $1.36 for a package at our local meat market, my mind starting to wonder what I could create with it. I found a recipe for pork meatballs but improvised it a little bit. I used a 1/4 cup of Italian breadcrumbs instead of a piece of bread and about a tablespoon or 2 of grated Parmesan cheese. It also calls for a can of beef broth but I just used a beef cube with 3/4 cup of water to cook the meatballs in.  These meatballs were really moist and full of flavor. The gravy is just a Club House pork gravy mix from a package which added even more flavor. 

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 slice bread, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth


  1. In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Crumble meat over mixture and mix well. Shape into ten 2-in. balls. In a saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Place meatballs in the broth. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the meatballs; cook 15 minutes long or until meat is no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Whole Wheat Waffles

Whole Wheat Waffles
Today I borrowed my mom's waffle maker to try out some... waffles! I found a basic recipe online but I wanted to make them more healthful by using whole wheat flour and applesauce. It called for 6 tablespoons of oil so I did 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce. I also added in about a teaspoon of pumpkin spice for some seasonal flavor. Waffles can be enjoyed any time of the day so if you have a waffle maker and don't use it very much, dust it off and try this recipe out!

Ingredients - Makes 4 Waffles

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, separated


  1. Preheat waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, oil and egg yolks until mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
  2. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden; serve hot.

Bananas & Nutella

Friday, September 16, 2011

Molasses Sugar Cookies

Molasses Sugar Cookies
Another great cookie recipe from the "Taste of Autumn" cookbook. These cookies have the taste of a gingerbread cookie but the process is the same as a making sugar cookies. The entire batch I made didn't even make it to the freezer and my hubby said they were his favorite so far. Looks like I'll be making more very soon!

Applesauce Cookies

Applesauce Cookies
Here is an easy, nice and light cookie (even low in fat) that will have you enjoying everything that is Fall. My mom let me borrow her "Taste of Autumn" cookbook which is filled with delicious recipes that will be fun to try out. These cookies are moist with a kick of chocolate. Too make them more healthful, use whole wheat flour, margarine instead of shortening, and raisins instead of chocolate chips.