12.13.2010

Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Saturday night there was the usual chill in the air. And, I wanted something warm. I'd put the Mayhem Maker to bed and stressed myself out looking for her pretty princess shoes. Then it dawned on me, I had the house to myself and complete control of the remote. I mean, really, how often does that happen?
I left the 3 loads of laundry to be folded for another night and decided to curl up on the couch with Morris & Murphy. But, I needed a drink. A drink that would warm me from my toes to my nose. I thought...hhmmmmm.....maybe a cup of tea. But, that just didn't even sound appealing to me. Hot chocolate? Too sweet. A cup of coffee? As much as I love coffee, I just didn't feel like that would really cover what I was looking for. Homemade Peppermint Mocha? *ding, ding, ding* We have a winner!

So Tasty, So Good, and really, so, very, very, VERY simple! And, it sure did hit the spot!

Homemade Peppermint Mocha
4 Tbs Cocoa Powder
3 Tbs Sugar
1 cup Milk
1 cup STRONG coffee
Splash to Taste CoffeeMate Peppermint Mocha creamer

Whisk together all ingredients, except creamer, in a small sauce pan on medium to medium low heat until hot. Turn off heat and stir in creamer to taste. Pour into your favorite mug, top with whip cream (if you have it on hand) and

Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday: December 13 - December 19th

It's going to be a busy week. Just trying to get organized for Christmas - which is easier said than done. And, hopefully, we can get our tree up this weeks. It's really one of the last few pieces of our holiday decorating puzzle.

Don't forget - you can let The Townsend Bakery take the STRESS our of your Holiday DeSSERTS. Just click here to place an order!

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Cheeseburgers
Tater Tots
Peas

Tuesday
Crock Pot Chili
Cornbread

Wednesday
Pancakes
Sausage
(we have this new pancake pan that makes bear faces! We gots to try it out!)

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
Homemade Baked Potato Soup w/ Ham

Sunday
Molly's 1st Night home after spending her Fall semester in Wales -
We will be having dinner with my parents!

Enjoy!

12.10.2010

Jazzed Up Gingerbread Muffins

Sometimes, when I bake, I don't want to drag out the flour, the sugar, the baking soda and who knows what else I need to make so tasty morsel of decadence. Sometimes, I'm so pressed for time, that that doing whats in the previous sentence is just not an option. And, sometimes, because I do almost all of my baking with Madaline, its just easier to take the easy way out. That means, letting her crack and wisk the eggs, while I open a box of mix. And, while, it kills me at times, there really is NOTHING wrong with it. And, there is a way that I put my mind at ease. I jazz up a said box mix. I've been known to add fresh grated carrots or chopped up apples to a spice cake mix. No matter how pressed for time I am, I almost always take a few minutes to swirl in some peanut butter or mix chucks of good quality chocolate into boxed brownie mix. And, I 99% of the time, will make a homemade frosting, glaze or gnache for cakes or cupcakes if I've taken a short cut and used a box mix.
Case in point - These fantastically delicious, moist, dense, spicy mounds of muffin heaven. The gingerbread is an old standby (thank you Betty Crocker) and, well, the gnache. Yeah. That's a new one to me. I'd be totally fibbing if I said that I'd come up with the idea of the white chocolate cream cheese gnache all on my own, but I didn't. I totally used the recipe from Vanilla Sugar. I adore her site - and I have a LOT of her recipes in my "when I have more time I need to try this" pile. And, when she posted her recipe for the gingerbread cupcakes with white choco-cream cheese gnache, I knew IMMEDIATELY what Madaline and I would be making on Thursday night.
And, oh....they are good. So, very, very, very good. So, take a couple of hours (well, about 18 minutes to bake the muffins + cooling time + gnache making time) and treat yourself. You'll be happy you did. And, if you really want to take it over the top? Brew yourself a pot of the most decadent coffee you have in the cupboard. Between the muffins and the coffee, all the troubles from your day will just disappear.

Enjoy!

12.08.2010

Place Your Orders NOW!

* Office Parties*
*Teacher Gifts*
*Cookie Swaps
*Holiday Table*
*Hostess Thank-You*Time Savers
*

Cookies/Candies/Barks
Each order contains 16 pieces of the item selected
1 - Monster Cookies – a chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookie with M&M’s
2 - Peppermint Bark – delicious dark and white chocolate with crushed peppermint candies
3 - Oreo Truffles – crushed oreo cookies mixed with homemade cream cheese frosting coveredin chocolate
4 - Caramel Brownies – rich fudgy brownies swirled with caramel
5 - Pecan Pie Squares – pecan pie you can hold in your hand (please add $5 per order for these special treats)
6 - Graham Cracker Toffee – crispy graham cracker and buttery toffee covered chocolate
7 - Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls – peanut butter mounds covered in chocolate

Choose any 4 items - $35.00 Choose any 5 - $40.00
Choose any 6 items - $45.00
All 7 holiday goodies - $50.00

Holiday Snacks
Each order contains 12 servings (1/2 cup each)
Caramel Corn – Traditional caramel covered popcorn
Muddy Buddies – (also known as “white trash” or “Christmas Crack”) chocolate peanut butter coated crunchy cereal dusted with powder sugar
Puppy Chow – chocolate peanut butter coated popcorn dusted with powder sugar
$8.00 per order or $20.00 when you order all three

Show Stealing Cheesecakes
Each cheesecake serves 8-10 people
Classic Cheesecake rich, smooth, velvety NY style cheese cake with a graham cracker crust $25.00
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake same as our classic cheesecake studded with chocolate chips $30.00
Oreo Cheesecake We use this favorite childhood cookie both for the crust and in the cake $30.00
Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake – chocolate cookie crust, a layer of peanut butter filling, peanut butter cup studded cheesecake topped with a rich hot fudge sauce and garnished with more peanut butter cups – This is the ultimate holiday dessert $35.00


To place an order:
call 607.331.1280 or email TheTownsendBakery@gmail.com
Will ship any goodies except Cheesecakes
Buyer must pay shipping in addition to any charges
All shipping will be done via USPS 2 day Priority Flat Rate Shipping

Local Orders (Watkins Glen/Elmira/Corning/Ithaca)
Payment due in full upon delivery of your goodies
50% deposit is required on all orders over $40.00
Must take delivery no later than December 23rd
Last Day for to place orders is Monday 12/20
Cash/check/Paypal Accepted

Shipped Orders
Order must be paid in full when placed
Last Day to place shipped orders is Saturday, 12/18
Cash/check/Paypal Accepted

All items are 100% homemade. Goodies are made in a kitchen in which contains nuts, milk, and other potential food allergens. If you have any allergies or sensitivities to these products, please keep this in mind.

12.06.2010

Menu Plan Monday: December 6 - December 12th

December roared into town with lots of snow and blustery winds. It make me want to do one of two things - spend a ridiculous amount of time in my kitchen making foods that will stick to my hips and help me add my layer of winter blubber OR curl up on the couch under a warm quilt, with a steaming mug of coffee and the TV remote. Much to my surprise, there are two days in a weekend and I got to do both! That is something that doesn't happen often - but it was nice to re-charge my batteries before the Holiday's get into full swing around here.

And, I am putting the finishing touches on my surefire way for you to take the STRESS our of your Holiday DeSSERTS.

Have a good week all!
This Week's Menu:

Monday
Breakfast for Dinner
Scrambled Eggs
Sausage & Cheddar Pinwheels

Tuesday
Southern Style Chicken w/ Country Gravy
Smashed Taters
Sugar Snap Peas

Wednesday
Crock Pot Chili

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
Homemade Soup
(just don't know which on yet)

Sunday
Baked Meaty Ziti
Italian Bread

Enjoy!

12.03.2010

Just ME and the little RED mixer that could

I have an idea.

A CRAZY idea.

I've always wanted to run a bakery. Well, an in my mind it is more like an establishment that serves "bar" food (wings, mozz sticks, poppers, french fries), killer burgers and fancy grilled cheese sandwiches, beer, local wine and my desserts. An ever changing assortment of my delectable baked goods. Why would I want to do this you ask? Because, I can bake. And, I'm good at it. And, people tell me all the time I should sell my goodies.

Which brings me back to the idea. I've created a flier and I'm going to sell goodies this holiday season. Well, I'm going to try to sell goodies. I'm not sure anyone would buy.

Can someone please tell me I'm not crazy - and that everyone has to start somewhere......right?

**if you are interested in seeing what is being offered - please email me at TheTownsendBakery{at}gmail{dot}com - and I will be more than happy to send you my ordering flier**

12.02.2010

RE-DO Recipe: A Stew of Endless Possibility

This can ultimately be one of those "everything but the kitchen sink" type of recipes. Got left over broccoli in the fridge? Throw it in. Got some left over asparagus? Throw it in. Need to use up a few slices of bacon? Crisp it up in the pan and then cook your veggies in the pan drippings. *drool* We had carrots, celery, spinach, and turkey. Yep, this was my turkey RE-DO recipe. This recipe really isn't much different than this one. But it is. I find that this one is more versatile - and does particularly well with beef. That is, if you ever have any left over beef. *RAWR* Beef is such a rarity in this house that there is seldom any left over. Oh, and it's thicker. Soup is good for the fall, but once the snow flies and the crisp air is replaced with a biting bitterness that just chills you right down to the bone - I want stew. Stew so thick that you can put a wooden spoon vertical in the pot, let go, and it stands there. Ok, well, that's a wee bit extreme, but I think you get what I'm trying to say.
Also, I just wanted to say, that I'm really only giving you a base recipe. Some of you might wonder why some of my recopies are so bland or they do not always have the typical base ingredients. For example, someone asked me about adding onions. My answer? Sure! Go ahead - add in a small to medium onion. I typically don't have onions in my recipes, because I don't like onions, but that doesn't mean you can't add them in. Secondly, I've been asked about the blandness. Madaline tends to eat best if I keep the food fairly simple and lightly seasoned. I think it has a lot to do with her reflux - so I tend to not add much seasoning other than salt and pepper. But, sometimes, just sometimes, I allow myself the extra indulgence and add in some herbs and spice. This stew would be great with a palm full of poultry seasoning. Herbs de provence would be lovely here as well (with either chicken or turkey). Get adventurous - check out the spice isle of our local grocery store - the seasoning blends are fantastic - play with your seasonings make it yours. You are not going to hurt my feelings.
Leftover Stew

1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup of diced celery
1/4 cup butter
Salt, Pepper and seasoning you'd like, to taste
1/4 cup flour
5 - 6 cups of stock (veggie/chicken/beef)
2-3 cups cooked & shredded leftover meat (chicken/turkey/beef**)
1 pkg frozen tortellini
1 bag frozen mixed veggie (I buy the green bean, pea and corn blend)
1 6oz bag of baby spinach

Melt your butter in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add your carrots, celery (onion *shudder* if you like) and cook 7-12 minutes until they just are starting to get soft. Add 1/4 cup of flour to cooked veggie mixture. Stir and cook about 3 minutes to remove raw flour taste. Slowly wisk in 5 - 6 cups of stock, making sure you have no lumps of flour left. Add in your leftover cooked meat, turn heat to high and bring to a bubbling boil. As your stew boils, it will start to thicken. If it thickens too quickly on you, then add in some more stock. Once your meat is heated thru, gently stir in frozen veggies & tortellini, bring bring back to a gentle boil and cook until the tortellini are tender. Stir in spinach, cover and let simmer just long enough for spinach to wilt into the stew. Give it one last good stir and serve.

*If you do make this with beef, leave out the tortellini & cook up a bag of egg noodles on the side. Put your cooked and slightly buttered & salted egg noodles in a bowl first and then ladle the beef stew mixture over the top.

Enjoy!

12.01.2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 28 - December 5th

Holy CARP! It's WEDNESDAY already? oops!

Not need to talk about last week and really, since we are already three days into this week, there's not much to be said.

Check back tomorrow for a soup recipe. And, I have some holiday baking ideas up my sleeve - something that that should take the STRESS our of your Holiday DeSSERTS.

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Spaghetti & Meatsauce
Garlic Bread

Tuesday
Subs

Wednesday
Crescent Wrapped Cheesy Hot Dogs
Mac-n-Cheese (out of a box)

Thursday
Leftovers/Cereal/Fend For Yourself

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
Crispy Oven Fried Chicken
Wild Rice Pilaf
Green Beans

Sunday
Scallop Taters & Ham
(we didn't have this last Sunday, so it's a hold over for sure!)
Peas
Enjoy!

11.24.2010

Firsts

I remember a lot of "firsts" in my life. My first car. My first kiss. My first apartment. My first sale when I worked in Financial Planning; even the first time I made my sales goal when I worked in Newspaper advertising. And, don't even get me started on all the firsts regarding Madaline - for there are plenty. Many more than you would probably care to have to read. Especially on my food blog.
Your probably wondering where I am headed with all of this. Well, today is an important day of firsts for The Townsend Bakery. Some might call it a notch. Some might even go so far as to call it a milestone. Me? I call it a first. Hopefully, the first of many.Because, today? Today, I made delivery on our first sale. My first paid order. And, all I can keep thinking is - my goodness, what do I do if they don't like the way that they taste?

11.23.2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 22 - November 28th

Last week actually went according to plan. I was a bit surprised. This week - I'm a wee bit late with posting what we are eating because I was still trying to hammer out what we will be having from Wednesday on and over the weekend. It gets a bit trickier this week, because after today - daycare is closed. That means my husband and I are responsible for feeding the child Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and countless snacks through out the day. *whew* No wonder the grocery bill was so outlandish this week. And, I will have to go again on either Friday or Saturday.

On a brighter note, hopefully I can get the camera back from my Mom. She returned last weekend from visiting my sister who is studying abroad in Wales this fall semester. That way, I should have LOTS and LOTS of yummy photos & recipes to share either at the end of this week and next week!

And, I'd like to wish you all a "HAPPY TURKEY DAY" and have a good week!

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Breakfast for Dinner
Cinnamon Bread French Toast
Sausage

Tuesday
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli & Rice Casserole

Wednesday
Breakfast:
Cereal
Lunch:
PB&J on Whole Wheat
Chips/veggies/fruit
Dinner:
Grilled Cheese & Oven French Fries

Thursday
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Breakfast:
Bagels or Cereal
Lunch:
Cheese, Crackers, Fruit
Dinner:
Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Smashed Taters
Gravy, Cranberry Chutney, Sweet Potato Casserole,
Rolls
Pumpkin Roll, Cherry Pie

Friday
Breakfast:
Pancakes & Sausage
Lunch:
Turkey Stuffing Cranberry Sandwiches
Dinner:
Pizza

Saturday
Breakfast:
Bagels or Cereal
Lunch:
Leftovers
Dinner:
Turkey Soup

Sunday
Breakfast:
Waffles & Sausage
Lunch:
What ever you can pull out of the fridge
Dinner:
Scallop Taters & Ham
Peas
Enjoy!

11.17.2010

RE-DO Recipe: Cheesy Saucy Balls Roll Up

Meatballs. I love meatballs. My family loves meatballs. Especially homemade meatballs. Besides, macaroni and cheese, I'd say that it ranks as one of my all time favorite comfort foods. There is just a certain kind of comfort one can find in a pot full of simmering sauce and meatballs. However, one can only eat so much spaghetti and meatballs. A few Sunday's ago we had a nice dinner. Toasted warm garlic bread and heaping plates of 'sketti and meatballs'. I am one to put more meatballs on my plate than 'sketti'. As are the other members of my family as well. Which always means that there is usually about a 1/2 pound of cooked sketti left but not too many saucy balls. So, the few I did have left, I tucked carefully inside a Tupperware container and put them in the back of the fridge. I hoped that that they would be there later in the week, as I had a plan brewing in my head.
Now - now of you might find it odd, me being Polish, that I have such an affinity for Italian food. Then again, I have an affinity for good food, regardless of origin, so perhaps it doesn't really matter. But, Italian food, GOOD Italian food takes up more space on my food chart than anything else. I like good pizza, good sauce, my noodles cooked al dente, cannolis (dear GAWD do I love me some cannoli) and occasionally, I like calzones. Now, the reason I say occasionally, is that most calzones for me have way to much bread, too much ricotta cheese and not enough of the other good filling ingredients. And, so as that plan I had brewing in my head? I was going to put my take my leftover saucy balls and make it kinda like a calzones.
As you can see, it certainly was not the prettiest meal I have ever pulled out of my oven. But, darn if it wasn't tasty. Part of me wonders that perhaps if I hadn't had the tiny hands of my Mayhem Maker helping to push and pull the dough as I spread it out on the pan, it would have looked more purdy. But, well, what fun would that be? Not matter how much of an eye sore it was, the two cheeses melted together perfectly with the quartered up saucy balls and oozed out of the sides in spots, where it was barely held together by the golden brown crispy pizza dough. Yum! It only took about 30-40 minutes total to make, from start to finish - depending on how brown you want your crust. I like mine crispy so I baked mine longer. Add really all you need to do add a little side salad, maybe a glass of good red wine and you have yourself a really easy weeknight dinner.

Cheesy Saucy Balls Roll Up
Leftover Meatball & Sauce, meatballs cut up into bite sized pieces (I had about 12 meatballs left over)*
6 slices Provolone Cheese**
6 slices Mozzarella Cheese**
1 tube of refrigerated thin crust pizza dough

*I see no reason why you'd have to wait until you had left over meatballs to make this - as I'm sure it would be just as tasty with frozen meatballs
**I get my cheese slices from the deli counter, that way I get to choose how thick or thin they are sliced. You could certainly use shredded mozzarella cheese or even one one of those Italian Blend shredded cheese. If your going the shredded cheese route - I'd use a total of 2 cups*


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Re-heat your leftover saucy balls (I choose to do this on the stove top, but I don't see why you couldn't do this in the microwave)

Roll out your pizza dough out to a 15" by 10" rectangle and place on a a cookie sheet.

Arrange all 6 slices of provolone cheese on top of dough. Evenly spread your heated through saucy ball mixture on top of provolone cheese. Arrange all 6 slices of mozzarella over top of saucy ball mixture.

Fold short sides of the dough in about 1-1.5 inches. Then, just roll it up like you would a jelly roll. Do you best to seal seam together and place seam side down in the in the center of your pan.

Bake, for about 20-30 minutes until a nice golden brown. Let sit for about 5 minutes before you slice.

Enjoy!

11.15.2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 15 - November 21st

Ah. Yeah. So, planning a week's worth of meals is only useful if one actually follows the plan that she has laid out. But, then again, change it good. As long as one is able to adapt to the change. All is good.

If you haven't figured it out yet, things got all jumbled up last week. And, that is really a bit of an understatement. I took a package of burgers out of the freezer that never got cooked and had to be thrown away. We had an unplanned fends for yourself night. We ran out of milk and eggs - but thankfully not on the same day.

Hopefully things will got a big smoother this week. At least that is what I'm hoping for.

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Subs
*I have to run to Wegman's after work - and it's just easy*

Tuesday
Breakfast For Dinner
Homemade Waffles & Sausage

Wednesday
Hodge-Podge/Fend for Yourself
*Madaline is eating with my Parent's as I have a 6pm meeting & the Hubby will be at work*

Thursday
Ravioli's with Red Sauce
Italian Bread

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
Nachos

Sunday
Homemade Mac & Cheese w/Ham

Enjoy!

11.09.2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 8 - November 14th

Ok. Ok. Ok. I'm really hoping that this is not going to be a trend. I swear to you my loyal reader that I had the BEST of intentions in posting this week's menu yesterday. But, as you well you know what they say about good intentions. However, late in the day, it looked like I might be shaking up the menu a bit, and next thing I knew - the day had gotten away from me.

I do want to update you - I shook things up a wee bit over the weekend. Last week's menu had us eating Scallop Taters and Ham on Sunday. As it turned out - Madaline and I spent the entire weekend at home. It was kinda cold out and so, I wanted soothing, stick too your ribs good home cooked comfort foods. As a result? We had homemade scallop taters & ham for dinner Saturday night and then I made meatloaf with smashed potatoes and mixed veg on Sunday night.

I have some pictures to edit - and hopefully will have some quick and easy RE-DO recipes for you later this week. Hope every one has a good week!!!

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Oven Fried Chicken
Long Grain & Wild Rice
Green Beans

Tuesday
Burgers
Oven Toasted Hash Browns

Wednesday
Ravolis
Fresh Baked Bread

Thursday
(I'm home all day - because of the Veteran's Day holiday our daycare is closed)
Breakfast:
Pancakes and Sausage
Lunch:
Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets & French Fried
Dinner:
Homemade Soup
(Just not sure what kind yet)
Fresh Baked Bread

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
Nachos

Sunday
Eating Out to celebrate a birthday in the family

Enjoy!

11.03.2010

RE-DO Recipe: Cheesy Chili Pie

Last week I made a crock pot full of warm, steamy, slightly spicy chili. Nothing fancy - just some chili seasoning mix, 2 pounds of browned up ground beast, 1 can of kidney beans (drained & well rinsed), 1 can of tomato sauce, and 2 cans of diced tomatoes. Since, I am a crazy fanatic that likes crispy well browned ground beast - there was really nothing for the crock pot to do other than heat the ingredient through. So, I put it on low before I left for work, and then my husband turned it to warm at about noon. I didn't want it to burn. Yuck! Burnt, blackened, charred chili is not high on my list of things to eat.
And, so, after dinner Tuesday night and the Hubs & I both eating it as "chili" the next day for lunch leftovers, there was STILL some left. Nothing pains me more than throwing out food. Especially food that has meat of some kind it it - because meat is do damn expensive. And, so, for about another $5.00 (if that) I turned that chili into a whole different meal.
You can call it Chili Lasagna, Cheesy Chili Tortilla Bake, or what it's called in my house: 'Cheesy Chili Pie'. All are fitting. All, I know, is it was easy, simple, and the longest part of the whole dish was waiting for the oven to pre-heat to 400 degrees. It took me less than 10 minutes to put the whole dish together - and then about another 15 minutes it spent in the oven turning into this cheesy, bubbly, warm your body from the inside out pie plate full of goodness. Serve it with a salad or maybe even some quick Mexican corn saute (corn, peppers, onions - little butter - all heated together) and you've got yourself a complete dinner that is super flavorful and isn't going to break the weekly grocery budget.

Cheesy Chili Pie
Leftover Chili (I maybe had 3 cups of chili left)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
12 small flour tortillas

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Set aside.

Reheat chili (I reheated mine on the stove top - or you could easily do this in the microwave).

Line bottom of pie plate with 4 flour tortillas - overlapping each one slightly. Evenly distribute 1/2 of reheated chili on top of tortillas. Sprinkle chili with 1/2 cup of cheese. Top with another 4 tortillas, remaining chili and 1/2 cup of cheese.

Place remaining 4 tortilla shells on top and cover with remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

11.02.2010

Menu Plan Monday: November 2 - November 7th

Yes, I know Monday was YESTERDAY.

Yes, I am well AWARE that today is TUESDAY.

My philosophy for the week is better late than never. Ok? I hope so. {moving on.....}

Life is has just been that darn crazy. I think it may have had something to do with sewing a Halloween costume and not getting to the grocery store over the weekend. Add in that I have an extra day of solo parenting (the Hubby is going on a fishing trip) and I am feel like I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off. All of this is clear in this week's menu. It's crystal clear that I am I'm not into doing a whole lot of cooking this week. Things are easy, quick, and in some cases, a bit high in sodium (eh-hmm...hot dogs!). And, while this is not an ideal week for my family in regards to dinner - I am ok with it. We haven't had a week full of food like this in a long time. Sometimes, something has to give, and this week - it's what we are eating for dinner.

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Wegman's Subs

Tuesday
Cheesy Meatball Roll-Up
*RE-Do Recipe*

Wednesday
Crescent Wrapped Cheesy Hot Dogs
Mac-n-Cheese (out of a box)

Thursday
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Tomato Soup

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
*see note on Saturday from this post*

Sunday
Scallop Taters & Ham

10.29.2010

Cinnamon Swirl Streusel Topped Pumpkin Muffins

I think I've made it rather clear how much I ADORE Fall. Right? I mean, how can you go wrong? Hearty soups, desserts that sooth and the versatility of fall ingredients. And, since we've been more into snacking on our apples this week and I wasn't in the mood to have to peel something. But, I wasn't feeling overly lazy either. So for what is quickly becoming weekly tradition of baking on Thursday's with my lil' Mayhem Maker, we decided to try our hand at Cinnamon Swirl Streusel Topped Pumpkin Muffins . (yeah, say that 3 times fast) For the most part, it is a very easy recipe. I had all the ingredients already in my cupboards. The only thing some folks might not have on hand is the pumpkin. But, since it's Fall, doesn't pumpkin automatically become a pantry staple? I know it does in my house. I actually think I buy a can each time I go to the store. I just don't want to not be able to get one. You know - like last year, when, it was like, GONE. In light of the simplicity of these muffins, I do have a few complaint and a few things I would do different next time I make them. I dirtied THREE bowls while making these - not to mention my food processor as well as countless other utensils. There is a LOT of kitchen clean up involved with these. Also, the recipe called for filling the muffin cups 1/2 way, sprinkling with the brown sugar filling, more muffin batter and finally the Streusel topping. It's too much muffin batter for a standard sized muffin tin. As you can see from my photos, while these are TASTY, they are not pretty. I like pretty baked goods. I like to be able to share them with others and not have them look at the plate and cringe. When I make these again, I'd only fill the muffin liner a 1/3 of the way, then the brown sugar mixture topping with more muffin batter. I'd also probably hold off on putting the Streusel topping on the muffins until about the last 10 minutes of baking. It's a heavy topping and really sinks into the batter. By waiting I I think it would allow the muffins to develop more of a crown. Also, if your using decorative liners - Maddy chose white liners with pumpkins for these out of the cupboard - I'd double line them. As, you are dealing with a melted sugar filling - that seeps into the liner - making the design disappear. Not that it really matters - but, if you are looking to maybe gives these away or take to a party, you are going to want to see the pretty liner. Also, if your looking for something that really packs a pumpkin punch, these are not for you. The star of this muffin is really the streusel topping and the brown sugar filling. The sweet stickiness of the brown sugar filling is balanced perfectly by the crunchy oat filled streusel topping. Combined with the cinnamon nutmeg cake like texture of the muffins that have just the slightest hint of pumpkin to them...... *sigh*......then they are for you. Hands down, the perfect breakfast treat on a chilly weekend morning.
Adapted, slightly, from Two Peas and Their Pod

cinnamon Swirl Streusel Pumpkin muffins.

Muffin Batter:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Streusel Topping:
1 1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a whisk together the dry muffin batter ingredients and set aside. In another arge bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk all the wet ingredients until smooth and combined.

Very slowly stir dry mixture into wet and mix until until just combined.

Brown sugar cinnamon filling: in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.

For the Streusel topping: In a food processor (or you can use two knives or a pastry blender - I'm lazy and just my food processor) put flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. Process until mixture starts to get crumbly and add oats. Pulse a few more times just to incorporate the oats.

Fill prepared muffin cups 1/3 of the way full, Sprinkle approx 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar cinnamon filling over each. Fill the muffins cups with the remaining batter. Top each muffin with Streusel topping (or wait until there's about 10 minutes of bake time left).

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean Remove pans from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove muffins from pans. You can eat these warm and they taste just as good the next day.

Enjoy!

10.25.2010

RE-DO Recipe: Caramel Apple muffin CAKE

So here's the deal. You want to make muffins. For breakfast or maybe as a snack. But, your out of those paper liners and no amount of cooking spray ever makes your muffins come out of the muffin pan in one piece. OR ~ perhaps your having one of those lazy moments where you just want to dump the whole darn batter in one pan instead of trying to get it evenly divided between 12 muffin cups. I find that to be such a pain at times - because I always end up with a muffin runt. But, finally - I have the solution. Turn your muffins into cake.You see, Very rarely does my husband come up with a suggestion for something that I make in the kitchen that makes me go "Hey - that's not a bad idea". And, as he was contemplating eating the paper liner on a Caramel Apple Muffin because they are that darn good, he said "you should make these a cake". And, so, shortly after this cooking epiphany, Carmel Apple muffin CAKE was created. Sweet spicy caramel goodness in a spring form pan. And, since it was a cake, I was able to pop it under the broiler once it was done baking to further crystallize the brown sugar and oat goodness on the top into a crust. A crust that crackles and provides a protective shell around everything you love so very much about gooey caramel with the still slightly crispy apple held together with warm cinnamon laced cake.
And, it was good. In fact, so good that by the time I remembered that I needed to take pictures of what a slice of this looked like, it was gone. Gone, gone, gone.

Caramel Apple Muffin recipe here

Follow caramel apple muffin as written. After you fold in the apples and caramels, pour batter into a well greased spring form pan. Top cake batter with brown sugar and sprinkle with oats.

Place spring form pan on cookie sheet and into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 40 - 45 minutes until toothpick inserted into cake part comes out clean. (I started checking min around the 35 minute mark. and I think I pulled mine at minute 42)

Preheat your broiler. Place cake under broiler for 5 - 7 minutes. Your just looking for the the brown sugar to create that crisp almost 'creme brulee' type crust. Just keep a close watch on it - as sugar burns quickly and there is NOTHING nastier than burnt sugar.

Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday: October 25 - October 31st

Last weeks menu sorta fell apart once the weekend got here. We had pizza as normal on Friday. I ended up cooking dinner on Saturday night. Which hardly ever happens. Granted, I took the easy way out and made croissant roll wrapped hot dogs stuff with cheese. Quick, simple, easy and only 14 minutes to golden brown yummy perfection in my oven.

But, I have to admit what killed me was Sunday. I had really been wanting some Roast Beef. Slow cooked most of the afternoon in the oven until it reached medium rare perfection. Served with gravy, taters and a veg. I'd been dreaming of it all week. Then, while standing in the meat section of the grocery store Saturday afternoon, that dream came to a screeching halt. Have you seen beef prices? Anything decent was going to cost me upwards of $20.00 or more. And, as I'm doing the math in my head I realize that $20 is almost almost 1/2 of my grocery budget. For the whole damn week. YIKES! I don't think so. I ended up making Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Breasts, smashed taters with gravy and peas.

Oh well. Maybe some day if I win the lottery my family can dine on Roast Beef. But, until then, it's chicken and ground beef and the occasional piece of pork - but only when I find it with a bright orange sticker that say "Special Today".

Have a great week!

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Breakfast for Dinner!
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast
Sausage

Tuesday
Crock Pot Chili
Cornbread

Wednesday
Chili Lasagna
*RE-Do Recipe*

Thursday
Leftovers/Cereal/PB&J night

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
*see note on Saturday from this post*

Sunday
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Green Salad
Bread

10.18.2010

Menu Plan Monday: October 18 - October 24th

Every once in a while I ask my husband if there is anything in particular that he would like to have for dinner. It is really the least I can do - as he's a good sport - always eats what I make. He only asks that I not feed him chicken more than once a week. And, so you can only imagine my shock and subsequent horror when he said "Hot Dogs & Baked Beans". I don't like Baked Beans. Even the sight of them makes me shudder. But, my husband likes them. And, as he so aptly pointed out to me, just because I don't like something doesn't mean that I can't make it for others. And, so, I'm sucking it up - and the Hubs & Madaline are having Hot Dogs & Baked Beans for dinner. Me? Most likely a bowl of cereal.

And, I must say I'm excited about this weeks Re-Do recipe. I'm not a fan of straight up left overs (unless of course it's pasta related, since that ALWAYS taste better then next day). But, my Re-Do meals? It really does not feel like I'm eating leftovers. And, it has really cut down on our food waste as well as our grocery budget. Tune in Thursday to see how it goes!

I hope everyone has a good week!!

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Hot Dogs
Baked Beans (My husband's request)
Chips

Tuesday
Crock Pot Beef Stew
Bake Off Biscuits

Wednesday
Beef Pot Pie
*RE-Do Recipe*

Thursday
Leftovers/Cereal/PB&J night

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
*see note on Saturday from this post*

Sunday
Roast Beef
Ranch, Cheddar & Bacon Oven Roasted Potatoes
Corn

10.14.2010

RE-DO Recipe: Slow Cooked Chicken Soup w/ Mini Ravioli's

I like simple food. Food that warms your soul. Food that makes the drama of the day just melt away. And, even more so, I like food that is eaten, without any form bribery, by a certain 3 year old little girl.

This soup surely fits the bill. It simmers all day long in the crock pot. It used up what was left of the oven roasted chicken we'd had Tuesday night for dinner. I always have stock in my pantry and several varieties of cream of {fill in the blank} soup. All I had to purchase for this soup was the mini ravioli's, carrots & celery. And, the only reason I purchased the mini ravioli's is that I had a $1 off coupon for Wegman's Specialty refrigerated pasta. Also, I try to do a either a crock pot meal or something extremely easy on Wednesday. As it never goes with out fail that Wednesdays are just crazy days for me at work. But, as the clocked ticked down towards 5pm I took comfort in knowing that after I picked up Madaline from daycare I didn't have to scramble home to make dinner. Dinner would be waiting for me. Oh - and was it ever! The yummy aroma wafting from this pot of slow cooked goodness starting tickling my nose as soon as we stepped onto the back porch. And, by the time I had my key in the door my mouth was watering.
And, as if there was some weird gravitation pull in the kitchen, I'd barely set our bags down before the smells of dinner sucked me towards the far end of the kitchen. I did manage to stop momentarily at the fridge to grab the mini ravioli's. Operating on sensory overload, I took the lid off the crock pot to dump in the pasta and was instantly greeted with a a chicken soup facial. Ahhhhh.......20 minutes later - Enough time to have cooked the mini raviolis through, change my cloths, slice a loaf of Italian bread, and hastily set the table, Madaline I were sitting down to dinner.
"Ohhh..MOMMY, CARROTS"..."Ohhhh....MOMMY, 'itle pastas"...."Ohhh...MOMMY, celery"..."Mommy - can I have another piece of bread"
(*sigh* my kid is such a carb junkie)
I think it is safe to say that this one is a keeper!

Slow Cooked Chicken Soup w/ Ravioli's

1 1/4 pounds of cooked chicken *
1 26oz carton of chicken STOCK (not broth! STOCK)
2 stalk of celery, chopped**
1 cup of baby carrots, each carrot cut into thirds
1 can of Cream of {something}***
1 16 oz package for fresh/refrigerated mini cheese filled raviolis****

Mix stock and Cream of {something} in a 3-4 quart crock pot until combined. Add celery, carrots and cooked chicken. Cook on a low for 8 - 10 hours. Turn slow cooker to High and stir in pasta 20 minutes (or until pasta is tender) before you are planning on serving.

*You can use chicken breast, boneless/skinless chicken thighs, or rotisserie chicken - totally your choice. We had Oven Roasted chicken Tuesday night for dinner, and so I just de-boned what was left and used it for this soup

**the original recipe I adapted this from also called for onions. I do not like onions. Not one bit, therefore it is not part of my recipe. If you are were going add onions {shudder} just add 1/2 cup or 1 medium sized onion*

*** I used Cream of Mushroom, but you could easily use Cream of Chicken, really Cream of Anything - just use what you have on hand.

****You can really use any pasta you would like. However I would make sure it was "fresh" or refrigerated pasta. However, if you are using frozen, just leave the bag in the fridge to defrost all day while the soup is cooking.

Enjoy!

10.12.2010

Caramel Apple Muffins

Just like chocolate was meant to be with peanut butter, it only seems natural for caramel to hang out with apple. Right? But, well, dunking apple slices into individual vats of caramel gets redundant. And, as much as I love caramel apples, I'm not a huge fan of them in the traditional sense. Too messy.
And, so last night as Madaline and I were loading up the dishwasher after dinner, I was doing a mental inventory of the ingredients I had on hand. Caramel candy squares? check. Apples? Check. Cinnamon to make it a wee bit spicy and balance the sweetness? Check. Brown sugar and oats to sprinkle on the top? check.

But, what was I going to combine those ingredients with? I wasn't in the mood for cake and all of a sudden Madaline says "Muffins - I want a muffin for snack Mommy". Which lead me too.... Well, thinking about muffins. Muffins are the perfect experimental baking vessel. You can add just about anything to a basic muffin recipe. Blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter, the combination and possibilities are endless. And, it just seemed so natural. So right to want to take one of my favorite fall treats and turn it into a muffin.
Oh my good heaven! Just the smell of these bad boys baking in the oven last night made me weak in the knees. I was drooling all over myself as I was sticking them with a toothpick to make sure the cake part was done. And, I must have burned at least three of my fingers on the molten sugar as I was hastily trying to get the paper wrapper off one of the muffins. And, the gooey caramel with the still slightly crispy apple held together with warm cinnamon laced cake? Heaven, I tell you. Heaven!
recipe adapted and modified from Taste of Home

Ingredients
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 1 cup 2% milk
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 medium to largish apple - diced
* 14 caramel candy squares, quartered

TOPPING:
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4-1/2 cup oats


Directions
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and wisk together until combined.

In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fold in apple and caramels and scoop into 12 paper-lined muffin cups.

Tops the unbaked muffins with brown sugar and then sprinkle with oats.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes (mine took the full 30 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing a wire rack to cool. You can dig into them warm and they are just as fantastically sticky and yummy the next day cold.

Enjoy!

10.11.2010

Menu Plan Monday: October 11 - October 17th

Gosh. I wish I was more organized. Really. I make all this really awesome food and I never seem to be able to get any of the recipes posted in a decent manner. No wonder this poor blog only has 12 followers. But, by golly, they are LOYAL followers, and I appreciate them. Just wanted them to all know that. And, if your new here - WELCOME!!! The coffee is always hot and I've usually got a plate of homemade goodies to go with it.

Its been a busy weekend and it is shaping up to be a busy week. I am breaking out the crock pot this week for Wednesday's left over re-do meal. And, I'm already salivating just thinking about what is for dinner tonight. Have a greet week everyone!!!

This Week's Menu:

Monday
Parmesan Orzo and Meatballs
*hopefully I can get this recipe post up this week*

Tuesday
Oven Roasted Chicken
Stuffing
Green Beans

Wednesday
Chicken w/ mini Raviolis Soup
*crock pot left over re-do recipe*

Thursday
Leftovers/Cereal/PB&J night

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
*see note on Saturday/Sunday from this post*

Sunday
Lasagna
Green Garden Salad
Italian Bread

10.08.2010

Pumpkin Snack Cake

I love fall. Fall brings with it apples, pumpkins, and the beauty of rainbow colored leaves. I love the chill in the air and filling the house with the warm scents of old fashion home-cooked meals and delectable baked goods. Nothing warms my heart and soul more than spending my Sunday roasting dinner and baking a pan of goodies for the week. And, last Sunday I did just that.
I kept seeing multiple recipes in and around blog land for "Pumpkin Blondies". I love a good "Blondie". LOVE. And, I have been on the hunt to add some more pumpkinlicious-ness to my repertoire of fall baking. I have mastered an amazing pumpkin roll that gets requested every year at Thanksgiving and my husband drools at the mere mention of my pumpkin muffins with my homemade cream cheese frosting. All I was missing was a good fall cookie/bar thingy.
I had really been hoping that this would be it. I admit, while these are good and tasty I was left a little disappointed. When I read the words "BLONDIE", in reference to baking, I expect something that is soft and chewy - kind of like a cookie, but much more substantial. Suffice to say, had these been labeled Pumpkin Bars or Pumpkin Snack Cake I don't think I would have felt a shred of disappointment. Because, that is what they are. They are very dense and cake like.Don't get me wrong - they really are pumpkinlicious. And, the spicy sweetness of the pumpkin and cinnamon is beautifully complimented by the addition of the dark chocolate chips. It's just that I wouldn't call them a "Blondie".Pumpkin Snack Cake
*recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg (more or less - I used a just a little shy of a full teaspoon)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (I was out of regular brown sugar and only had some Splenda Brown Sugar blend for baking on hand. Did not affect the taste what so ever)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
2 cups dark chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease with nonstick cooking spray. (I did the whole line with parchment thing - I think it was a bit over-kill. These bars are so moist that as long as you grease your pan well, you should be good to go)

2. In bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. Using a mixer, preferably a stand mixer (I used my beloved Kitchen Aid Stand Mix - and NO, I am not a Kitchen Aid spokes person, I just love my Red Stand mixer that much that I feel the need to tell you about it every single chance I get) cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined, then add and beat in pumpkin puree. The mixture is going to look nasty - almost like it is curdled. Don't worry - it's ok. It will work itself out. Trust me.

4. On low speed, add your dry ingredients until just combined.

5. Gently fold in your chocolate chip by hand.

6. Spread batter evenly in your prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.

7. Cool completely in pan - or if you like me, take a fork and do a little taste testing after its been out of the oven for 15 minutes.

These kept really well for me, all week, on the counter, in an airtight container. However, by day 3 the top does get a little sticky. Wednesday night I moved them from the counter to the fridge. And, let me tell you - reheated in the microwave, for about 10 seconds just to take the fridge chill off - DIVINE! Also goes great with a strongly brewed cup of coffee.

Enjoy!

9.27.2010

Menu Plan Monday: September 27 - October 3rd

I have been craving spaghetti with meatballs like most women crave chocolate. And, well, I finally did something about it. Granted, I didn't got the extreme known as 'The Meatball Division'. But, I did end up pulling about 70 moist, tender, melt in your mouth MEAT-A-BALLS out of my oven yesterday afternoon at 5:30. Half of them got to spend a little time in a bubbly tomato sauce hot tub. And, the other half you might ask? Well, they are in the freezer.

This week's menu is really about using up the leftovers. Unfortunatly, as the season moves from Summer to Fall and Fall to Winter, money can get a wee bit tight. This means less nights of brand new meals and more nights of re-purposed left overs. But, more on that later this week. Unless the week gets away from me. Like it did last week. (yes, I know I still owe you all a post on how I spend less than $50 a week at the grocery store).

This Week's Menu:

Monday

We've been invited to dinner at my Parents

Tuesday
Cheesy Meatball Sandwiches
Caesar Salad

Wednesday
Garlic & Herb Chicken Brocolli Pasta

Thursday
Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

Friday
Pizza

Saturday
*see note on Saturday/Sunday from last week's post*

Sunday
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Mac & Cheese
Green Beans

So, what are you having for dinner this week? Anything tasty? I'm always looking for new recipe ideas, so please share in the comments section. I'd appreciate it. Really. I would.