Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pasta Primavera

- 1 Zucchini sliced
- 1 bunch of Asparagus sliced
- 1 package of sliced Mushroom
- 2-3 diced plum Tomatoes
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves sliced
- 1 pound of Rigatoni Pasta
- 4-5 table spoons of Olive Oil
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper

To begin, sauté the garlic in the olive oil on medium heat. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Cook pasta as directed. Add pasta to vegetable pan and cook on low for 3-4 minutes or until the pasta and vegetables are mixed well. Add parmesan cheese to taste.

** the Real Housewives of New Jersey and Caroline Manzo!  This is a super simple, delicious recipe! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1. Preheat oven to 250°.
  • 2. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.
  • 3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add popcorn; cover and cook 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently. When popping slows, remove pan from heat. Let stand until popping stops. Uncover; add almonds.
  • 4. Combine sugar, syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla; stir until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn; toss well. Spread mixture out onto prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.
**I can't believe I forgot to post this recipe!  I made it for the Halloween party and I could not stop eating it!  I actually felt sick to my stomach and still didn't stop.  And, can't wait for an excuse to make it again!

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Want to be a Sunday morning hero?  Make these cinnamon rolls.  Seriously.  You'll never go back to rolls from a tube again. 

Ok, maybe you will still make rolls from the tube, since they are so darn convenient, but in my book, if you are going to eat a cinnamon roll, it'd better be amazing.  And I don't think anyone has bitten into a cinnamon roll baked from a tube and groaned in pleasure, "Oh my god, this is AMAZING." 

So if you want that reaction, make these cinnamon rolls.

My dear friend Jenny gave me the Pioneer Woman cookbook for Christmas 2009.  You know how bloggers sometimes say "Oh, reading that blog made me want to have a blog of my own!" or "That blogger inspired me so much."  Well, Pioneer Woman has had the opposite effect on me.  Every time I read her blog, I think 'Geez, why am I blogging again?'  Her blog is awesome - recipes, photos, funny, she's got it all.  Plus, she's pretty.  I mean, she's had four kids and is still smiling.  How many women can say that? 

Back to the cookbook, I've often flipped through it, noting to myself the recipes I'd like to try (migas, anyone?), but these cinnamon rolls are actually the very first recipe I've made from this cookbook.  And it's a keeper.

Here is the original Pioneer Woman post, with step-by-step photos.  Note that her original recipe makes SEVEN pie plates of cinnamon rolls.  I halved the recipe below to a more managable three plates plus a couple I baked individually in ramekins.

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
Make three pie plates, or about 18-20 cinnamon rolls.  One for breakfast, one for nibbling or giveaway, and one for the freezer in my book. I made the dough the night before, then stored it in the fridge, taking it out the next morning and letting it sit on the counter for about 20 mins before rolling it out.  Worked like a charm. 

2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1 package Active Dry Yeast
4 cups (Plus 1/2 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Salt

1 cup (yup, 2 whole sticks) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon

1 lb. Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Maple Flavoring (I skipped this and just added a few Tablespoons maple syrup, reducing the milk a little)
1/4 cups Milk
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
2 Tablespoons Brewed Coffee

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle yeast on top. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1/2 cup more of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Add as much additional butter and sugar as you dare. 

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.  Note that the rolls are going to look like they are drowning when you first pull them from the oven with so much melty syrup in the bottom of the pie plate, but trust me, that's the good stuff. 

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

**WOW.  Very sweet, could've gone without all the frosting, but it's delicious!

Creamy Sausage and Tomato Pasta

Source: Wylie Tidwell
Makes 4-6 servings

4-5 Italian sausages (about 1 pound) found in the fresh meat department (I used spicy turkey Italian sausage; I really think a spicy sausage adds a lot of flavor)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) can Italian style diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
5-6 big leaves of fresh basil, chopped
12 ounces penne pasta (get a 16 ounce box and use 3/4 of it)
grated Parmesan for topping

1) Cook the pasta in salted water al dente, according to package directions.
2) While pasta is cooking, brown the sausages and cut them into slices - little circles (I actually removed the casings and then browned and crumbled the sausages like you would ground beef).
3) Add the onions and garlic to the sausage and saute for a couple of minutes.
4) Pour in the entire can of diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce and heat through.
5) Pour in the cream and heat through. The longer you cook the sauce the thicker it will get so simmer it until it is the consistency you want.
6) Add the fresh basil and let it simmer for a few minutes.
7) Finally, mix the sausage sauce with the pasta and serve. Top each serving with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

** From  Another delicious recipe!  Very simple, creamy and everyone liked! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken Chili

2-3 lbs frozen chicken breasts
1 can corn, drained
30 oz Northern Beans, drained
15 oz chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 c. salsa
2 tsp cumin

Mix all ingredients in crockpot.  Cook for 8-10 hours.  Shred chicken and enjoy! 

**This is an excellent recipe from Stefanie Popa!  SO easy, virtually no prep and delicious!  I used a can of pinto beans and a can of kidney beans; any beans should work. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Monkey Squares

1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour 10x15 jelly roll pan. Beat first four ingredients until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla one minute. Add dry ingredients and blend one minute. Stir in nuts and spread in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool and frost with Browned Butter Frosting (recipe below).

Banana bread option: instead of spreading into jelly roll pan, this recipe will make about two regular loaves of banana bread, or about four small loaves. Regular loaves bake about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Small loaves will bake about 25 minutes on 350.

Browned Butter Frosting
½ cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
about 3 tablespoons milk or half and half

Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat past the melting point until it boiling, and a delicate brown. Remove from the heat and immediately add the remaining ingredients. This should be thicker than a glaze and thinner than frosting. Using a spatula smooth over the top of the Monkey Squares immediately. The frosting will be easier to spread once it's on the warm bread.
**Another from that girl who eats everything-maybe you should just start following her blog!  She's amazing!:)  The frosting recipe makes A LOT.  Kadon isn't a huge fan of frosting, so I quartered this recipe and there is still enough to satisfy us frosting-lovers.  AH-MAZING.  Melt in your mouth-such a good recipe!

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup carrot, diced (optional)
1 cup diced cooked ham (buy a ham steak in the deli section)
3 1/4 chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

Note: I added some carrots that I had and Becky said she adds a can of corn too which would be good.

1.Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, carrot, ham and chicken broth in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.

2.In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk so that lumps don't form and until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.

3.Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through.

4. Top with cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon if desired. Serve immediately.
5. Makes 6 servings

**Another goodie from!  Delicious soup!  Hardly took any time at all besides chopping veggies!  Will definitely make again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

Look at the gooey inside.

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

Source: adapted slightly from  OurBestBites
1 roll refrigerated pizza dough
marinara/pizza sauce
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
8-12 ounces mozzerella cheese, diced or grated (diced is the least messy to use when stuffing the rolls)
Pizza toppings of your choice: ie, ham and pineapple, pepperoni slices, sausage, etc.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a baking dish or large pie plate.

Unroll pizza onto a lightly floured surface and press into a 12" X 8" rectangle. Cut rectangle into 24 squares. Place pepperoni and cheese (or desired toppings) into the center of each square. Gather the sides of each square up and pinch closed to create a ball. Place each ball seam side down in the baking dish.

When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).

In a small ramekin stir melted butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings together. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter mixture using a pastry brush. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over rolls.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.
**Delicious, very easy!  Mine didn't look as good as these pictures are, however!  Taken from