Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Since I opened a can of pumpkin, I decided I needed to make something else with it. Yes, needed:)

Annie recently posted pumpkin snickerdoodles, which sounded like a perfect treat. So glad I opened that pumpkin and needed to use it because these were some of my favorite cookies of all time. They are SOOOOO good!I didn't change a thing except for to make only half the recipe, so here's the link!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Monday, September 26, 2011

Quick Fall Minestrone

It's officially fall, which means it's officially soup season again for this girl! With the cooler temperatures comes all things fall food, which makes me really excited since I love soups and pumpkin everything. As I've said before, I like to make a batch of soup on Sundays and have it for lunch every day. Yes, it sounds boring, but I make something I really like and it's easy, homemade, and healthier than many other options. Here is the short list of other soups I like that reheat well throughout the week:
Hearty Tomato Soup
Southwestern Chicken and White Bean Soup
Corn and Bacon Chowder
Spicy Poblano and Corn Soup
Pan Roasted Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
Taco Soup
Black Bean Salsa Chili
Loaded Potato Soup
Turkey Chili Taco Soup
Black Bean Soup
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Creamy Potato Soup with Ham

This minestrone is from Cooking Light. I changed it a lot based on what I had and what looked good at the store, so here is my adapted version. Mmmm....fall!!

Quick Fall Minestrone
adapted from Cooking Light

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
2 small baking potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
16 oz white beans, drained and rinsed
topping: croutons and Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes, until soft. Add broth, potatoes, carrots, oregano, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add zucchini and squash and simmer another 3 minutes. Add orzo, beans, and spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin is back! Pumpkin is back!
Well, it never really went away in my house because I hoarded a few cans at the end of last fall to have for this year just in case it was difficult to find again. But, it's back at the front of my mind in everything from candles to soap to food. I just love the scent and the flavor. Here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies
Pumpkin Chiffon Cake
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I have wanted to try pumpkin oatmeal for a loooong time now and for some reason am just finally getting to it. I used my favorite standby baked oatmeal recipe (remember, I'm boring and make all my breakfasts and lunches on Sunday and reheat oatmeal every morning and soup every lunch for a week!) as a base and here is my adapted recipe. If you love pumpkin, this is perfect for you--pumpkin for breakfast (and healthy!)!
**I should have originally added--this is not super sweet and therefore does not taste like pumpkin pie. It has pumpkin flavor, but you can amp up the sweet factor with more brown sugar, honey, whatever you like. I was trying to get a semi healthy start to the day by not adding in lots of sugar:)

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

2 cups uncooked oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
4 egg whites
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Spray a square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and preheat oven to 375 F.
Combine oats, baking powder, brown sugar, and pie spice.
In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, egg whites, and skim milk.
Stir wet and dry ingredients together, transfer to baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grilled Pizza

When I first moved to Wichita after college, I took a gamble and moved in with two girls I didn't know. They were friend of a friend of a friend type thing, but I definitely didn't know them. We all went to K-State at the same time so I figured they had something going for them:) The gamble definitely paid off and I wound up meeting some of my closest girlfriends who I still love to hang out with. Our lives have changed a lot since then, but we still get together (including an unforgettable trip to Mexico this summer!).
How does this relate to grilled pizza? These two girls were so great that they just brought me along to everything with their friends since they were both from the area and I wasn't. They let me tag along and introduced me to a lot more people who I now luckily have as friends also. One time they brought me to a grilled pizza party. Everyone was to bring toppings and the host was manning the grill all evening throwing together all sorts of combinations. I remember loving the texture of the crust and all the different combinations he came up with, but I was so excited to meet people that I didn't think much about the pizza afterward. Wish I would have remembered it sooner because it's so good!
For me, right now is prime grilling season because it's not so dang hot. Fire up your grill and follow the super easy instructions to grilled pizza. Try to get your grill heated evenly so it doesn't turn out like mine in the corner:) If you haven't cleaned your grill in a while, do that before you make this. Hey, it needed cleaned anyway!

Grilled Pizza

your favorite pizza dough
your favorite pizza toppings

Preheat a grill to medium high heat. Brush grates lightly with olive oil.
Place dough on grates, close lid, and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes. Use tongs to remove dough from grates and place cooked side up on a cutting board. Top with toppings, then place back on grill, close lid, and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Done!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peach Cobbler

I should first say that no peach cobbler will ever touch my Grandma's peach cobbler. Seriously. Every time she makes it, I find myself standing by it taking "one more bite". So good!!
When in search of a quick and easy cobbler that we could use for our first cooking lab at school, I was also looking for something that the kids could do nutritional modifications to. (First unit after safety and sanitation is nutrition). This one fit the bill and although no Grandma's peach cobbler, it was really darn tasty! Believe it or not, it's from Paula Deen and we were able to adjust the nutrition stats to make them at least better than the original!

Peach Cobbler
sadapted from Paula Deen

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
6 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in bottom of 9x13 in the oven.
Combine peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Combine flour, sugar, and milk and stir together to get rid of any clumps. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit mixture, including syrup, over top of the dough. Do not stir. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and bake for about 30 minutes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Black Bean, Corn, and Shrimp Salad

This is a quick and easy weeknight dinner that you could eat hot, cold, plain, over rice, in a tortilla...however you want. It's really good, too! The lime and cilantro add just the right touch of brightness.
Busy week of middle school football, a MASSAGE!! ($5 groupon score, awesome!), parent teacher conferences, a birthday brunch for a very special lady, and a KSU football watch party!

Black Bean, Corn, and Shrimp Salad
from Cooking Light

(it says 4 servings for the original version and I used less shrimp and more corn but would say it's plenty for six burritos)

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
cooking spray
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup salsa
2 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed

Combine shrimp with chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Toss to coat.
Heat a saute pan to medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
Saute shrimp for about three minutes, or until done. Add 1 tbsp lime juice, then remove shrimp from heat. Add corn to pan and saute until slightly softened. Add beans and salsa and cook until heated through. Add remaining lime juice and cilantro. Serve on tortillas, over rice, plain, hot, cold, however you like!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Semi-Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I kind of think of this as a cobbler because that's what it looks like and it has similar elements. A filling underneath a layer of dough and baked, but this is definitely not sweet!
This is more of an idea than a recipe. I made regular chicken and vegetable soup (potatoes, chicken, carrots, green beans, corn) but with about 1/3 of the liquid. I reduced the liquid way down and poured it into a 9x13, then put canned biscuits on top. I brushed the biscuits with melted butter, sprinkled with cracked pepper, and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes. Perfect quick comfort food!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Best Ever" Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whew...has it really been about three weeks since I was here last? My computer didn't even recognize this web address when I started typing it in! Since I last posted, school has gotten into full swing--both high school classes and the two graduate classes I am taking. I just started my masters degree in educational counseling and I am really excited about it. A lot of reading, but it will be worth it. I am excited about the topics and feel like I have already learned a lot! Between that and the rest of life (including Norris' football games and all the things I can't say no to), I have been busier than ever in these last two weeks! I love that I get to cook at school because it's a great outlet for me and I haven't had a whole lot of time for it at home lately.

I put "best ever" in quotation marks because while the recipe calls them that, I think each person has such different preferences in chocolate chip cookies that you can't call just one recipe the best!
BUT---we had a chocolate chip cookie comparison lab at school (kids loved it, of course!) and this was the winner. Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies were a close second, but we have a new recipe we'll be using at school every Wednesday for cookie sales, and these are it! Quite a few of the kids said this was the best cookie they have ever eaten...hence the name best-ever chocolate chip cookies!
I have tried a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes and for me, these definitely rank up in the top three. I will make them again when I want a doughier cookie--I think they taste a lot like cookie dough, which I love!

Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Food Network Canada via Apple a Day

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Blend in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips). Stir dry ingredients into batter until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Bake for 10 minutes or until barely golden brown on the edges (do not overcook!).
Let cook on the sheet on a wire rack for five minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely.