Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Salted Caramel Candies

Caramel candies are my favorite and these are super easy!  Have fun!
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.   In 1-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream, vanilla, kosher salt and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until mixture just begins to simmer. Remove from heat; cover with lid. Set aside.

In 2-quart heavy saucepan, mix sugar and corn syrup; add candy thermometer. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until sugar is dissolved. If granules of sugar become stuck to sides of saucepan, use wet pastry brush to brush granules down towards syrup. Cook syrup, without stirring, until thermometer reads 310°F. If hot spots or darker areas occur while cooking, gently roll saucepan around to evenly disperse syrup.

Remove saucepan from heat. Slowly pour cream mixture into syrup. Syrup will bubble violently so be careful to add cream slowly to ensure syrup does not bubble over edge of saucepan. Stir until smooth.

Return saucepan to medium heat. Cook caramel until thermometer reads 260°F.
Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until caramel is smooth.   Pour caramel into loaf pan. Cool 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle coarse sea salt evenly over top. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack.

When caramel is cool, remove from pan by lifting foil. Peel foil from caramel. Using sharp long knife, cut into 35 to 40 squares. Wrap each caramel individually with waxed paper or cellophane.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuscan Bread Soup

I love a good soup in the winter and this is just that!  So yummy!  I have also added a rostisserie chicken with it as well.  ENJOY!
(Picture from

6 ounces country bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 celery stalks, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 head green cabbage, quartered, thinly sliced crosswise (6 cups)
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pieces are dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add cabbage, broth, 2 cups water, and toasted bread. Simmer over medium heat until soup is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Pot Pie

Do you have left over turkey still?  This is a great and easy recipe!
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 cups frozen green beans
1 cup sliced celery
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups milk
4 cups cubed cooked turkey meat - light and dark meat mixed
4 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Place the peas and carrots, green beans, and celery into a saucepan; cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer over medium-low heat until the celery is tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander set in the sink, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup of flour, salt, black pepper, celery seed, onion powder, and Italian seasoning; slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk until the mixture comes to a simmer and thickens. Remove from heat; stir the cooked vegetables and turkey meat into the filling until well combined.

Fit 2 pie crusts into the bottom of 2 9-inch pie dishes. Spoon half the filling into each pie crust, then top each pie with another crust. Pinch and roll the top and bottom crusts together at the edge of each pie to seal, and cut several small slits into the top of the pies with a sharp knife to release steam.
Bake in the preheated oven until the crusts are golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. If the crusts are browning too quickly, cover the pies with aluminum foil after about 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apple Crisp Muffins

My kids love muffins.  Blueberry being their favorite, or should I say, used to be their favorite!  Here are some that we tried the other day and they are wonderful!  ENJOY!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled apples
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.

In a small bowl, beat the filling ingredients until smooth. Drop by tablespoonfuls into centers of muffins.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 400° for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack. Yield: 1 dozen. (recipe and picture from )

Monday, November 14, 2011

Better Than Pumpkin Pie... Cake

I love the concept of pumpkin pie, only because I love pumpkin!  But I have to say... I'm not a huge fan of the traditional pie!  So non-American, I know!  BUT this cake, I can handle!  Same concept, just different! TRY it!  You'll thank me!
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can nonfat evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Stir in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Pour pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle on the pecans. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Pasta Soup

I don't know about you, but I am always using my crockpot and this is the perfect time to just add some ingredients for the perfect soup.  This is an easy, fast soup that makes your house smell good!
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup halved pitted ripe olives
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carton (32 ounces) chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta

Mix all ingredients except pasta in 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, stir in pasta. Increase heat setting to High. Cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Fondue

HELLO!!! It has been a very long time!  I'll be honest, I have been on a health food kick and haven't been cooking as much as I ususally do! BUT, this beautiful fall weather we are having is making me feel like I need to cook and bake everything in sight!!! So, here we go again!
I went to a party the other night where they were serving fondue. I LOVE fondue in everyway, but this recipe made me happy!  I hope you enjoy it too!  I also have a ton of new recipes coming your way just in time for the holidays!  Happy cooking!

1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups chocolate chips
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup half-and-half or light cream or almond milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons honey
15–20 small cookies
3 cups pineapple or orange slices
If using canned pineapple slices, pat dry on a paper towel. Refrigerate the slices.
Combine the chocolate chips and cream in a metal bowl and place on top of a saucepan half-filled with simmering water. Add the honey.
Melt the chocolate on low to medium-low heat, making sure that it doesn't boil.
When the chocolate is melted, stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. .Serve with the pineapple slices and cookies for dipping.
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