Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pumpkin Whoopee Pies

I found this recipe via Lovin the Oven; and since I was headed to our family sugar shack this past weekend; I thought it would be a great treat to bring with me. Everyone loved them! The cream cheese frosting was delicious and what I think made these taste so good. The pies were incredibly moist; I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap; so they would travel more easily and this may have added to the moistness.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper (love this – so easy and no mess!)


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk to sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
Use a small ice cream scoop (works perfectly) to drop a bit more than a TBSP of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan before assembling.

To assemble:

Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe filling (cover most of the cookie – a good TBSP) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used.

This recipe yields 24 assembled pies.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (Whoopee Pie Filling)

This is incredibly tastey - and could be made without maple syrup as well - for a great Cream Cheese Frosting.


3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
5 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla


In a bowl, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps – I did this with a wooden spoon.
Add the cream cheese and beat until combined – used an electric mixer.

Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Be careful no to over beat the filling, or it will lose structure.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sloppy Joes

The Grocery List:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion , diced
  • 1 medium carrot , peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 can (398 ml) reduced sodium tomato sauce (I used Hunts)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 warmed whole wheat buns
  • cheese (optional)

Cooking It all Up:

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Add the olive oil, beef, onion, carrot, pepper,and garlic.

Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the beef is cooked and the onions are translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.

Serve over the buns and top with cheese.

Chicks Health Note: You could easily ramp up the veggies by adding shredded zucchini, mushrooms etc. and you could reduce the calorie/fat content by using lean ground turkey instead of beef.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic Chicken

We love this meal, it's the perfect date night meal and it's a restaurant quality meal. As long as you enjoy mushrooms, you will love it! It's absolutely delicious and it's not a difficult meal to prepare at all - and is very tastey!.


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).

Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Curry Marinated Chicken (Fancy or Lazy - Your choice!)

This is a yummy marinade that keeps chicken moist and is a nice change from regular BBQ sauce when you are grilling. What can I say.....I took the lazy way out and used full chicken breasts so my picture doesn't match what the actual finished meal should look like.....so sorry!! It was one of those days! Here is the "good" fancier version of the recipe!
The Grocery List:

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups of water
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms
  • 1 plum tomato, diced (optional)
  • 2 or 3 green onions, chopped (optional)
  • skewers
Cooking it Up:

In a large freezer bag, mix the mayonnaise, garlic, curry power, chili powder, and ginger. Place the chicken in the mixture, seal the bag removing as much air as possible. Squish chicken around until well coated. Refrigerate over night or for a minimum of 2 hours.
Preheat BBQ on medium-high heat.

In a large deep (very large is best so it doesn't boil over!) microwave safe dish, combine rice and water. Cover and cook on full power for 10 minutes. When that 10 minutes is up, reset microwave and continue cooking rice for 10 minutes on half power. No need to open the microwave in between the two.

Discard marinade, thread chicken and mushrooms onto skewers (alternate between chicken and mushrooms).

Lightly oil the grill, grill skewers turning often for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Serve skewers over rice and sprinkle diced tomato and green onion on top as the garnish.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Butter Cream Frosting


5 oz (150g) Butter - softened
8 oz (250g) confectioners (icing) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp hot water


1. Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric beater.
2. Once well combined, add the vanilla and water. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Makes enough for 12 cupcakes.

PS – Follow the directions to a T – otherwise your frosting will disintegrate to nothingness….and it is very sad to come back to your cupcakes an hour later to find no frosting on them…just liquid yuckiness.

Gingerbread Cupcakes


½ cup self-raising flour
½ cup all-purpose (plain) flour
¼ tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
3½ oz (90g) butter, softened
¼ cup milk
2 tbsp corn syrup (golden syrup)


1 Preheat the oven to 330°F (170°C).
2 Line a 12 cupcake pan, with cupcake papers.
3 Sift the flours, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl.
4 Add the remaining ingredients.
5 Using an electric mixer, beat until combined and lightens in color (about 2 minutes).
6 Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases.
7 Bake for 30 minutes.
8 Remove tin from the oven, transfer to rack and cool.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Easy Pad Thai

I love, love, LOVE Thai food but ordering it, as often as I'd like to eat it, can be expensive. This Pad Thai recipe is an easy way to enjoy it at home!
The Grocery List

  • 6 oz. (175 g) wide rice stick noodles
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (substitute reduced sodium soy sauce if you don't have fish sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tsp Asian chili paste or hot pepper sauce
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp and 1 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. (250 g) large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Cooking It Up:
In a large bowl, soak noodles in warm water until soft (about 15 minutes), drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk chicken broth, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, ketchup and Asian chili paste or hot pepper sauce; set aside.

Cut chicken into bite sized chunks.

In wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat. Cook egg, stirring occasionally until scrambled and set. Transfer to small bowl or plate.

Wipe wok, add 1 tbsp. oil, increase heat to medium-high and stir-fry garlic, shrimp and chicken. When chicken and shrimp are almost cooked add the red pepper, continue to stir fry until chicken and shrimp are cooked through.

Stir in noodles for 1 or 2 minutes or until they start to soften. Pour in sauce; stir-fry until noodles are tender. Return egg to pan; add bean sprouts, cilantro and half the green onions. Stir until heated through.

Remove to warm serving platter. Garnish with peanuts and remaining green onions. Serves 4.

Per serving: Guesstimate
calories 331
protein 20 g
total fat 11 g
sat. fat 2 g
carbs 39 g
fibre 4 g
cholesterol 117 mg
sodium 915 mg

**Chicks note: You can reduce the chicken to 1 breast and add 6 oz of Tofu. Just add the tofu to the pan at the same time you add the red pepper!**

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Banana Pineapple Trifle

If you love banana cream pie...you will LOVE this dessert! :)
It is easy and delicious.

Grocery list:

1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 (9 inch) angel food cake
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained


1. In a medium bowl, fold sour cream and unprepared pudding mix into the whipped topping.

2. Cut the cake into cubes.

3. Place one layer of cake in bottom of bowl, top with 1/3 of bananas and pineapple, and 1/3 of whipped topping mixture. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used.

Suggestion: Garnish with toasted coconut..Mmm..! :)
This must be refrigerated for a good hour (or two) before serving, it is 100% tastier if served cold!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Arroz Con Pollo (a.k.a. Spanish Rice & Chicken)

This is an easy and flavorful way for the whole family to enjoy chicken. I love "oven" recipes, I think they were all created as a way to save mommy sanity - if I can put everything together quickly and then put it in the oven and forget about it until it's cooked, I'm a happy chick!

The Shopping List

1 3/4 cup uncooked brown minute rice (instant rice)
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)
Garlic Salt, Pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
1 cup of salsa (I use mild because the kids are eating this with us, but spicy would be delicious)
1 can (398 ml size or 14.5 ounces) tomato sauce
1 chopped onion
1/2 chopped green pepper
1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 green onions chopped (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Putting It All Together

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13" x 9" baking dish.

Spread rice evenly along bottom of dish.

Season both sides of each chicken breast half with garlic salt and pepper, place over rice in baking dish.

In a bowl combine the broth, salsa, tomato sauce, onion and green pepper. Stir to combine and pour over chicken.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 55 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese mixture and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes. Broil for 1 minute if desired.
I serve this with some chopped green onion scattered on top and a dollop of sour cream! Yummy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cream of Mushroom Haddock

We usually always marinated our haddock in lemon juice and water and add salt and pepper to the fillets. This is so simple and so tastey – I love it. But one day I was thinking I needed to try something different with Haddock and came up with this…MS loved it; and it was a tasty change of pace.

Chopped asparagus (celery or broccoli would be good too);
Chopped onion (I like onion in most things..optional);
Chopped mushrooms;
Grated Cheddar;
Salt and Pepper;
Can of cream of mushroom soup (Can try cream of broccoli or asparagus);
Haddock – two or three good sized fillets

Place the haddock on the bottom of your baking dish – sprinkle them with salt and pepper; Cover the fillets with your veggies; and then add your cheese and can of soup!

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until your haddock is cooked through; put overtop of some rice and enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nacho Dip with Cucumber ?

Mmm....Nacho Dip! :) This is a very basic recipe; and you've probably had something similar before. I was a tad weery about the lettuce and cucumber in this recipe; however, it adds something refreshing - and the cucumbers are quite delicious. I usually go for the warm dips; but this is a great cold dip!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cocktail sauce
1 cup medium salsa
3/4 cup diced green onion
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 tomato chopped
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cucumber, thinly sliced

Blend with an electric hand mixer, blender, food processor, whatever you’ve got, but mix thoroughly - cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of a medium serving dish.

In individual layers, top the mixture with cocktail sauce, mild salsa, diced green onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, chopped tomato, shredded Cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce.

Arrange cucumber slices around the edge of the serving dish. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf

This recipe makes 3 pumpkin chocolate chip loaves. I usually have one for our family, bring one into work or give it to a friend, and freeze one. I am in no way a baker but this recipe is nice and easy and always turns out moist and delicious.

The Grocery List

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Baking It Up

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth.
  3. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Divide mixture evenly into loaf pans.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. (check them at 45 mins to be safe!)
  7. Cool on wire racks before removing from pans.

Yields 3 loaves or 36 Servings. Per Serving: Calories: 203,Total Fat: 8.6g, Cholesterol: 24mg,Sodium: 204mg,Total Carbs: 30.7g, Dietary Fiber: 1.2g,Protein: 2.3g

Stuffed Pork Loin a La Monterey

After reading mommy's post on Greek Stuffed Pork Loin; I came up with this recipe! We always have Monterey Jack cheese in our house; and red peppers; and MS does not like feta...so I thought why not try this, and let me tell you, it was amazing and very tastey! The Monterey Jack cheese had red pepper flakes in it; and added a nice spice to each bite - delicious!

The Grocery List
• 2 pork loins (there are only two of us, so we only cooked one)
• salt and pepper
• 4 jarred roasted red pepper halves (cut into strips)
• 1 package of precooked bacon strips
• 1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese with red pepper flakes
• 6 tbsp Balsamic vinegrette salad dressing
• wooden or metal skewers (if you are using wood, soak them in water for 10 mins prior to use)
Cooking it all Up:

Pound the pork loins to 1/2 inch thickness using your kitchen hammer and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Layer bacon, roasted red peppers and monterey onto the pork loins (spread the ingredients evenly between the two). Pour a line of balsamic vinegrette on top.
Fold the pork loin over and secure with skewers. Place in a greased baking dish.

Brush balsamic vinegrette thoroughly over the outside of the pork loin.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 40 minutes or until pork is fully cooked and enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I know that is an ugly picture, perhaps the ugliest picture to ever grace this blog...it's shame because I promise this is one of THE. Best. Meals. EVER.

My 6 year olds favorite meal! You ask most kids what they want for a supper or a birthday dinner and you'll get "pizza" as a reply. Not my Olivia, she will reply "how about meatballs with rice". Everyone I've ever made this for has loved it and wanted more. I usually make a double or triple dose and freeze them in freezer bags for quick weeknight meals.

The Grocery List

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 package of dry onion soup mix
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cups of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 1/3 cup Ketchup (original recipe states "a dollop" which i figure is about 1/3 or until you can't squeeze the bottle any more)
  • 2 handfuls of brown sugar (very technical...I know)
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
Cooking It all Up

Begin by making the meatball. Add the ground beef, onion soup mix and egg to a bowl, mix well (I use my hands) and form meatballs. Lay the meatballs out on baking trays. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, turning once. Once they are cooked I place them on a plate and dab them dry with paper towel to remove excess fat.

While the meatballs are cooking, put the tomato soup, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, onion and mushrooms into a large pot on the stove.

One the meatballs are cooked, add them to the sauce and simmer at least 30 minutes.
** alternatively, if you aren't pressed for time, you could make the sauce right in your slow cooker as I did with my double batch, add the cooked meatballs, and set to low for a few hours.

Serve over rice with a side salad and garlic bread. A perfect meal for a rushed weeknight or for company on a weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Satay Chicken Pasta

This recipe is from Pampered Chef and is actually supposed to be a pasta salad; but I prefer it warm. However, I'm sure it would be great either way; it is very delicious - and that is all thanks to the sauce!

8 oz uncooked bow tie pasta
1 cup lite Asian vinaigrette salad dressing
2 tbsp Asian Seasoning Mix (or see substitute at the bottom)
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium red bell pepper
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts (we just used chopped peanuts from the cooking aisle and garnished at the end - I did enjoy the peanuts; MS didn't)
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil (again, we garnished at the end; and chopped maybe 1/4 cup)
3 cups diced cooked chicken (about 1 lb)
Additional chopped peanuts (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and wait till everything else is cooked before transferring to a mixing bowl to mix with all other ingredients.

2. For the dressing, combine vinaigrette, seasoning mix and peanut butter in a small bowl; mix well using a whisk and set aside.

3. Cut carrots into julienne strips; cut bell pepper lengthwise. I bought a pre-package of chopped veggies at the supermarket for $3.99 and it was perfect. It had red, yellow and green peppers; carrots already julienned; mushrooms; onions; broccoli; cauliflower and we added a handful of sweet peas - cause at that point, why not! We both love stir frys - and it was so great to have everything pre-chopped - it really helped to cut a corner and we both enjoyed all the veggies in this dish even though it would be fine without them as well - just use what you like!

4. Cook the chicken and then add the veggies to the mix until they are cooked - I like mine a little crunchy in a dish like this; but MS prefers them cooked well. Again, do this step however you like. I added a little salt and pepper as I was cooking the chicken and EVOO.

5. Next you are going to add the noodles to a mixing bowl then add the chicken/vegetables and dressing to mix well. As your mixing it is easy to judge how much dressing you should add; we didn't end up using it all but it was close. Then we garnished the tops of our serving with chopped peanuts and chopped basil.

Yield: 6 servings (8 cups)

Nutrients per serving: (about 1 1/2 cups): Calories 450, Total Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 60 mg, Carbohydrate 45 g, Protein 31 g, Sodium 750 mg, Fiber 3 g

Cook's Tip: If desired, 2 garlic cloves, pressed (we finely chopped) and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper can be substituted for the Asian Seasoning Mix.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Greek Stuffed Pork Loin

I came up with this recipe on the fly. Pork loins were on sale at the grocery store and I was craving Greek food. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out and how my family gobble it up. I would make it again for sure, it's simple enough for a dinner any day of the week and fancy enough for company! Using two pork loins for this recipe gives us enough for our family to have dinner (2 adults, 2 kids) and have enough left over for a man sized lunch the next day.

The Grocery List

  • 2 pork loins
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 jarred roasted red pepper halves (cut into strips)
  • 1 package of precooked bacon strips
  • 1 1/2 cups grated feta cheese
  • 6 tbsp Greek style salad dressing
  • wooden or metal skewers (if you are using wood, soak them in water for 10 mins prior to use)
Cooking it all Up:

Pound the pork loins to 1/2 inch thickness using your kitchen hammer and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Layer bacon, roasted red peppers and feta onto the pork loins (spread the ingredients evenly between the two).
Fold the pork loin over and secure with skewers. Place in a greased baking dish.

Sprinkle the Greek salad dressing over top of the meat.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 40 minutes or until pork is fully cooked.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oven BBQ Chicken

This is one of my husbands favorite recipes. I stole it from my mom! This recipe is easily doubled or tripled and freezes really well for a quick weeknight meal.

The Grocery List

  • Family pack of chicken thighs (approx. 16-18 pieces)
  • 2/3 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 oz white vinegar
  • 1/3 bottle of HP sauce
  • 10-12 shakes of Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
Cooking it Up

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in the chicken thighs. Cook for 8-10 minutes. (this is a step that I have skipped but I find when I do the sauce gets watery instead of staying nice and thick, so although it's an extra step, I recommend you do it).

Mix all of the rest of the ingredients in a large casserole dish.
Drain the chicken and shake off excess water. Drop the chicken into the sauce.
Cook at 325 for 2 hours.


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