Monday, November 19, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mini Tarts


12 Gingersnap cookies
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup Solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Eggs


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place 12 muffin cup liners in a muffin tin. Place a gingersnap cookie in the bottom of each liner. Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla until well blended. Add the eggs and beat well. Divide bater equally among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from the pan and chill before serving (whip cream optional... actually not really - USE IT, but I will say its an option).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

Last night I had the opportunity to eat a pre-Thanksgiving feast with my ward. Now I don't really get excited about traditional Thanksgiving fare, but I do derive a slight amount of satisfaction from a plate full of rolls, potatoes, and stuffing. But one thing I can't stomach is canned cranberry. SICK! It's slimy and in the shape of a can--a can!; it's not quite jelly and it contains inordinate amounts of high fructose corn syrup. The worst part of all is that you can cut it into slices. The only things worse than it are the canned yams. Anyway, I was inspired to find a recipe for a more natural cranberry sauce. A simple Google search brought up the following recipe. I'm just going to put in the link because there was too much good information to cut and paste. So good luck and may you never eat canned cranberry again.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sour Cream Banana Bread

The sour cream and brown sugar make this bread chewy and delicious; the nutmeg/cinnamon combo adds the perfect amount of spice. Feel free to add walnuts or chocolate chips :)

5 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. mashed bananas (about 3-4; the blacker the better!)
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9X5 loaf pan, making sure to cover each corner with the butter then flour, so the bread comes out easily after baking.
  2. Cream butter and sugars together with mixer on about a medium speed. Let mixer run for a minute or two to whip the mixture.
  3. While that mixture whips together, combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Lower speed of butter mixture and add egg, egg whites, and vanilla. Mix to incorporate.
  5. Add dry mixture and sour cream to butter mixture, alternating a small amount of each at a time, starting and ending with the dry mixture. Blend for a minute to whip and incorporate.
  6. Slowly add mashed bananas to the mix and blend quickly to incorporate.
  7. Evenly pour mixture into pre-greased loaf pan. Bake for approximately 1hr 10 mins. at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Autumn Brie

1 small McIntosh or Cortland apple
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup apple cider
1 (8-inch) round Brie cheese
1/4 C. sugar
Pecans, sugar, 1/4 t. cayenne

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Core and chop the apple. Place in a saucepan with the raisins, craisins, cider and sugar and boil gently until the apples are tender but not mushy (approximately 1/2 to 2 minutes.) Put the Brie in an ovenproof dish slightly larger than the Brie. Strain the liquid from the apple/raisin/craisin mixture and put drained apple and raisins/craisins on top of the Brie. Garnish with chopped pecans, a little extra sugar and cayenne and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve with sliced French bread, or I prefer a baguette (and I know Shan does too!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers

My personal favorite.

1 can black beans, drained, rinsed, and mashed
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup whole kernel corn
1/4 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 TBS. fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
4 whole wheat hamburger buns

1. Mash bean. Finely chop onion. Add onion, corn, salsa, pressed garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper to the beans; mix well. Add bread crumbs and egg whites to bean mixture; mix well. Form bean mixture into four round patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
2. Heat skill over medium heat until hot. Lightly spray pan and cook patties 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
3. Place burgers on buns. Add tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, etc., etc.

And now... to really make them good... make some homemade Sweet Potato Fries (my own recipe!)

Cut Sweet Potatoes vertically. The skinnier they are, the faster they will cook. I leave the skins on. Put them in pan. Drizzle with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you non-foodies). Add salt, pepper, and cumin (trust me, it's amazing). Cook at 350 for approx. 20-30 minutes.

Wait for your life to change. You'll seriously never want beef again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Caprese Salad

Mozzarella Cheese (preferably buffalo)
Mouth watering tomatoes

Cut both between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Layer Mozzarella then tomato then mozzarella etc. Pour equal amounts of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Top with fresh Basil. Add salt and pepper according to preference.

Yum Yum Salad

K, so I am winging it but this is my all time favorite quick and healthy meal!

1 head of lettuce
10-12 mini carrots cut
1/2 large Avocado (I suggest taking out the seed, cutting it in a grid then pushing out into salad)
1/2 large apple cut in very small chunks
1 Chicken Breast grilled and cut into squares
1/2 large cucumber (sliced very thin!) Leave the skin on if it is organic
2 Celery Stalks cut


Dressing is adjustable. It consists of Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar and Garlic Salt. Start with 1 and 1/2 T of Olive Oil and about 1/2 T of Red Wine Vinegar ( I usually eye it to have Red Wine Vinegar be about 1/4 of my Olive Oil). Add as necessary, if you really like the tart flavor of vinegar you can add Balsamic as well... but only a few drops! Add Garlic Salt to personal liking and enjoy!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Chicken Reuben

These are SO yummy. I didn't think I liked Reuben sandwiches until I had these! They are fun to make for lunch or a light dinner. Hope you enjoy!


Serves 4

  • chicken breasts
  • 8 slices sourdough bread (or any kind of bread you prefer)
  • 4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1 pound (1 jar or package) sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry (not rinsed)
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup


  1. Turn on broiler, with rack 4 inches from the heat. Thinly slice chicken. Top 4 slices of bread with cheese, then with chicken and sauerkraut.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and ketchup; spoon over sauerkraut. Place remaining slices of bread on top.
  3. Broil sandwiches, about 2 minutes on each side, until cheese has melted and bread is golden brown. Cut in half, and serve immediately.

A Fun Halloween Treat

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars


2 cups (spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in 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. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Double Chocolate Soy Pudding

I know soy scares some people, but I promise this doesn't taste like soy at all. Just like pure and creamy chocolate! It is husband-tested, believe me. Oh and I took out some butter to make it healthier as well. Once it's chilled, you can place it in some sundae dishes or small mugs and grate chocolate shavings on top to make it look that much tastier.


1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2

teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate soy milk
1 tablespoon butter


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa, sugar, salt, cornstarch and whisk well.
  2. Add chocolate soymilk, whipping continuously. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, whipping non-stop to discourage lumps from forming. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whip in butter and vanilla.
  3. Pour into a heat-proof dish, cover and place in the fridge until completely cooled and set.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Corn Tortelli with Lemon Basil Butter

This recipe is amazing! It's like an Italian ravioli but flatter and hand-made. Also, the corn and the mascarpone go together so well. I got the original recipe from Giada (of Everyday Italian fame), but naturally I've altered a couple things. Her original recipe calls for tarragon butter, but basil and corn just go so well together I couldn't resist. Also, chicken is really good in it or on the side for you meat lovers. Enjoy!

1) Fresh Pasta Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place flour in a food processor. In a small bowl whip eggs. Add the salt and olive oil to the eggs and combine. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Pulse to combine the ingredients, scraping down the sides. Continue until the liquid is evenly distributed, about 1 minute. The dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers. The dough will be cornmeal-yellow in color.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough into a ball and knead gently until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

2) Corn Tortelli:
Cornmeal, as needed
2 cans corn, drained well (about 1 1/2 cups total)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup mozzarella or other white cheese of your choice
1/2 teaspoon minced basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, for egg wash

Special equipment: pasta roller, scalloped pasta cutter (this is optional--I just cut mine with a knife)

Sprinkle baking sheet w/cornmeal and set aside. Roll out pasta dough. Cut a piece of the dough off the ball and shape into a rectangle about the size of a deck of cards. Cover remaining dough with plastic wrap and set aside. Roll the rectangle dough through the widest setting of the pasta machine a few times until smooth. Then roll through to the thinnest setting. Gently fold, place on the cornmeal-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Continue rolling out the rest of the pasta.

Next, in a medium bowl mix together the drained corn, mascarpone cheese, mozzarella cheese, basil, and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside. To form tortelli, place a sheet of pasta on a dry surface. Use pastry brush dipped in egg wash, to brush entire sheet of pasta. Place rounded teaspoons of the corn filling on the pasta sheet, about 2 inches apart. Carefully place another sheet of pasta over the mounds, smoothing out any air pockets and firmly sealing the pasta around the filling. Cut the pasta into small squares. Transfer the Tortelli to the cornmeal-lined baking sheet. Continue forming the remaining tortelli.

3) Basil Lemon Butter:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/3 cup corn (canned or fresh)
1 teaspoon chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, for garnish

-In a medium bowl, gently mix together all the ingredients.

To serve, place the Lemon Basil Butter in a large serving bowl. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Drain pasta, using a large mesh strainer or slotted spoon, into the bowl with the butter. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shan's Dark Chocolate Cake

Here it is friends... the one and only.

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Ready In: 1 hr. 10 mins.
Makes: 10-12

½ c. natural cocoa powder
½ c. boiling water
2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
¾ c. unsalted butter—room temperature
1 ¾ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ c. sour cream

6 ounces dark chocolate—chopped
2 Tbsp. water
¾ c. sugar
4 large egg yolks
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter—cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature
Grated dark chocolate (optional)

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
2. Whisk together the cocoa and the boiling water in a small bowl until smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large deep bowl until well blended—the mixture will be dry. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour, just until well blended. Add the cocoa mixture and blend well. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan on wire racks for 20 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the racks and remove pans. Cool cakes completely before frosting.

1. Melt the chocolate with the water in a double boiler, set over about 1 ½ inches of simmering water, whisking until smooth. Transfer to a large deep bowl.
2. Heat the sugar with the egg yolks in another heatproof bowl over the same saucepan of simmering water, whisking constantly for about 4 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch. Whisk the sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture, add the vanilla, and beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Beat in the butter one piece at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cake.
4. Top cake with chocolate shreds (optional).
5.Chill cake before serving.
(Courtesy of Luscious Chocolate Desserts!)

Ashly's Dad's Mom's Pumpkin Bread

This recipe for pumpkin bread, courtesy of Ashly M. Jernigan, is insanely moist. And please, whatever you do, DON'T add chocolate chips.

(Makes 3 loaves)
4 c. flour
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 c. oil
1 big can pumpkin
2/3 c. cold water
4 eggs

Bake @ 350 for 1 hour. Bon appetit!