Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Whip

As a continuation of my last post, here is another menu item from my fabulous/fail first-ever book swap party! Today's featured item is Pumpkin Whip! I believe the original recipe referred to it as "Pumpkin Fluff", but that just wasn't going to jive with me. Hence, re-branding. :-P I served mine in a hallowed out pie pumpkin (which was a nightmare, btw, to cut open) with cinnamon graham crackers. However, after eating some leftovers today, I realized the grahams really took away from the pumpkin flavor. Also, they're kind of messy and crumbly, so I would recommend Teddy Grahams if you wanted to go that route. Or just enjoy eating with a spoon. It'll be like eating a cloud...a delicious pumpkiny cloud. :-P

-1 16 oz. container fat-free whipped topping, thawed
-1 5 oz. package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
-1 15 oz. can pumpkin (I think it could use a little more to be honest, but I really like pumpkin)
-1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

-In a large bowl, mix together vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.
-Fold in thawed whipped topping.
-Chill until serving



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-apple Relish

Yesterday, I hosted a little book swap party. It was a little bit of a fail since only my mother-in-law showed up, but that just meant more food for us! This is a plus because the food was delightful! Here's the menu:


Pumpkin Soup
with chili cran-apple relish

Mozzarella Grilled Cheese
with sliced roma tomatoes and basil pesto

Pumpkin Fluff
with cinnamon graham crackers

Diet Cranberry Soda
Apple Cider
Bottled Water

The spread of goodies!

And here's *one of* the recipes!

The Pumpkin Soup is something I've made once before, for a family Thanksgiving. By itself, it's slightly bland, but the relish is what really brings out the Wow! factor. I stole this one from Rachael Ray.

(For Soup)
-1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 bay leaf
-2 ribs celery, finely chopped
-1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
-Salt and Pepper
-3 tbs. all-purpose flour
-2 tsp. poultry seasoning (smells like Thanksgiving!)
-2 tsp. hot sause, or to taste (I used the 2 tsp. and it added a nice heat, but not spicy)
-6 cups chicken stock
-1 can pumpkin (28 oz.)
-2 cups heavy cream
-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon (because I can't have pumpkin without cinnamon)

(For Relish)
-1 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
-1/4 red onion, finely chopped
-2 tbs. lemon juice
-1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
-1 tsp. chili powder
-2 tsp. honey
-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

-Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter.
-Add bay leaf, celery and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 or 7 minutes, until tender.
-Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce, then cook flour 1 minute.
-Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a bubble.
-Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate into the broth. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit.
-Add in cream, nutmeg and cinnamon.
-Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

-While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.

Serve soup with a few spoonfuls of relish!

5 star recipe for me!
3 from Studdly hard to please!

Coming soon: Mozzarella Grilled Cheese!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Today I needed to bake something for our bake sale at work to benefit the Alzheimer's Association Walk To End Alzheimer's. Because one of the best parts of fall is pumpkin and apples, I decided to bake pumpkin bread! Beth, my supervisor, told me about a recipe from the American Heart Association. I gave it a try and let  me tell you, a nice warm slice slathered in butter really hits the spot! It was ridiculously easy to make, although it does take an hour to bake. Give it a try!

If you're interested in making a donation towards the Walk To End Alzheimer's, click here.

-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-1 1/2 tsps salt
-1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
-1 tsp nutmeg
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup oil
-4 eggs or egg substitutes (or 8 egg whites)
-2/3 cup water
-2 cups canned pumpkin
-1 cup chopped pecans (I'm not a big fan of pecans, so I omitted them and it was still great!)

-Sift together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
-Add sugar to flour mixture and mix thoroughly. 
-Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all at once the following ingredients: oil, eggs, water and pumpkin. Mix well then add in the pecans. 
-Pour batter into 4 8x4-inch loaf pans*, filling each pan about half full. 
-Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Yield: 4 loaves 1/16 of a loaf equals approximately 85 calories
*I used 2 larger loaf pans for 2 loaves of bread.

I give this recipe 4 stars.
3 Stars from Studdly Hubby!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crockpot Chicken and Corn Chowder

The temperature here in Indiana has dropped 30 degrees since the weekend, and has everyone fantasizing about football, hoodies, snuggling with someone special under a blanket on a lazy weekend. That being said, this meal was perfect for a cool fall day. It was hot, filling, nutritious (had veggies anyway), and all around comforting. I predict we will be having this many times in the cold months ahead! I may even make it for the book swap party I'm planning!

*Directions intended to throw in the crockpot in the morning before running out the door to work!
-1 can Cream of Potato Soup
-1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
-1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast OR 1 cup diced chicken
-1 can whole kernel corn, drained
-1 can chicken broth
-1/4 cup+ diced red bell pepper
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon thyme
-1 cup milk

-The night before, chop up your red bell pepper. This is one less step you'll have to worry about in the AM.

-In the AM, combine all ingredients *except milk* in the crockpot. I just tossed in a whole frozen chicken breast. I used a whisk to stir it all so that I could break up all that "cream of" soup.

-Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. At some point, remove the chicken and shred it. Once it's been cooking awhile, it will just fall apart. If you use diced chicken, you can obviously skip this step all together!

-Add milk and cook for 30 minutes on high, or until hot.

-Served in bowls with bread of your choice. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil. Devour.

Note: Adapted from recipe found on I accidentally used a whole can of chicken broth rather than a cup, so I added about a tablespoon of corn starch at the end to thicken it up.

I gave this recipe 4 stars.
Studdly Hubby Rating: "Pretty Good"

Friday, August 12, 2011

Poor Man's Mac and Cheese

Ladies and gentlemen, when I was young, my family did not have a lot of money. We were most certainly lower class. There are many who come from those kinds of circumstances and reminiscence about the fact that they didn't know any different and were happy with second hand clothes, playing in the dirt, blah blah blah. I am not one of those people. I HATED being poor. But we'll save all that for another blog. The point I'm getting to is that even though I hated our lack of resources and our sad little meals, there is one that rises above the rest. One meal that I still devour and find incredibly comforting. That is, baked macaroni and cheese. It's so simple and so inexpensive. It's not even worthy of calling a recipe, but I'm going to share it anyway. You can serve it as a side dish, but for me, it's a meal.

Here's what you need:

Cooking Spray, Elbow Macaroni Noodles, American Cheese, Breadcrumbs. That's it. For real.

Now, to get started. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Boil some water. Enough to adequately cover your noodles and leave of couple inches of water. This will depend on how many servings you are making.

Intense, I know.
Next, add your noodles. When cooking for myself and my husband (or maybe just myself) I use about 2 cups. Let these boil for 8-9 minutes. Strain. *Note* My colander was not available at the time so I strained the water out and let the noodles hang out in the pot they were cooked in. Don't do this. Your noodles will stick to the pan. It's not pretty.

Now, spray your casserole dish with the cooking spray. In a pinch, you could also butter it. Add a small layer of your cooked noodles.

Next, add a layer of American cheese. The trick here is to really cover that layer of noodles, so depending on the size/shape of your pan, you may need to be a bit strategic. For example, I put down one whole slice on the edge, then broke the second slice into thirds.

We're talking about cheese here people. Strategy matters.
After the cheese comes another layer of noodles, then another layer of cheese. Repeat this process until you have used all of your noodles.

Now you should be looking at the top layer of noodles. This is a very important layer. This time when you add the cheese, you want to cover the whole thing with zero gaps. I also nudge the slices down the sides, just a little.


When I was little, my mom would crumble saltine crackers on the top layer. That way is delicious, but I rarely have those available. And I don't want to open a bag just to use a couple and have the rest go stale. So I use breadcrumbs. And you know? Equally heavenly.

Pop the whole thing in the oven for around 20 minutes, again, this may vary depending on the size, but all you're really doing is melting the cheese.

It's done when the top is browned.

And that top layer? That heavenly, salty, crispy, cheesy layer? It's kind of the best part.

For the time and money, this is definitely worth a try. My husband doesn't care for it, but this is the same person who doesn't like Cracker Barrel or diners. There are ways to jazz this up. Use different kinds of cheese, add veggies, different toppings...Cook it with salsa and top with crushed tortilla chips for a fiesta version! The options are endless! Please share if you try any! :-)

Approximately 6 Weight Watchers Plus Points/cup

Bon appetit!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl 45 - Chicken Enchilada Dip

Welcome all ye from the land of Pinterest! I hope you get a chance to try this dip. It really is amazing! I know I'll be making it again for the Super Bowl this year!

This dip is something I tried at one of my in-laws Christmas get-togethers. Studdly Hubby's grandmother had brought it and I could have easily devoured the whole thing by myself! I was a little obsessed with it after that so I got on Google and hunted down the recipe. I found it on

Feel free to make this one, but I feel have the responsibility to warn you: It is addictive. It's not like Pringles. I can stop eating those. It's much more dangerous. I could eat the whole pan by myself. 

There. Any addictions, burst stomachs or digestive issues are not my problem. I warned you.

Here we go!

Begin by roasting about a pound of chicken breasts for 20 minutes or until fully cooked. I did this step this morning so I could let the chicken cool for the next step - shredding it. For this, I just use 2 forks and go to town.

It's pretty brutal.
Once all the chicken is shredded, throw it all into a large mixing bowl.

There. The hard part is over! Now you just add the rest of the ingredients, and mix thoroughly. 
Unmixed...don't those chiles on top look lovely?
All mixed up and ready to be spread into the baking dish.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here it is, in all its baked cheesy glory:

It doesn't look like much, but believe's like a drug. The
most delicious narcotic you will ever encounter.

I'm having a hard time stopping myself from continuing to shoveling more of this delightful concoction into my face. Like I said. You were warned!!

Om non nom!


  • -1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • -1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • -1 (8 ounce) jar mayonnaise
  • -1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • -1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
  • -1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (Optional! I skipped this.)


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place chicken breast halves on a medium baking sheet.

-Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until no longer pink. Remove from heat, cool and shred.

-Place shredded chicken in a medium bowl, and mix in cream cheese, mayonnaise, Cheddar cheese, green chile peppers (and jalapeno pepper, if you choose). Transfer the chicken mixture to a medium baking dish.

-Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

Superbowl 45 - Pizza Dip

While I am not a football fan, I do appreciate some aspects of the Superbowl. I love the idea that millions of people are watching the same thing at the same. It's very unifying. I read this on Wikipedia: " Super Bowl XLIV, played on February 7, 2010 between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, became the most-watched American television program in history, drawing an average audience of 106.5 million viewers and taking over the spot held for twenty-seven years by the final episode of M*A*S*H." 

Which leads me to my next favorite thing: the commercials! Most of them hilarious or touching, as well as obscenely expensive (we could several third world countries with that kind of green!), and coupled with the fact that all those people are watching it with you, you'll have something to talk about on Facebook and with your co-workers the next day.

And of course, there is the food. Today, our menu consists of Pizza Dip, Chicken Enchilda Dip, and Tyson's Buffalo Chicken Bite Anytizers. For drinks, we have Sam Adams Boston Lager (for Studdly Hubby), and Lemon Drop and Pomegranate Martinis for moi. Plenty of food for 2 adults. 

My first recipe that I will be sharing with you today (as you may have guessed already by the title) is the Pizza Dip. I did not create this recipe...I don't really create any recipe, but I do tweak them to my liking/pocketbook. This one comes from my college friend Adam Barkley. Where he got it I do not know. But I begged him for the recipe over Facebook and he kindly shared it with me. O happy day!!

Here are 2 specific ingredients I have found helpful for this recipe:

Pizza sauce in a squeeze bottle and mini pepperoni.
Really. It doesn't take much to impress me!
Ok, here we go. The first thing you want to do is mix together some cream cheese with Italian seasoning. Once that is thoroughly combined, spread it in the bottom of a greased baking dish.

Can you see those little puddles of yellow in the corners?
That's from where I realized I did NOT grease the pan and sprayed
it around the edges still visible. Oops.

With that complete, mix together some Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. Then sprinkle half the mixture onto the cream cheese.This is where the magic begins.

Cheese mixed with cheese sprinkled on top of cheese.
Sounds like a winner so far!
Next, layer your favorite pizza sauce over the cheeses.

It should look something like this:

But wait, we're still not done!
This is the point where I add my mini pepperonis.

Do you see how I tried to be all cute and daintily sprinkle them on from the bag? Bad idea. They kind of stick together, so then you have to pick them up out of the sauce and separate them. After the pepperoni is applied (evenly!) then you can finish it off with...drumroll please...more cheese!

Here she is, ready for the oven.
Ok, that's a lie, I added a little extra mozzarella after this. :-)
Put that in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes and you get this:

That wasn't good enough for me, so I switch the oven to broil and left it for 2 more minutes. The results:

O yes. I can dig into this.

That's it! Serve with chips, crackers or your favorite bread/breadsticks. I chose a loaf from Meijer:



-1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened.
-1 tsp Italian seasoning.
-1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
-3/4 Cup Parmesean cheese
-1 8 oz. jar (or squeeze bottle!) pizza sauce
-a handful of mini pepperonis and/or any other toppings you would prefer
-breadsticks ( Your favorite)
-Preheat oven to 350.
-Combine in bowl, the cream cheese and Italian seasoning. Mix well.
-Spread in bottom of greased ( with Pam or cooking spray) glass baking dish.
-Combine cheeses, sprinkle half of the cheese mixture over cream cheese.
-Spread pizza sauce evenly over , then top with the remaining cheese , peppers and onions.
-Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until melted and mixture is bubbling around the edges.
-Serve with breadsticks or whatever you like to use for dipping.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Best Steak I Ever Made

For my first post, I would like to share this little gem I found via Stumble Upon: "Turning Cheap "Choice" Steak into Gucci "Prime" Steak.

Basically, the instructions call for massively salting the meat and letting it sit for about an hour. Then you rinse it off, pat it dry and cook it.

This morning I was watching "Man vs. Food" on the Travel Channel, mostly because nothing else was on. Anyway, it was in Texas, which meant lots and lots of meat. There was even a lovely challenge in which he had to devour a 72 oz. steak. Generally, watching this guy in his "challenges" makes me nauseous, but since I hadn't had breakfast yet and was very hungry, all the scenes leading up to this were like foreplay.  For your viewing pleasure:

I actually ended up with a monstrous craving for steak, and just my luck, I had already planned on going grocery shopping today. So I bought a couple cheap steaks and remembered the salting trick. They were delicious, juicy and tender. They did turn out a little salty, but that is just how I like it!

I highly recommend giving this a try.

Thank you "Steamy Kitchen" for sharing this one!

Rachel Faye