Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This is my favorite time of year!  I of course love Christmas too, but Halloween is just as much fun!  Especially since you not only get to decorate your house...but yourself too!  We really get into the costumes at my house.  We tend to make instead of much more fun that way. all you ghouls and goblins I just wanted to wish you all a creepy, fun and safe Halloween!

Carmel Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding...YUM!

Now things are getting interesting... This recipe is one of many that are like nothing I have ever made before!  I have never made a bread pudding or worked with pumpkin...yeah thats right...never worked with pumpkin.  Told ya I was new at this ;)  So, when I came across this recipe I thought this would be a good (and delicious) way to start trying new things!  I was right!  I found this wonderful concoction on Southern Living's Website

Carmel Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 15oz cans of pumpkin (I used one 29 oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cups of 2% or whole milk
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 cups (give or take) cubed bread (I used Italian...and it wasn't day old! Still turned out great)
Mix all ingredients together in a big mixing bowl.  Like a REALLY big bowl...just makes it easier :o)

Stir in the bread and make sure that pieces are coated evenly.

Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours (the longer the better).

When you are ready to bake, butter a 9x13 pan and spoon the mixture in.  Make sure to spread out to all corners of the pan.  Bake at 350* for 1 hour.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the carmel/pecan topping:
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 Tblsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Lightly toast the pecans in a pan with 1/2 tsp of butter.  In another pan, melt the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup together.  Add the pecans (after they're toasted) and the vanilla to the buter/sugar mixture.

After everything is looking gorgeous and absolutely carmelrific...drizzle over the bread pudding.  Then return to the oven for about 5 minutes.

Ooooey Goooooey Goooodness...thats a lot of ooooo's!
Sooooo freaking good you will be hummin' and yummin' until the last bite!  This was actually not too hard to do and turned out great on my first try.  Which was surprising :o)  The only suggestion I have...if you have a fairly shallow 9x13 pan...put it on a cookie sheet BEFORE pouring the carmel sauce on!  Learned this the hard way. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pillsbury Mini Pizzas...improvised.

Pillsbury is genious.  I will just start with that... They put out some really yummy (and inexpensive) products that can be used to make some even yummier food!  On top of simple!  I had a bunch of soon-to-expire cans of biscuits, so I took to the internet to find some recipes to use them up.  I found this one on Pillsbury's website.  Only one problem...the recipe calls for flaky biscuits and I only had homestyle (which I personally like better).  So, I improvised!

Kitty's Homestyle Mini Pizzas
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Grands Homestyle biscuits
  • 1/2 cup of pizza sauce
  • sliced pepperoni
  • shredded mozzarella
  • Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Preheat oven to 400*

Spray a cookie sheet with the cooking spray and set aside.  Press out each biscuit to form a small pizza crust (dont roll it out, but use your hands to flatten the dough and pinch around the sides lighty to form a "crust").  Top each one with a tablespoon of pizza sauce (you can use more or less...up to you) and spread around with the back of a spoon.  Then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on much or as little as you want.  On the tippy top, place the pepperoni.  Pop this into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. 

Note the dish towel...we's fancy 'round these parts!
 Take out and serve!  Super yummy and easy!  Another constant in our weekly menu.  I served with a salad (gotta eat your veggies!) for a complete meal. 

Cinnamon Cresent Rolls

A little something about me...I love to bake!  I love to cook...but I reeeeaaalllly love to bake.  Its theraputic.  I would bake everyday...if I didn't have a full time, 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job that takes up most of my days during the week.  So, I have been hunting for some recipes that are quick, but will still fulfill my need for alone time with my oven.  Enter one of my favorite blogs...For the Love of Cooking.  This recipe was stupidly simple and tasted great!  I guess you could is so great it's stupid :o)

Cinnamon Cresent Rolls 
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Cresent Rolls
  • Butter
  • 2 Tbsp of Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp of Cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 375*

Unroll all the cresent rolls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and spread with butter (you might wanna use either softened or spreadable butter).  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the mixture on the cresent rolls....and maybe a little in your mouth as well.  Hey! It is important to follow the recipe ;) When you roll them up, make sure you roll from the bottom of the triangle to the tip. 

Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes (or until they look like golden goodness).  Remove from the oven and serve while warm.  Yum!
I know, I know...I should've cut one open...I am new at this!
This was suuuuuupppper simple!  And my hubby and I loved them!  Thanks again Pam!  Really easy, tasty and clever!  This WILL be made again and again...


So...I cook for a very very very picky eater.  My wonderful, hunky and charming husband Troy.  There isn't much he will eat, so I am always searching for new and tasty things to make.  Through my "travels" on the internet, I found many awesome blogs.  One I found called For the Love of Cooking, is one of my faves!  Pam has some really great recipes on there and easy to follow instructions!  This particular one that I tried is called Ground Beef, Black Bean and Cheddar Cheese Taquitos.  Well...the hubby doesn't like beans (of any sort) and I didn't have all the spices required (being the rookie that I am...I buy the pre-mixed Taco Seasoning), so I improvised and made it my way.

Kitty's Picky Taquitos
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (I used Laura's Lean)
  • 1 packet of Taco Seasoning
  • 1/2 of one large sweet onion
  • 2 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • Pam Cooking Spray (any kind is fine...I used Regular AND Olive Oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese 

Preheat your oven to 425* (not sure how to type the degrees symbol...if someone knows...HELP!)

So, start by heating the pan on medium heat and add the Olive Oyl Oil (ah geh geh geh).  Sorry...I am goofy... Once the oil is thin and moving easily around the pan, add your beef.  Brown the beef about half way, then add the packet of taco seasoning. Stir this up good!  While the meat and the seasonings are getting friendly..dice the onion very small (I have not yet mastered this technique, so I cheat and use a Vidalia Chop Wizard...that thing is my best friend), then add to the beef.  Stir this up until all is mixed together.  Turn the heat down a little and stir a little here and there until the beef is good and browned.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Now its tortilla time!  Spray a cookie sheet liberally with the cooking spray and set aside.  Take your corn tortillas and wrap them in damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 1 minute.  Then take each tortilla and put a little cheese and a little beef in the center.  Carefully wrap one side over the other and place seam side down on the cookie sheet.  Repeat this with all the tortillas.  Once all the taquitos are wrapped and on the cookie sheet, spray each one with more cooking spray.  I go pretty liberal with this...they get crunchier that way :o)

Place the cookie sheet in the oven for 5-8 minutes (the longer the crunchier).  Once the time is up, flip them over with tongs and place back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes.  Then your done! 

I serve this with spanish rice (Zatarain's...its awesome!  But maybe I will make homemade...someday).

Here are how mine turned out :)
This probably sounds pretty plain to some, but like I said before...I am cooking for the pickiest eater...ever!  Please click on the link to the original recipe and try it out!  I would have never thought of making these like this before reading Pam's blog.  This meal is one of our regulars now.  My husband and I both LOVE it! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A new and exciting idea!

Hello!  I have been inspired by some of my favorite blogs out there (check out my "Blogs That Inspire Me" section) to start a new and exciting blog!  I will be trying out some really yummy sounding recipes that I have found on various websites and blogs, then trying them and home.  The exciting part is...I will be blogging about how (as a rookie "chef") I was able to execute them and show you how MY finished product came out!  I can't wait to get started! 
So, I hope you are as excited as I am...this is going to be fun!