Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

These came out better than expected, and I may make them again for Thanksgiving. They were a perfect Fall pumpkin desert! I based this off of THIS RECIPE on but made a no-bake version and tweaked it out a little bit. This is a great fall dinner-party desert and would be AWESOME with some ice cream!

Beth's No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1 box Gingersnap cookies
4 1/2 T melted butter
1/8 c sugar

1 1/2 8oz pkg cream cheese softened
2 cups whipped cream (or 1 8oz tub of cool whip thawed)
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/8 c sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp cinnamon

1 bag of caramel square candy's melted
Chocolate syrup
1 bag crushed pecans (candied if desired, I didn't candy them....this time.)

Preheat oven to 325, puree the Ginger snap cookies and add sugar and melted butter, mix with a fork until butter is incorporated. Lightly grease a baking dish and press crust mix into the bottom & sides using the back of a spoon. Bake at 325 for 8 minutes, let cool before filling.
In a large bowl mix the cream cheese, pumpkin and spices. Fold in the whipped cream and mix until smooth. Pour onto gingersnap crust. Refrigerate 3 hours.
Top with pecans and drizzle carmel & chocolate syrup all over the top of it!

Pumpkin Ale Beer Brats

I love making beer brats when we're watching football. These were super yummy because we boiled them in Pumpkin Ale before grilling...Normally I don't ever poke holes in sausage before grilling, because it will let the juices OUT, in this case I was trying to get the yummy Pumpkin beer IN to the sausage so I poked each 2x with a fork.

I boiled one package (5 bratwursts) in 2 pumpkin ale beers for about 7 minutes, then cook on the grill for about 10 minutes.

We ate them on toasted buns with grilled sweet onion, jalapeno jack cheese and some spicy brown mustard.

They were a perfect game watchin meal and went well with the pumpkin cheesecake bars I made for desert!

Crab Wontons

This was so much fun!We'd never made won tons at home before but we were so excited to try it! After much deliberation we decided to go with a Crab & cream cheese won ton for our football game get together yesterday. It was surprisingly easy and totally delicious!

1 pkg Wonton Wrappers (we didn't use them all) This made about 25-30 won tons
1 large King Crab Leg (meat removed from shell and shredded)
1 8oz package of cream cheese softened
4-5 chopped up green onion
1 tsp garlic chili paste (Nate saw this in the fridge and couldn't resist)
1 egg white (for sealing wontons)

Mix Crab, cream cheese, green onion and chili paste until well combined. Cover your work area with wax paper to reduce stickiness. Lay several wonton wrappers out on the wax paper. Spoon about 1 tsp of filling onto each wrapper.

Dip your fingers in the egg and run it around the edges of the won ton wrapper.

Seal by folding in half diagonally (bring opposite corners together, so it looks like a triangle standing on it's side.You can seal it in this shape (just make sure you get as much air out as you can) or you can then bring the other two corners into meet the middle corner. It will look like a newspaper hat. Again try to get the air out as much as possible and make sure they are sealed well. We made them in the late morning and refrigerated them for the evening game. About an hour before our guests arrived, we got out one of our fondue pots and filled it with oil, and dropped them slowly into the oil using a slotted metal spoon.

Using the slotted spoon, transfer the golden fried wontons onto a plate covered with paper towel to cool for about 3 minutes before transferring to serving dish.

Serve with sweet & sour sauce and hot mustard. We can't wait to make wontons again & stuff them with something new!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fabulous Ginger Wings

Today was my first attempt at making homemade wings- and I could not be happier, they were DELICIOUS! I can not wait to make these again, they didn't last long and would have been yummy cold, I great item to take tailgating. I just made the Buffalo Chicken Dip the last time we gathered for an away game, so I wanted to make a different style of wing.

About 3-4 lbs Chicken Wings, cut in half~ tips cut off

1/2 C low sodium soy sauce
1/2 C water
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 C rice vinegar
3 T grated fresh ginger
3 T Garlic Chili Paste
3 T chopped green onion
2 T toasted sesame seeds

Place prepared wings in Ziploc bag and pour ½ of sauce into bag, reserve other 1/2(about 1 cup) Marinate 2 hours or more.
Spray a foil lined roasting pan with non-stick spray. Lay wings in the pan pour the sauce from Ziploc into pan. Cook at 350 for 40 - 45 minutes on one side basting frequently, flip over and bake/ baste an additional 25 minutes. Turn off oven let sit 10 minutes. Boil remaining sauce 6-8 minutes on high and reduce heat to thicken… pour thickened sauce and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds & serve :O)

Pulled Pork Omlette

I was still recovering from a week of being super-sick this morning, and while I relaxed on the couch, Nate made this amazing omelet. We made Pulled Pork on Thursday for dinner, and I had leftover mozzarella cheese from the Baked Penne and he brought those two yummy leftovers together into this brilliant breakfast.

3 Jumbo Eggs
Leftover Root beer bbq pulled pork
Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Mix eggs with a fork and pour into heated, sprayed pan. Let the eggs cook until just the very top is not cooked, Add pork and cheese to half the circle of eggs and flip one side over to make the omelet. Flip once after about 1 minutes and flip again after 2 minute.
Serve with hot salsa.

Football Nuts

We had a few friends over to watch the USC game tonight & made all kinds of goodies! This was the first time I've ever made homemade wings AND won tons...I also made these super easy spiced peanuts, perfect with wings & beer!

1 tin salted roasted shelled peanuts
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp garlic chili paste

Prepare a cookie sheet by covering in foil and spraying with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl mix all ingredients. Spread in a single layer over the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes. Cool on sheet- serve in a bowl with some cold beer to drink.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pumpkin Gingerbread

The first thing I've baked with pumpkin this fall, and one of my all-time favorites. This is such a fabulous fall-holiday loaf and makes your whole house smell fantastic while it's baking and cooling! I made this with spiced cream cheese and as always it went FAST!

Beth's Pumpkin Gingerbread
Makes 2 regular loaves or 6 minis
3 C Sugar
1 C Oil
4 Eggs
2/3 C Room temp water
1 15oz Can pumpkin puree
3 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp Allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cloves
3 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 T molasses

Prepare loaf pans by lightly greasing and flouring.
Mix oil and sugar until combined, add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add pumpkin, water and spices & mix well. In a large bowl sift together flour baking soda, salt and baking powder, slowly add to pumpkin mix until well combined. Add molasses & mix.
Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until shish kabob stick comes out clean.
Serve with spiced cream cheese.

Spiced Cream Cheese
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp all spice

Mix all until well combined.

Baked Penne

This is pretty much all we ate for dinner this week. I was so thankful we got it together and made this Monday night, because I've been sick and pretty much going to bed right after work all week. So at least Nate had some good dinner while he took care of me and played Halo3. This was inspired by the recipe for "Ziti on the Fly" that I saw over on Amber's Blog. I definitely want to try her recipe with the ricotta mixed it, that sounds fabulous!!
Here's what we made

Nate & Beth's Baked Penne

4 Cups (dry) Whole Wheat Penne Pasta cooked al dente
3 Cups home made pasta sauce or 1 jar pasta sauce from the store
4 meatballs chopped up
4 cooked sauasges chopped up
1 15oz can tomato sauce
Oregano,Basil, Salt & Chili Flakes
Shredded Ramano cheese
2 Cups shredded mozzerella (we use Precious, it taste AWESOME!)

Nate took the initiave to make his family amazing home made pasta sauce with meatballs and sausage on Sunday- so that is what I used for this recipe. Feel free to use your own pasta sauce recipe or just pick up a jar of your fave at the store and skip the meatballs to make this super-easy!

Boil the pasta about 7-9 minutes, pour the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with oregano, basil, a pinch of kosher salt & spread around to cover bottom of dish. In a large bowl toss the cooked, drained pasta, chopped up meat balls and sausage, about 1/4 cup of shredded ramano cheese and about 1/2 tsp chili flakes and 4 big spoonfulls of the pasta sauce and mix with a wooden spoon. Pour pasta & meat mix into the baking dish. Pour the pasta sauce all over the top of the pasta, cover with shredded mozerella cheese and bake about 20-30 minutes at 350 or until brown and bubbly!

Super Easy Super Nachos

These are so quick and easy and when we are watching football on Sundays they are the perfect thing to whip up. I can't remember which restaurant I was at but I got nachos and each chip was individually topped with beans, cheese, salsa, etc. and I thought that was pretty cool. So to make these super easy super nachos this is what you'll need:

1 bag of tortilla chips
1 can re fried beans
2-3 hand fulls shredded cheese
1 jar of salsa (you won't need the whole thing)
Sour Cream

Any other toppings you'd like;
Chopped onion
Sliced Olives
Grilled Chicken
Taco Seasoned ground beef
Hot sauce

Using a butter knife, spread beans on each chip and arrange in a layer (about the size and shape of the plate you will be serving them on) on a foil covered cookie sheet. Cover the layer of bean'd chips with shredded cheese. Then add a second layer of chips spread with beans on top of that and cover that layer with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Transfer to a plate and top with salsa, sour cream and anything else you'd like.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chilly Weather Chili

Finally the heat lets up. There was a Saturday just a few weeks ago when it was 107 degrees and sweltering. Well, fall is officially here in Los Angeles. Last night we snuggled up and watched a movie while lightening put on a show through the POURING rain outside. No going out to Friday night dinner last night. Thank goodenss we had leftover homemade chili from my Thursday Crockpot dinner this week. I am trying to make something in the crockpot once a week, it always makes at least 2 dinners for us and I love coming home from work to dinner all ready to go.

This is inspired by Chili By George from All Recipes
Our Crockpot is pretty small, so I would double this recipe if yours is 5 quarts or larger.
~Crock Pot Chili~
1 lb ground beef, browned & drained
1 pkg/ about 1lb Beef for Stew, steak cut into 1-2 inch cubes
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of chili beans, drained
3/4 of a finely chopped red onion
1/4 tsp cyanne pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/8 cup chili powder
1 finely chopped red jalepeno pepper
1 15oz tomato sauce (1/2 can of water)
1 1lb 12oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl & stir with wooden spoon until well combined. Pour into crock pot. Add 1/2 can of water to bowl and pour into crock pot.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with cornbread and slaw.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Better Than Sex Cake

A good friend had a BIG birthday to celebrate this past Monday, so I thought I'd make her a cake and torture the whole office with something sweet for a bit. This is actually a combo of two tried & true cake recipes. First I thought of making the Better Than Sex Cake from theWhat's Cooking Blog which sounded AMAZING! I really wanted to make a "homemade" cake, Nate was headed to the beach and I had the whole afternoon. SOoo...I found the recipe for The Perfectly Hershey's Chocolate and thought these two recipies would be Perfectly perfect for eachother!

For each individual recipe can be found in the links above, so here is the recipies combined into one;

2 C. Sugar
1 3/4 C. Flour
3/4 C. Hershey's Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1 C. Milk
1/2 C. Oil
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Cup Boiling Water
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Jar of Caramel (Ice Cream Topping)

1 container of Cool Whip & 8oz softened cream cheese for frosting
1 C. Heath Toffee Bits & Mini Chocolate Chips for topping

I made it in a 12 oz bundt pan- greased and lightly flowerd.
Pre-heat overn to 350, and sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in eggs one at a time, add milk, oil, vanilla, mix well. Add Boiling water and mix. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until shish-kabob stick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan, then cool 10 minutes on wire wrack- transfer to plate covered in wax paper.
Mix milk and caremel in a bowl.
Using a straw poke holes evenly spaced in the cake and using a spoon fill the holes and pour over the cake until it soaks in. Let the cake cool completely.
In a large bowl combine softened cream cheese and thawed Cool Whip, & frost cake, top with Heath bits & mini chocolate chips! WOO HOO!!

For a BEAUTIFUL version of the Better Than Sex Cake and other wonderful recipes~ Check out Good Eats & Sweet Treats

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Oreo Truffels

Oh ya. How on earth could this recipe NOT be good?! I can not wait to try this with dark chocolate and with crushed candy cane on top at Christmas. This was so easy it is ridiculous (although the melting, dipping chocolate part can get messy. Nate did most of the work on these and we made them to take last Saturday for game-watchin'. They traveled well and we didn't even try to make them look pretty this time round and they came out pretty sweeeeet!
The original recipe is from KRAFT home of easy-peasy awesome goodness like these! Just this evening I discovered this fabulous option to the melting & dipping featured on Carrie's Blog

1 1lb bag of O-R-E-O cookies
1 8oz package of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 8oz package of Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Wax paper, food processor, large stockpot & small saucepot

Crush the Oreos in the food processor or blender, I did as Kraft suggested and did 9 first (set them aside for topping) then did the rest for the fillin (minus the one I ate, which is pretty good- only ONE!) I had extra toppin so next time I'll do 6 separately (and maybe let Nate eat one...).
In a large bowl combine soften cream cheese and Oreo crumbs (Nate used a spatula and really mixed it up GOOD). We then refrigerated the mix for 45 minutes to make the ball rolling easier. To melt the chocolate I filled the large pot with water (bring to a boil) and put the chocolate in a small pot, hold the small pot over the large boiling water pot so that about a 1/2 inch to an inch of the bottom of the small pot is in the boiling water- melting the chocolate. Roll Oreo mix into 1-inch balls. Dip in melted chocolate & place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle set-aside crushed cookies over the dipped balls. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. AWESOME.

Monday, September 17, 2007


I have always had a love-hate relationship with Sangria. There are so many ways to make it, and I've never made an attempt at it myself. Until last weekend...We were headed over to a friends for the USC game and I was not feeling in a beer mood (believe it or not). I was bringing the "Crack Dip" and thought this would be a good, sweet balance to the spicy goodness.
Nate does not like triple sec, and we both agreed we wanted to follow a super-simple recipe that was pretty much wine & rum. I did a uber brainiac Google search for "sangria recipe" and chose this recipe from ALL RECIPES because we had all the ingredients on hand!

Here is exactly what I used:
1 Bottle Pinot Noir
1 mini can club soda
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c rum (Captain Morgan, the spicy-ness of the Cap'n was PERFECT for a football party!!)
1 large orange thinly sliced into rounds
1 lemon thinly sliced into rounds
1 lime thinly sliced into rounds
About 2 cups orange juice (pulp free per Nate's request)

In a large pitcher (I used 2 small pitchers but did this in just one of them)add orange, lemon, lime, sugar and rum and refrigerate at least 2 hours stirring, muddling lightly, occasionally. After the 2 hours (this is when I transferred half that mixture into a second pitcher) add wine, club soda, orange juice and about 5 ice cubes. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate 1 to 24 hours before serving. Serve chilled or over citrus infused ice cubes.

It went fast and was absolutely delicious!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I have been dying to try this ever since I saw the recipe over a month ago. It's also known as "Crack Dip" because it is truly addictive!
I am a wing-girl, I LOVE buffalo wings! AND I love cheese, so there was really no going wrong here.
It was even better than I imagined and a huge hit at a friends house for the USC game yesterday. I can't wait to make it again. YUM!
Here is the link to the recipe on the What's Cooking Blog

1 lb Boiled Chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken breast chopped up into little bits then boiled & drained)
8 oz (1 cup) Franks Original Red Hot Sauce
8 oz (1 cup) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
8 oz crumbled Blue Cheese
8 oz Shredded Cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook Medium Cheddar)
16 oz softened cream cheese

Prepare Chicken. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix all ingredients until well blended. Pour into a corning wear or other medium sized baking dish, cover and bake for 40 minutes. Serve Warm with tortilla chips and celery!

Crock pot Salsa Chicken

Well, I liked this one, but not Nate's favorite. That's ok- I just want to start trying more crock pot recipes because it sure does make dinner easier!!
We had it with brown rice and steamed broccoli.

Crock pot Salsa Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast(mine, frozen because my crock pot has no timer)
1 12oz jar of salsa
1 can of drained and rinsed black beans (next time I'd use 2 cans and since Nate does not love black beans we might try another kind)
8oz light cream cheese (optional)

Put Chicken, salsa and beans in crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
If desired, add 8 oz light cream cheese and cook 30 more minutes.
We kept the chicken breasts whole and next time I would shred it up for sure!
Super easy, and that always nice :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Birthday Snickers Brownies~

This is the debut of my own homemade brownie recipe! YAY!! I made these to take with us to Oregon for Charlie's Birthday.
I was pretty happy with how these came out and will definately make them again!

My Brownie Recipe~
1/2 C. softened butter
1/2 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
2/3 C. Sweetened Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 T. Hersheys Syurp
3 King Sized Snickers Bars Thinly chopped into slices (putting them in the fridge or freezer for 15-30 minutes helps make slicing eaiser)

Mix Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla (I mixed using a wire whisk so as not to overmix).
Add Flour, Salt & Coacoa Powder mixing after each ingredient until well combined. Add Suryp and stir in using a spoon or spatula.
Pour mix into a greased & lightly floured 9x13 pan. Layer the Snickers slices over the top of the brownie batter and bake at 325 for about 25-30 minutes (my oven is crazy so keep an eye on em!) or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan completely before cutting & serving.

Picture Perfect Portland

Technically, we were in Beaverton Oregon last weekend for Charlie's 30th Birthday. The weather was stunning and the food was FANTASTIC!

In addition to the homemade goodies, they picked up some fabulous yellow tail ceviche from a Peruvian restarurant called ANDINA. We went along for the ride and got to take in the down-town Pearl District for a bit, as well as a Habenaro Martini called SACSAYHUAMÁN
while we picked up the ceviche. It was delicious! I want to go there for dinner the next time we head up that way!!

It was a great weekend and we can't wait to go back!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blueberry Banana Cream Pie

This was a fun experiment & I can't wait to make it again! I did something whack to the crust and it stuck to the pie pan like gangbusters- so I served it more like a cobbler (aka a mess) vs. in actual "slices" (which I definitely hope to have next time).

Inspired By HoneyMaid
1 1/4 C crushed graham cracker
1/4 C Sugar
5 T melted butter
Mix ingredients and press into pie dish using the back of a spoon.
Chill for 1 hour or bake for crisper crust about 15 minutes at 350.

3 ripe bananas chopped up
1 package Banana Instant Jell-o Pudding
2% Milk
1 can of blueberry pie filling
2 cups whipped heavy whipping cream
Sliced almonds

Prepare crust and let it cool. Spread blueberry pie filling in a layer on the crust. Top with chopped up bananas. Prepare Jell-o pie filling (I'd use a bit less milk than the suggested amount on the box)and use a spatula to spread over the blueberries and bananas. Chill 1 hour in the fridge for Jell-o layer to set.
Top with whipped cream and almonds.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

It's BACK~

We came, we saw, we ATE.
Time to step up my work-out game because there's no stoppin' the food fest that is college and NFL football. We have had season tickets to the USC Trojan for the past 3 years (this will be our 4th season)and yesterday was the opening's a recap of the damage- (next time I will drink less and take some photos.)
It started with homemade Party mix that Holly made, it was awesome- there were chex, cheerios, goldfish crackers, pretzel sticks- I'll be getting her recipe for that goodness.
Then we tailgated on campus a bit and had honey bbq chicken fingers & lots of BEER.
A friend's work hosts a tailgate at all the home games so that was our next stop.
It is catered by Bristol Farms and here's what they had~
Grilled Tri-tip (the boys made sandwiches, I just ate the steak), hot dogs (I avoided that, but the guys had those post-sadwich topped with some chili) Green beans & green salad, cupcakes for desert and the Frito "Pepper Belly Bar"- that's where they top fritos with chilli and cheese, sour cream jalapenos & onions- YUM! This party had a full open bar (that ran out of ice in the 100 degree heat)
THEN we headed into the game.
Nate tapped out at this point and still has not eaten since (he's still sleeping to be fair) but since I had been pretty good at the tailgate I went with Brian & got a loaded baked potato- which it was a little hot out to be eating such a thing but it was really good!
Our two friends got some giant grilled turkey sausages after halftime- and that was the game.
And it's only the begining~ NFL starts next week which means Sunday Buffalo Wings and lots of dip! Bye-Bye Summer, see ya next year!!!