Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Colors of fall in soft cookies.
Usually my first pumpkin baked good of fall is pumpkin bread. However I was feeling a bit more like cookies, after making some for the dog! I had to give half of this batch to some friends because they are easy to eat at least 3 in a sitting. Having them sit on the counter means that they disappear in hours. Hayden woof thought when we were eating these that we were eating his and we should share. However we never did because of the chocolate chips! These are quick and easy cookies as they are just dropped onto the cookie sheet, or rolling into ball or cutting out. Quick to make and go quickly!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
Changed from

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar 
1/2 cup canola oil 
1 egg 
2 cup all purpose flour 
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a tiny teeny ball, dissolve baking soda in milk; set aside for now.
In a large bowl add pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg; combine until well blended.
Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda/milk mix to pumpkin mixture, stirring to  mix wet and dry ingredients completely together to form a soft dough. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla.
Spoon onto cookie sheet, slip mat, parchment paper, or ungreased sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Edges will be slightly brown where the cookie hits the sheet.

Monday, September 26, 2011

First week of fall meal plan

On the last meal plan and many previous week, I had roasted chicken on my plan. I finally pulled out the chicken out of the freezer one night! I prepped all my veggies, my butter with herbs plus had the chicken all defrosted. I went to dump the chicken in the pan, and it came out in a lot of different parts, not the whole chicken I was expecting. Roasted chicken wings anyone? I opted out and made grilled pizza. Now I just need to use up the potatoes I have for this chicken I thought I had.

Here is this week for dinner, with this Monday Meal Plan.
Meatless Monday: Baked ziti with zucchini minus meat
Tuesday: French Dips with green beans
Wednesday: Chicken strips with smashed red potatoes
Thursday: Chili verde
Friday: Kung pao chicken with rice
Saturday: Out to eat
Sunday: Chicken, broccoli, and biscuits

Friday, September 23, 2011

Caramel Apple Cookies

First day of Fall, needs a fall treat.
These little caramel apple cookies are perfect for the first day of fall. I have made these cookies for multiple occasions, and always leave with an empty plate. These won't even get stuck in your teeth, but a much simpler way to eat a caramel apple than on a stick. Since I have embraced fall already, the first day needs a treat to ring in the best season! So put on a sweater, take a walk in the crisp morning air, and bake these caramel apple cookies.

Caramel Apple Cookies
Big thanks to Craft Mag and GoodLifeEats

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temp.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 3/4 cups old fashion oats (not quick-cooking oatmeal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz (1 bag) caramel baking bits
2 cups granny smith apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs. Beat until combined.
Measure oatmeal into a food processor or blender, and pulse until ground finely. Stir in the oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until combined. Set aside.
Using a mixer, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Stir in the caramel bits and apples. Save a few of pieces the apple and the caramel for dotting on top of the rolled cookie dough balls.
Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. Roll the cookie dough into golf ball-sized balls. Bake on a parchment paper-lined or slipmat baking sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, for 10-12 minutes. The sheet should be placed on the upper middle rack. Cool on the pan for 4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
 Note: Dough is best the day of. In time the apples add extra moisture to the dough, causing a wider spread on the baked cookies. Alternatively, you can pre-roll the dough into balls and freeze if you aren't using it all the first day. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet until solid, and then transfer to a labeled sealable freezer bag. Use within one month. Simply add an extra couple minutes to the baking time since the dough is frozen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Use up what we have Meal Plan

We are trying to save a few bucks to help with our upcoming vacation. So this week, all meals will be made at home, using up what we have in the house. I did make a trip to the farmer's market on Saturday, so we have the fresh produce and I will get a bit more if we need some fruits or veggies. There are a lot of soups slowing making their way into my meal plans. I move the soup around to the raining days or when the days are cooler than the others.

Here is this week for dinner, with this Monday Meal Plan.
Meatless Monday: Simple salads with hard boiled egg
Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs
Wednesday: Chicken with Wild Rice Soup
Thursday: Tacos with refried beans 
Friday: Roasted chicken with potatoes & carrots (I keep putting this meal off) 
Saturday: Chicken enchiladas (repeat! cause we went to the Mexican market grill.. yumm)
Sunday: Search the fridge and hope something is left!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pumpkin Dog Drops

A drop for the dogs.
I finally admit that it is fall, with the crisp morning and nights! I LOVE it! My little woof loves the fall, too! He spends his days laying out on the deck soaking in the cooler temperatures or carrying his football around the yard. Hayden also really enjoys pumpkin! So in order to give him a little taste of fall, I made him these pumpkin drops. I don't want him to feel left out from the fall baking. 
These little drops were sitting on the counter when my husband got home from work. When he had his mouth full entering the family room, I just laughed. He gave me a confused look. I told him that was nice that Hayden was sharing his treats. The response "Well they aren't half bad, lucky little guy!" Hayden enjoys them too, he was staring them down when I was trying to photograph them outside.

Pumpkin Dog Drops
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 Tablespoons butter (can leave out but keeps really moist)
1 whole egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put a silicon slip-mat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter.
In a medium bowl, beat egg with buttermilk and pumpkin. Combine with flour mixture, mix until well combined. Stir until a soft dough forms.
Drop tablespoons of dough unto cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, edges will be slightly golden. Let cool and then have the woof perform a trick.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes

One dish makes this meal a fall favorite.
When I saw the potatoes and bell peppers at the farmers' market, I knew what it was time to make. The hardest part of sausage, peppers and potatoes it cutting the vegetables to put in the pan. I don't remember where I first saw this recipe but has adapted to fit our taste over the years. Plus it is so easy for a week night to throw oven!

Sausage, Peppers, and Potatoes
1 to 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (mild or hot depending on taste)
2 bell peppers (any colors), cut into inch pieces
6 medium size red potatoes, or Yukon gold, cut into about the same size, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed or chopped
1/2 medium onion, cut into inch pieces
2 Tablespoon olive oil 
salt and pepper 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a casserole or baking dish, drizzle the olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Combine the potatoes, peppers, onion and garlic. Place the sausage, whole or cut into pieces depending on time, over the top of the veggies. (Having the sausage on top helps the grease to keep the vegetables moist). Season with salt and pepper. 
Bake in oven, until potatoes are fork tender and sausage is brown and cooked through.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Meal Plan

Last week went really fast! I wasn't ready for this meal plan, so this week has some pretty easy meals.
Here is this week for dinner, with this Monday Meal Plan.

Meatless Monday: Broccoli Cheddar soup with sourdough bread
Tuesday: Sausage, potatoes, and peppers (left from last week)
Wednesday: Meatball subs
Thursday: Southwest chicken with corn on the cob
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Something tasty with farmer's market finds.
Sunday:Chicken enchiladas stuffed with peppers and chicken

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mom's Crock-pot Chili

For when the days are chili. 
Even though everyone else in Utah thinks it is fall already, I don't. I believe the temperatures are going to come back to warm. However when rainy, cloudy days are on the forecast, I will take it to make a fall meal. This chili is one that my mom has made since I can remember. We would come home to a crock-pot warming our dinner. There isn't a magic ingredient or a long prep time so this chili is really nice to throw in and go.

Mom's Crock-pot Chili
1½ lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1¼ cup tomato juice
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (1 lb) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoon chili con carne seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
1 (15 oz) can chili beans in chili gravy

Cook ground beef, onion and garlic in large skillet until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off excess fat.
Stir in remaining ingredients except beans. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, or pour into crock pot along with beans and heat 3 to 4 hours on low.
Serve with bowls of shredded cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream, crushed red pepper, cruets of white vinegar and catchup. Guest can add one or all to make this dish exactly right.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

falling into meal plan

I am a day late with this meal plan after a Sunday night camping trip. We finally made our way up to Bear Lake. It was such a beautiful large, beautiful lake. We also visited the Paris Ice Caves which were amazing. Such a sight to see ice and snow in a cave, after a warm summer.
Trying not to have an out to eat day this week, so meals for each day  this week for dinner. It might be a day late but it is still my Monday Meal Plan.

Tuesday: Chili
Meatless Wednesday: Black Bean quesadillas 
Thursday: Chicken Soulvaki topped with garden full of tomatoes
Friday: Grilled Pizza plus salads
Saturday: Garlic Pork with green beans
Sunday: Sausage, peppers and potatoes

Thursday, September 1, 2011

S'mores Bar

When you crave the campfire treat, but the fire won't start!
I love camping. Mostly because it means eating more s'mores that I really should. These little bars make it possible to enjoy the graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow treat at any time. Perfect for picnics, potlucks and even camping, when you can't have a fire. They still give the gooey marshmallow, melted chocolate with a little crunch. I may be misleading because fingers will still get sticky and marshmallow will cover the corners of your mouth. When I was at my parents house, I made these little bars and they were gone in a night. No one could stop snacking on them! This batch I took to the family get together because my dad kept asking for s'more!

S'mores Cookie Bar 
Slight change from Allyou Magazine
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar 
2 large eggs, beaten 
2 cups marshmallow fluff, or melted marshmallows 
2 cups milk-chocolate chips or semi-sweet

- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Mist foil with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly beat flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt into butter mixture. Divide dough in half. Press half of dough into pan until dough is uniform and flat. Spread with marshmallow topping and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Scatter remaining dough over in clumps. Don't worry about covering the top; marshmallow and chocolate chips should peek through. If desired, add additional chocolate chips and mini marshmallows once the top crust is in place.
- Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Remove from pan, peel off foil and cut into bars.