Monday, October 29, 2012

Sea Salt and Cinnamon Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

I have all these cute little glass baby food jars that are just begging to be recycled!  
I found several cute ideas online; filling them with candy, turning them into candles, turning them into snow globes etc........ Here is an idea I came up with


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  I made two batches.  The first batch was olive oil and sea salt, the second batch was olive oil, sea salt and pumpkin pie spice.  They both came out great!  One crunchy and salty and the other Sweet & Salty.

I used my glue gun to adhere the vintage cloth circle to the top of the lid, made labels on the computer and tied a ribbon around each jar.  Pretty simple!


1 1/2 cups rinsed raw pumpkin seeds
2 tsp olive oil
Sea Salt
Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss pumpkin seeds in the olive oil.  Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pumpkin pie spice or any other type of spice you want to use.  The choices are endless!
Bake for 10-15 minutes.  After about 7 minutes I checked the seeds and moved them around with a spatula.  Keep checking every few minutes until they look golden brown and crunchy!

Once the seeds have cooled, you're ready to fill up those jars!

After I scraped out the pumpkin seeds and cooked them, I roasted the rest of the pumpkin
for a couple of hours.  Once they were cooked and cooled I scooped out all the flesh and pureed it in my food processor.  This morning I made Pumpkin Gnocchi, using The Proud Italian Cook's recipe which we'll be eating tonight!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Layers of spinach, tomato sauce and white sauce meld together bringing you this cheesy, colorful, hearty lasagna.  The tomato sauce and white sauce only take about 10 minutes to make and by using the no boil lasagna noodles, you won't be slaving in the kitchen all day, though it will taste like you did!!!

  • ¼ cups Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 packages Chopped Frozen Spinach ( 10 Ounce Each) Thawed And Squeezed Dry.
  • 32 ounces, weight Ricotta
  • 2 whole Eggs, Slightly Beaten
  • ½ cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Mozzarella (shredded)
  • 1 package No Boil Lasagna Noodles, 9 Ounce Box (Barilla Is What I Use)

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 can 28 Ounce Can, Ground Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1 can 14.5 Can, Hunts Diced Tomatoes
  • ½ cups Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 pinch Pepper
  • 6 leaves Basil Leaves, Chopped

  • 1-¾ cup Whole Milk, Warmed
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 dash Salt


Preparation Instructions

For the tomato sauce:
In a skillet on medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil for 1 minute, being careful not to burn. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add chopped basil. Set aside
For the white sauce:
Warm the milk in the microwave for one minute. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for 2 minutes. Slowly add the warmed milk while continuing to whisk. Add salt to taste. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk until creamy, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. If you don’t whisk and cook for the 8 minutes, you’ll end up with a raw flour taste.
To make the filling:
In a skillet over medium/high heat melt butter. Add onion and cook until until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Don’t burn garlic! Add the drained spinach and cook with onion and garlic for a couple of minutes to incorporate the flavors. Remove from heat, set aside and cool to room temperature.
In separate bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon of salt.
When spinach is cooled, combine with the ricotta mixture, mix well.
For the assembly:
In a 9×13 pan: Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on bottom of pan. Cover pan with one layer of noodles. I use three noodles laying side by side (the space in between the noodles will fill in once it’s cooked).
Cover noodles with 1/3 of spinach filling. Spread evenly. Spread the top of that with more tomato sauce (about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 cup of cream sauce. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese.
Add another layer of noodles. Repeat these layers two more times until you have three layers. The top layer will be noodles topped with tomato sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 F for about 30-45 minutes until bubbly. Remove it from the oven and allow it to set up for a few minutes. It’s best if it sits at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Turkey Chili

Hmmmmm.... Do I want my chili hot and spicy?  Do I want it low fat?  In this recipe, you get to decide..

Ingredients for Chili:

  • 2 Tbs oil ( or enough to cover bottom of dutch oven.)
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey or Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium Onion Diced                                                           
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper seeded and Diced
  • 1 tsp minced canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 1 14.5 Ounce Delmonte Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes ( do not drain)
  • 1 15 Ounce Contadina Tomato Sauce
  • 1 15.5 Ounce Can Light Red Kidney Beans ( Drained and Rinsed)
  • 2-3 TBS Sheilah's Mexican Spice Mix                                                     

Spice Mix

For Toppings:

1.  In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sour cream with 1 TBS of fresh squeezed lime juice. Mix well,  set aside in refrigerator.
2.  Shredded Monetary Jack Cheese or any Mexican style cheese.

  • If you want your chili low to medium in heat, stick to 2 TBS of the spice mix and don't add the Chipotle in Adobo sauce.
  • If you want to kick up the heat, use 3 TBS of the spice mix and make sure to add the Chipotle in Adobo sauce.

Cooking Instructions:

  1.   Add oil to dutch oven, on medium heat, saute onion and jalapeno pepper until tender.
  2.   Add ground Turkey or Beef and continue to saute until cooked.
  3.   Add Diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Chipotle sauce, 2 Tbs of Spice mix , 1 tsp salt and drained kidney beans.
  4.  Stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.

     *To serve , top each bowl of chili with a handful of shredded cheese and a dollop of Lime Sour Cream.

This is the brand that I use.  I find it in the ethnic section of the Grocery Store.
I empty the entire can into the blender and blend it until smooth. 
After blended, you can store it in the freezer in a covered plastic container. 
When I cook a recipe that needs a tsp, Tbs etc...
I just take it out of the freezer and scrape off what I need.  For a while they were selling this product in a squeeze container but I haven't been able to find that anymore.

Chili Spice Mix



4 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbs ground cumin
3 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
4 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper


In a medium size bowl, mix all ingredients.  Store in air tight container. Add 2-3 TBS for each pound
of meat.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mom's Swedish Apple Pie

I can’t begin tell you how many times my sisters and I have made my mom’s famous Swedish apple pie recipe. I’m not sure where it originated from but as far as I can remember, my mom has baked and served this wonderful pie for our family and many others. We have even substituted apples for blueberries and it’s just as delicious. It’s quick, simple and absolutely perfect!


  • 4 whole Apples, Cored, Peeled And Sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1-½ stick Butter, Melted
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • ½ cups Chopped Walnuts

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
For the apples: Fill pie pan 2/3 full with peeled sliced apples. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
For the topping: In a small bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, flour, beaten egg and chopped nuts. Mix well and spread over the apples.
Bake for 45 minutes

If cooking with blueberries:
Spread one layer of blueberries evenly on the bottom of pie pan. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Top blueberries with the above topping recipe.  Increase baking time to 60 minutes.

                                                             Print Recipe

Monday, October 8, 2012

Some like it hot....Cheesy Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

This is my version of Chicken Enchilada's.  The perfect combination of shredded cheesy chicken rolled in a flour tortilla and smothered in a hot hot hot sour cream enchilada sauce!  Some like it hot, but just in case you don't..... Just use Ro*Tel diced tomatoes without the habaneros! 



      • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken breast meat. ( I cooked two 1/2 chicken breasts)
      • 2 Tbs vegetable oil ( one big swirl around your skillet.)
      • 1 medium chopped onion ( 3/4 cup)
      • 1 can diced green chilies,( 4 ounce size) undrained
      • 2 tsp Mexican chili pepper
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • freshly ground pepper, ( just a couple of grinds)
      • 8 flour tortillas
      •  2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (divided)
      • 1/4 cup butter
      • 1/4 cup flour
      • 2 cups chicken broth
      • 1 cup sour cream
      • 1 (10 oz each) Ro*Tel® diced tomatoes with habaneros - undrained
      • For Garnish: Chopped black olives and sliced green onions
For Filling:   
In skillet over medium heat, cook chopped onion in oil until translucent.  Remove pan from heat and add the shredded chicken, drained can of chillies, 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, Mexican chili, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed throughout.

Divide the shredded chicken evenly between the 8 flour tortillas, roll enchiladas and set aside.
For sauce:
Melt butter in medium saucepan , stir in flour ,continue to stir and cook until bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, bringing to a low boil stirring frequently. Sauce is done when it is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat, stir in the sour cream and the Ro*Tel tomatoes with habaneros.
 Spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom of your 9x13 baking.  Lay your rolled enchiladas evenly in the pan.  Spoon the sauce evenly over the enchiladas, top with the remaining 1 cup of Monterey cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted. 

                                                               Print Recipe
Bake two 1/2 chicken breasts in a
400 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Remove from heat
and cool before removing and shredding meat.

Shred cooled cooked chicken breasts two get your 3 cups and set aside.

Saute onion in oil until translucent.

Mix shredded chicken, cooked onion, cheese, diced green
 chili peppers and hot Mexican chili pepper.


Stir until combined.

                                                            HOW TO MAKE SAUCE

Melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat.
Add 1/4 cup flour to pan.

Cook flour and butter stirring constantly until bubbly.

                                        Slowly add chicken broth,
                                           stirring constantly until thick and coats back of spoon.


When thickened, remove sauce from heat and add the Ro*Tel
tomatoes and your cup of sour cream. 
Stir until thoroughly blended.


Cover bottom of 9x13 pan with sauce

Add 1/2 cup of chicken per tortilla.

Spread across tortilla.

Roll Tortilla tightly.

Spoon the rest of the sauce over top of tortillas.

Cover with remaining cup of cheese.
Sprinkle with chopped black olive and sliced green onion.
Place in a pre heated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes until
cheese if bubbly and melted.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mac'n'Cheese with Panko Topping

 This is the cheesiest, creamiest macaroni and cheese that you'll ever have!
You'll never crack open a box of Kraft mac and cheese after you've tried this one!
  • 1 Pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 Cups Milk
  • 9 Tablespoons butter, divided                               
  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 4 Cups Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 Cups  Montery Jack Cheese. grated
  • Hand Full of Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Cup panko
  • Salt  ( to taste )
  • Pepper ( to taste)
Cook the macaroni for 6-8 minutes, drain and drizzle with  a little bit of oil to keep from sticking together.  In a small pan, warm the milk ( do not bring to a boil).  Remove from heat.
In a large pan, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter, add the 1/2 cup of flour.  Whisk of low heat for 2 minutes.  Add the 4 cups of warmed milk.  Whisk the warmed milk continuously until thickened.  Should take about 2-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in salt.  
 Add your 6 cups of grated cheese.  Stir until melted.
Add you cooked pasta and stir until evenly coated. 
Butter or spray a 3 quart baking dish.  Spread cheesy pasta in dish.
Melt  remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in microwave safe dish.  Add the panko crumbs and a handful of Parmesan cheese.  Mix well.
Sprinkle the panko/cheese crumbs over the pasta.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes until bubbly.