October 31, 2010

Garlic Pumpkin Seeds

Garlic Pumpkin Seeds
I have Kelly to thank for telling me about this recipe from All Recipes.  I’ve never done it because, frankly, I’m too lazy to do all the prep work but the eldest girl-child had a sleepover last night so I took advantage of the girls’ excitement to carve pumpkins and convinced them to collect the seeds, minus (most of) the guts, from their carved creations.  I rinsed the seeds in a colander and removed all the remaining guts, then spread the seeds out on a large cookie sheet to dry over night.  This morning they weren’t completely dry, but close enough to bake.  These were flavored nicely and probably won’t give anyone a heart attack from sodium intake.
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 275*.
  2. Combine the oil, salt, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and pumpkin seeds. Mix thoroughly and place on cookie sheet
  3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are dry and crunchy.

October 26, 2010

Sweet Potato Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Potato Salad
I wanted a potato salad for the barbequed turkey my mom made for us while she visited but, since it’s October, having a potato salad seemed a little too summery.  Like we should be having stew or chili instead.  Here in Texas though, the temperatures are still well into the upper 80s so I figured I could get away with a salad for a while longer.  What better way to celebrate a warm fall day with this sweet potato salad I found at All Recipes?  It far exceeded my expectations in flavor and the colors are warm enough to compete with the more traditional Autumn fare!
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop.  (I was tempted to peel them before cooking but this was SO easy!)
  2. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water; cool, peel and chop.
  3. Combine the potatoes, eggs, celery and onion.
  4. Whisk together the mayonnaise, and mustard. Add to potato mixture, toss well to coat. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

October 14, 2010

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

I love cooking pork tenderloin and generally only cook it in the crock pot or barbeque.  I was pretty skeptical about how moist this would cook up but needed some new ideas so when I found this on My Kitchen Cafe, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I followed the simple directions exactly and it was very, very, easy to cook up in my cast iron skillet, going straight from stove-top to oven.  When it was ready to cut I was shocked at how it fell apart!  Super tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned!  Instant favorite!

Rub Ingredients:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/2 lb. total), each tenderloin cut into two chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil

Glaze ingredients:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 6-8 cloves)
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat the pork with the spice rub. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet that is ovenproof (I used my cast iron skillet) over medium high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in the skillet. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, brown the pork in a skillet and transfer it to a foil-lined baking pan (like a 9X13-inch). I’ve done both and either method works great.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in the middle of the oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 160, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, then transfer pork to the center center of a piece of tin foil and bring both ends to the center and fold them tightly together, leaving air space between the folded foil and the meat (like a tent).  Let it sit for about 10 minutes to reabsorb the sauce, making it extra tender.

Slice on the diagonal and serve, spooning the sauce from the skillet on top of the pork.  I served this with sweet potatoes and a handful of raw sugar snap peas.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

You guys? I’m. so. sick!  I have a huge Tupperware of leftover spaghetti in the fridge and all I wanted to do was dump a little of that on everyone’s plate tonight and call it dinner.  But I have a nighttime race on Saturday, and afterwards I get to have a super yummy post race dinner at the restaurant of my choice and the kids “get” to eat leftovers at home.  So you see, if I use up the spaghetti tonight, there’ll be nothing in the fridge for Saturday night.  Yes it’s an issue, OK?  So instead of taking the easy way out now and then having to cook dinner for everyone but me on Saturday, I figured I’d pull this soup together, because seriously?  There are three steps to follow and I figured if I can manage those three tiny steps, not only will the family be fat and happy on spaghetti at home Saturday night, I’ll also have enough of this soup, courtesy of All Recipes, leftover for lunch Saturday afternoon!

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • handful fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • 1 (15 oz) can white hominy
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons cup chopped fresh cilantro (more or less depending on preference)
  • 12 chicken tenders cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • sliced avocado
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • crushed tortilla chips
  1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender.  Add garlic and stir for about a minute. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in corn, hominy, chilies, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

October 8, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

How could I not try another pumpkin soup recipe?  It’s October and All Recipes gave me a perfect excuse to try something new, again!  I really wanted to try making this with fresh pumpkin but I didn’t feel like hunting down a farmer’s market that sold the right kind of pumpkins.  I know, shame on me!  As it was, it was full of flavor, creamy and rich!  The toast, too, was perfect for dipping!  I doubled the recipe to what it shows below.  It made enough for at least 8 good sized bowls.

  • 6 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 64 oz vegetable broth
  • 29 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine 6 tablespoons softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread butter mixture evenly over one side of each bread slice. Place bread, buttered side up, on a baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bread is crisp and topping is bubbly. Cut each slice of bread into 8 small triangles or squares.
  2. Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot until tender. Add half the vegetable broth; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor. Process until smooth.
  4. Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining broth, pumpkin, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground pepper; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally..
  5. Stir in whipping cream and heat through. Do not boil. Ladle into individual soup bowls.  Serve with cinnamon croutons.

October 5, 2010

Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

Thanks to Pam at For the Love of Cooking who, yet again, brought a new recipe to my kitchen! These could just have easily been called peanut butter & banana bread slash muffin top cookies, since they’re so soft and bread-like but that title was too long and let’s face it, a little obnoxious.  I’m obnoxious enough without bringing it to the recipes, don’t you think?  I doubled the recipe to what it shows below because with five people, the original just wasn’t going to cut it.  I like the whole wheat flour mixed in to make them a little heartier.  The cloves are my favorite part of the cookie (yes, even more so than the peanut butter chips)! 


  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups bananas, mashed (about 3 small bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups of white flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 10 oz bag peanut butter chips, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla then continue to beat until the mixture is well combined.

Mash the bananas in a bowl with the baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.

Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture, add peanut butter chips, then mix until just combined. Drop by the spoonful onto sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.

October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin PancakesFound at All Recipes, I mixed all the dry goods together last night and left it, covered, on the counter along with all the rest of the ingredients then woke up a few minutes early this morning to surprise the kiddos with pancakes!  They were lightly sweet, spicy and fluffy.  The pancakes, not the kids.  Because I know you get confused.  They were a perfect combo for a cool, dark, October first morning!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • mini chocolate chips (optional.  Unless you’re me, then they’re required)
  1. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Using the 1/4 cup, this made 17 pancakes.

Shredded Beef and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas

Shredded Beef & Caramelized Onions
Recipe adapted for the way I cook (read: somewhat lazily and without much effort) from For the Love of Cooking.  I have a friend, who has a husband (who’s probably also my friend but I won’t take such liberties to assume such *ahem*), who says putting sour cream on anything that resembles Mexican food is, like, sacrilege!  However, since I’m not going for authentic and instead trying for just plain good, these enchiladas featured a big fat dollop of the  creamy white goodness!
  • 1 1/2 lbs of chuck roast (round roast can also be used)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small can of diced green chilies
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 cups of beef broth
  • 10-12 corn tortillas
  • 2 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14 oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 10 oz can of black olives, roughly chopped
  • 16 oz of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1.  Place roast in crock pot, pour broth over it then toss the rest of the (meat) ingredients in, lightly mixing to coat the meat.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  If you refrigerate your tortillas, remove them from the refrigerator early in the day so they have time to soften up and make wrapping the enchiladas easier.
2.  Remove roast from crock pot and shred.
3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4.  Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat, add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Pour enough enchilada sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish to coat and help prevent the tortillas from sticking.
5.  Spoon shredded beef, onions, beans and cheese (save a little cheese to top with) into each tortilla then wrap tightly and place side by side in the baking dish.  Cover with remaining enchilada sauce, cheese and olives.
Bake covered in tinfoil (spray top of foil with cooking spray to keep the cheese from sticking) for 30 minutes.