Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Apple Cider Cupcakes and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream

Apple Cider Cupcakes and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream

Original Author says:  Moist and flavorful recipe for Apple Cider Cupcakes made from scratch with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting makes for a mouthwatering fall dessert!

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 17 mins
Total time: 47 mins

Serves: 15-17



2 eggs
1⅔ cup all purpose flour
1 cup apple cider
⅔ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup softened butter
3 cup powdered sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer). 
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 
Add the apple cider and the mixture of dry ingredients, alternating between the two, slowly incorporating them into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full and 
bake at 350º for 17-19 minutes. 
Bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean. 
Let cool completely before frosting.

Whip butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla together with a mixer until light and fluffy.
Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
Add milk until you reach desired consistency (more for thinner frosting).
Transfer to piping bag and frost each cupcake once they have cooled.
Garnish with an apple slice, if desired.
Cupcakes stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days.

found at:  http://wishesndishes.com/apple-cider-cupcakes-and-brown-sugar-cinnamon-buttercream/

Wendy's Chili from Sandy Enochs

Wendy's Chili

2 pounds fresh ground beef
1 quart tomato juice
1 (29-ounce) can tomato purée
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 medium-large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup chili powder (use less for milder chili)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (use more for real flavor)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

How to make it :

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain off the fat. Put the beef and the remaining ingredients in a 6-quart pot. Cover the pot and let the chili simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Black Bean Chili with Tortillas

Oh yes!!!! This is a keeper! yum...

1 lb extra lean ground beef cooked and drained
1 c chopped onion
1 c chopped green bell pepper
15 oz can beef broth (I used reduced sodium)
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T minced garlic
2-14 oz cans dice tomatoes (I used no salt added)
2-15 oz cans black beans, drained (I cooked my black bean from scratch in the crock pot along with all of the spices and broth--7 oz dry beans=1 can of beans)
1 c shredded 2 % cheddar cheese
8 ct pkg flour tortillas, warmed (I used low carb tortillas)

Original directions: In Dutch oven, ground beef, onion and bell pepper and cook until crumbly, drain.
Add broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, minced garlic, diced tomatoes and drained black beans.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until thick.
(My Directions: Bring black beans to boil in pan and let soak for 1 hour, drain. Add low sodium beef broth to cover beans and then another 15 oz beef broth. Add cooked and drained ground beef, spices, bell pepper, onion, diced tomatoes and cook on high 5-6 hours)
Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
Serve with Tortillas

Spaghetti in one pan (Italian Skillet)

Yep--It made the cut! Basically this is spaghetti made in one pan--how easy is that??
Original recipe calls for canned spaghetti sauce, but that has lots of sodium so:

1 lb extra lean ground beef, cooked and drained
(original recipe calls for 26 oz spaghetti sauce)
~~~~~~~~~~~~ My spaghetti sauce
3-8 oz cans tomato sauce--no salt added
6 cloves garlic (less if you aren't crazy about garlic like I am!)
1 small onion diced
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
Pinch of salt
Simmer for at least 1/2 hour
back to the recipe:
1 cup green bell pepper (chopped) (I added this to my spaghetti sauce to cook)
8 oz spaghetti noodles, broken in pieces
2 c water
1 c shredded Italian Blend Cheese

In lg skillet or saucepan, brown ground beef and drain.
Stir in spaghetti sauce and water; mix well and bring to boil.
Stir in spaghetti noodles and green bell pepper.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until spaghetti is tender.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve with tossed salad and Italian bread (or reduced fat crescent rolls)

Teriyaki Chicken

(I found out that gman liked it so much that he even told my hairdresser about it! LOL)

I found the Teriyaki Chicken on allrecipes.com, but changed it up a bit for us.
1 T cornstarch
1 T cold water
1/2 C brown sugar (I think 1/4 c honey would be good too!)
1/2 c soy sauce (I used reduced sodium soy sauce)
1/4 c cider vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar--rice vinegar would be good too)
2 cloves garlic, minced (recipe calls for 1 clove, but we like garlic!)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (recipe calls for 12 skinless chicken thighs)

1) In small saucepan over low heat, combine the cornstarch, cold water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and ground black pepper.
Let simmer, stirring frequently until sauce thickens and bubbles
2) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3) Place chicken pieces on a layer of heavy duty foil.
Pour sauce over chicken evenly. Turn and brush bottom with sauce as well.
Put layer of heavy duty foil over chicken and crimp edges to create a packet. (could place this in an oven cooking bag instead of the foil if you prefer.)
4) Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
(the original recipe places chicken in baking dish and brush with sauce every 10 minutes during cooking, but I like the packet or bag cooking which bastes it as it cooks)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quick Tamale Pie

Quick Tamale Pie

Quick Tamale Pie

1 polenta roll (Note:  I didn't use the polenta roll)
9 oz southwestern chicken strips (or half a rotisserie chicken)  (Note:  I made my chicken with my Fajita Seasoning mix instead of using premade strips or rotisserie chicken)
1 15-oz can chili beans  (Note:  I used half black beans and half red kidney beans instead of canned beans)
1 cup mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper  (Note:  I didn't use the cayenne in mine this time and I think my taco seasoning would be good or a bit more fajita seasoning in lieu of the spices listed here)
cilantro, sour cream and additional salsa for serving
NOTE:  I also added some minced onion--just put it in first and sweat it.

Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or 9-inch square pan) with a little olive oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl combine the chicken strips, corn kernels, salsa, chili beans (and their juice—just dump the can in) and spices. Stir well to combine.

Slice the polenta into 1/4th inch slices. Cover bottom of skillet with overlapping slices. Pour bean mixture on top. Top with cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes then remove and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Serve with minced cilantro, sour cream and salsa.

NOTE:  Since I didn't use the polenta, I baked the other ingredients in cast iron pan, then wrapped it in a flour tortilla with some salsa and sour cream.  Not fond of cilantro, so didn't include that.  Very tasty!
Found at:  http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/10/quick-tamale-pie.html

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hummus (Nicole)


This classic hummus recipe is quick and easy to make, it's naturally gluten-free and vegan, and it tastes SO fresh and delicious!




1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons Tahini
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of salt and freshly-cracked black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup water, or more if needed
optional topping ideas: extra drizzle of olive oil, chopped fresh parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, toasted pine nuts, chopped roasted red peppers, basil pesto

Add first seven ingredients (chickpeas thru salt/pepper) to a food processor, and blend until smooth. Add in the water and continue blending until the hummus reaches your desired consistency, adding additional water if needed.

Garnish with optional toppings and serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

*Note Nicole doesn't use the Tahini and says it is just fine.
found at:  http://www.inspiredtaste.net/26901/easy-tahini-recipe/



Store-bought tahini is usually made from hulled sesame seeds. This is our preference, too, but you can make it from unhulled and sprouted sesame seeds.

Hulled or “natural” sesame seeds are what you see most often in stores. Here’s a photo of both hulled and unhulled sesame seeds. The hulled seeds are the lighter color on left. On the right, the unhulled seeds are much darker and still have their hull or outer shell intact.

In our experience, tahini made from unhulled sesame seeds tends to taste more bitter and does’t get quite a smooth as when it is made from hulled sesame seeds.
Ways to Use Tahini

Arguably the most well known way to use tahini is when making hummus.

As I mentioned earlier, we prefer to use natural, hulled sesame seeds.

Most often, we will lightly toast the seeds to bring out some of their natural nuttiness, but you can skip this step all together if you’d like.

If you plan to toast the seeds, we recommend doing so on the stovetop and not in the oven. Sesame seeds are tiny and so they burn very easily.

We throw them into a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat then stir constantly with a spoon until the seeds darken ever so slightly in color and become fragrant.

Once the sesame seeds have cooled, we throw them into the bowl of our food processor, shut the lid then process until a crumbly paste begins to form.

Next, to help the tahini come to an extra smooth paste, we add a few tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil — we go for grape seed oil, vegetable, oil, canola oil or a light olive oil. You could eliminate the oil if you would like, but the tahini won’t be as smooth or pourable.

To reach a similar consistency as store-bought, we’ve found 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil should do it.

After more processing, a few stops to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and a little more processing after that, the tahini is done. Extra smooth and ready to use in whatever recipe you like. You can keep tahini covered in the refrigerator for a month, maybe a bit more.

You might find that after some time in the fridge it separates, like a natural peanut butter would. All you need to do to fix this is stir it well.

Prep time
10 minutes
Cook time
5 minutes
Total time
15 minutes

Making tahini at home is easy and much less expensive than buying from the store.
We recommend looking for sesame seeds in bulk bins or at International, Asian and Middle Eastern markets for the best deals.
While tahini can be made from unhulled, sprouted and hulled sesame seeds, we prefer to use hulled (or natural) sesame seeds for tahini. Tahini can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.

Yield: 1/2 cup of tahini

1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) sesame seeds, we prefer hulled
3 to 4 tablespoons neutral flavored oil such as grape seed, canola or a light olive oil
Pinch of salt, optional

Toast Sesame Seeds (optional): Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly colored (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely. (Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly).
Make Tahini Paste: Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times. Check the tahini's consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable. You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.
Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.
How to Store Tahini: Store tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month. You may notice it separates over time, like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, give the tahini a good stir

Can be frozen.

Found at: http://www.inspiredtaste.net/26901/easy-tahini-recipe/




2 cups drained well-cooked or canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), liquid reserved
1/2 cup Tahini (sesame paste), optional, with some of its oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, peeled, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin or paprika, or to taste, plus a sprinkling for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
(NOTE:  cut tahini and oil in half but make up the other 1/4 c with sour cream and cut back on other liquids)
Add liquids last to be sure of the right texture


1. Put everything except the parsley in a food processor and begin to process; add the chickpea liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning (I often find I like to add much more lemon juice). Serve, drizzled with the olive oil and sprinkled with a bit more cumin or paprika and some parsley.

NOTES from comments section:
1) This is *almost* my exact recipe, except I like to add about 1/4 cup sour cream for extra creaminess and you can cut back on some of the liquids to keep it from getting runny.
2) The only thing I do is add MORE Garlic. I could see where people might not want as much tahini, it can be a little chalky with this much.
3)Very easy and good. I agree with previous poster that roasting the garlic would take away some harshness. I also cut the tahini and olive oil in half but made up the difference with sour cream which makes it a lighter version.
4)I cut the tahini paste down to 1/4 cup. I used half of the liquid from the canned garbanzo beans. Since the instructions weren't clear on whether to use cumin or paprika I used 1/2 TBSP of each. Once you get to this point it's all of personal preference. For example, I also wound up adding an extra 1/4 c of olive oil (but that's because I like it really smooth and creamy - this is my preference). If the recipe had gotten the tahini right, I would have given this 4 stars. TIP: If your Tahini is hard with oil on top, it's old or needs to be mixed. The best thing to do is to dumb the whole thing in a blender and mix it up. Then scoop out your 1/4 cup or how ever much you want to use.
5)This pretty much the way I've settled on for making humus. I soak a cup of raw beans over night before cooking them for about an hour next day. Save the cooking water to thin recipe if needed. I think raw garlic a little harsh, so I cook minced garlic in the olive oil until golden & then add garlic and oil to recipe. Everyone really likes my humus this way.

Recipe from:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/hummus-237832

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hummingbird Food

Basically, I use a strong mixture in the spring or when I want to steal them from a neighbor. That is:
sugar to water 1:1. 

It can be mixed as lean as about ¼ cup sugar to 1 cup water. 

I use the lean version in summer when I want to keep mold at bay or if I want to see the birds coming around more. 
They will come and feed more with the lean mixture as they need the calories. 

I just boil the water (you want it to be pretty sterile anyway so you don’t mold as quickly) and then add the water and stir it in and then boil it some more until the sugar is totally dissolved. 
I just do it in a quart canning jar in the microwave and then I can put the lid on it and store until I need to refill. 

Those little buggers can eat though and a quart won’t even last a day once you get a good flock of them! 
Are they flocks? 
I am not sure…
Okay. According to a site on the internet, they are called a Charm. 
That does seem to fit them! A Charm of Hummingbirds….

Friday, August 12, 2016

Chicken Caesar Wraps

Chicken Caesar Wraps 

This recipe is healthy and delicious, and brings the best parts of a Caesar salad to a wrap! All you have to do is pull out your slow cooker and you've got chicken wraps for a crowd! This is the perfect meal to just set, forget, and roll up for lunch or dinner.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp parsley
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 cup Caesar dressing
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
Romaine leaves
Sliced red onion


Arrange chicken breasts in abase of slow cooker. Pour ½ cup water into basin and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker and drain water, then shred with two forks in a large bowl.

Stir in Caesar dressing, Parmesan, second teaspoon of parsley, and pepper and mix until well combined.

Serve wrapped up in a tortilla or pita with romaine.

Found at:  http://www.shared.com/chicken-caesar-wraps-will-fill-you-up-for-lunchtime-1950406955.html

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Recipe

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Recipe

This chicken bacon ranch pasta is one of my favorite recipes to make at home! Although it’s not the quickest or easiest, it’s always a winner with my husband. What recipe that includes bacon isn’t wonderful? You can serve this with a nice side salad or some garlic bread.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Ingredients

1 pound of penne pasta
6 strips of bacon, diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 packet of ranch seasoning mix
2 cups milk
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into pieces)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Start by cooking your pasta, draining it, and setting it aside.
While you are making your noodles; cook your bacon on a skillet, drain the grease but keep 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan.
Add a tablespoon of butter to the bacon drippings and toss in your chicken breast pieces (cook until no longer pink/browned).
Pour the ranch dressing mix and flour over the chicken then add the 2 cups of milk. Stir until it is bubbly and thick.
Add the cheese and half of your diced bacon pieces to the pan; stir until melted.
Combine the sauce and pasta noodles together – add salt and pepper to taste.
Top off the dish with the extra bacon pieces and ENJOY!

Found at http://www.craftymorning.com/chicken-bacon-ranch-pasta-recipe/