Monday, October 27, 2014

Autumn Pear Torte


I took a little unplanned hiatus, but for good reason. I was busy getting married, honeymooning and getting a home established with my new family. But I'm back! And with a super recipe for this beautiful fall we are having. I made this several weeks ago when I had some pears languishing on my counter. I took it into work, and 1/2 hour later went into the breakroom to claim a piece. There was literally only a sliver left! I couldn't believe it - but when I tasted it, I knew why - it is ABSOLUTELY scrumptious. Pears are so yummy right now, and when you layer them over a delightful cream cheese filling and buttery crust, you will swoon... Get out and get some pears! (Or if you must, substitute apples...I'm sure it would be nearly as good!)


Find more great stuff at Mouthwatering Monday, Inspiration Monday, Mix it up, Melt in Your Mouth, Totally Talented Tuesday, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Tasty Tuesday, Tickle my Tastebuds.

Autumn Pear Torte

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (low fat is fine)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 pears, cored and thinly sliced

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. milk

In a small bowl, cream butter and 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in flour. Press onto bottom and one inch up sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Add egg and almond extract; beat on low speed just until blended. Pour into crust. Arrange pear slices over filling.

In a small bowl, mix cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg; sprinkle over pears. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400°. Bake 30-35 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.

Remove rim from pan. In a small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over torte. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Cauliflower Casserole


Let's be honest - this casserole will not win any culinary beauty contests. But it could win a taste contest. And what better way to get the goodness of cauliflower into your diet than mixing it with cheesy chicken and colorful peppers! This makes a great meal served with a green salad.

Start by steaming the cauliflower florets for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender. While the cauliflower is cooking, saute the onion and bell peppers for about 3 minutes.


Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.


Lightly mash the cauliflower, then mix it into the onion and peppers. Add the chicken,


salt and 1 cup of the cheese.


Mix it all up, then transfer to a casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese.


Bake for 20 minutes until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is melted.


Delicious!


Cheesy Chicken Cauliflower Casserole

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped red, yellow or orange pepper
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese

Steam the cauliflower florets for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, saute the onion and bell peppers for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Set aside.

Lightly mash the cauliflower, then mix it with the chicken, onion & peppers, salt and cheese. Transfer to a casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serves 6.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple Buttermilk Muffins


The leaves are changing here, and although the weather has been beautifully warm, it feels like it's starting to be fall. And that means apple time! Honeycrisp apples were bred right here in Minnesota, and I love eating them and baking with them. They are (as you might imagine) sweet and crisp, and in these muffins they are a star, as usual. A little cinnamon and sugar on top makes these muffins extra special. Hooray, autumn.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and oil. Mix the liquids into the dry ingredients


and stir just until combined. Fold in the apples.


Spoon batter into 12 greased or paper lined muffin cups. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the muffin batter.



Bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Aren't these lovely?


Remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Get more inspiration at Mouthwatering Mondays, Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Tasty Tuesday, Tickle my Tastebuds.

Apple Buttermilk Muffins

2 cups peeled and chopped honeycrisp apple
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and oil. Mix the liquids into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the apples.

Spoon batter into 12 greased or paper lined muffin cups. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the muffin batter.

Bake the muffins at 400 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tomato Tortellini Soup


When I got my assignment for Secret Recipe Club, it was still summer. But when it came time to make my recipe, it really felt like fall. And it still does. I'm holding out hope for an Indian summer, but until then, I will have this delicious soup from Amy at The Savvy Kitchen to keep me warm.

There's nothing better than tomato soup, (even though I don't really care for raw tomatoes, I adore tomato soup!) and I love that this soup uses canned tomato soup as its base. I always have it in my cupboard! Add some cheesy tortellini and yummy Parmesan, and boost the tomato impact with sundried tomatoes, and you have a super fast, easy and flavorful supper (or lunch)! This one is a winner all around. Thanks, Amy!

Note: Amy uses fresh tortellini in her recipe. I had dried in the cupboard, so I used that and it worked beautifully. If you use fresh, a 9 oz. package of the refrigerated variety is what you need.


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the tortellini. Cook for 8-9 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic;


saute until golden brown. Add in the Italian seasoning,


chicken broth,


sundried tomatoes


tomato soup and milk.


Stir well to combine all the ingredients and bring the soup to a simmer. Add in the (mostly) cooked tortellini,


and simmer for 2 minutes. (If you're adding fresh tortellini here, cook for as long as the package directs.)


Remove the soup from the heat and add in about half of the Parmesan cheese.


Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with remaining cheese.


Tomato Tortellini Soup

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 cup dried tortellini (stuffed with spinach and ricotta, or your favorite variety)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the tortellini. Cook for 8-9 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic with the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until golden brown.

When the onions are soft, add tomato soup, sundried tomatoes, milk, chicken broth and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer.

Once simmering, drop tortellini into the soup and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in half the Parmesan. Ladle soup into bowls and top with remaining parmesan.





Monday, August 25, 2014

Almond Joy Rice Krispie Bars


I love rice krispie bars, and I especially love finding ways to "fancy" them up. This recipe mimics a favorite candy bar, mixing in coconut, almonds and chocolate. These make a wonderful after school snack!

Some of the great flavor in these bars comes from toasting the almonds and the coconut - it is surprising how much the flavors of those ingredients intensifies after being toasted! It's so simple, but makes a huge difference, so be sure not to skip it!

I toast almonds and coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat. (In two batches, one for almonds and one for coconut - but no need to wash the pan in between!) Just be sure to stir often so they don't burn.


Now, melt the butter in a Dutch oven (this is my method - only one pan/dish to wash!) over medium low heat, then add the marshmallows.


Stir gently until the marshmallows are melted, then remove from the heat. Add the almond extract and rice krispies, coconut


and almonds.


Press into a greased 9x13 pan, and press down with your fingers. (It helps to grease your hands, too!) Sprinkle with the chocolate chips,


lightly pressing them into the cereal mixture.


Let cool, then cut into squares!


One year ago: Peanut Ice Cream with Chocolate Flakes
Two years ago: Lemon Raspberry Tart with Poppyseed Crust
Three years ago: Chicken BLT Pasta Salad
Four years ago: Bok Choy Chicken Salad
Five years ago: Corn Dip

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Totally Talented, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Share Your Stuff, Tickle my Tastebuds.

Almond Joy Rice Krispie Bars

4 Tbsp. butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3/4 teaspoon of Almond extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and mix in the almond extract.

Add the rice krispies, toasted almonds and toasted coconut. Stir until well coated.

Press mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, pressing them into the rice krispies. Let cool. Cut into squares.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pear Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce


This month for Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Manu's Menu, where Manuela blogs Italian, Australian and Indian dishes. She has a great story, and it was fun to comb through her recipe archive! In the end I settled on pear ice cream since I have been quite neglectful in making ice cream this summer and because I love pears! I also love anything pear with caramel, and this ice cream is served with salted caramel sauce. Win/win! Manuela also made some lovely pear crisp baskets in which to serve the ice cream, but making the ice cream was about as ambitious as I got this month, as I'm preparing to move houses! I use this ice cream as a lovely treat after a day of work and packing! It's so easy to throw together! I hope you'll try it soon!

In a large measuring cup, combine the cream, milk and sugar.


Whisk it well, then add this mixture to a blender or food processor. Add in the drained pears.


(If you prefer, you can use 2 fresh pears. I used canned for convenience.) Process this until there are only small chunks of pear. Pour into an ice cream freezer


and churn until it reaches soft serve stage.


Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Top with caramel sauce to serve.


One year ago: Salmon with Mustard Cream and Cheesy Breadcrumbs
Two years ago: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Three years ago: Apricot Pistachio Ice Cream
Four years ago: Kung Pao Steak with Vegetables
Five years ago: Fiesta Scramble

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up.

Pear Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce

3/4 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 can pears in juice, drained
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
salted caramel sauce for serving

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, cream and sugar. Pour into a blender or food processor and add lemon juice and pears. Puree until only small chunks of pear remain. Pour batter into an ice cream maker and churn until at soft serve stage. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for at least four hours. Top with salted (or regular) caramel sauce to serve.



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa


As the summer winds down (sigh), it's great to find recipes that can be made in a flash. Weeknights are a busy time, so getting a good, healthy dinner on the table as quickly as possible can be a challenge. Not so with this fish! Just like many of the other fish recipes here, this one comes is fast, fast, fast, ensuring a relaxing dinner hour, with plenty of time to enjoy what you made! And with the fruity salsa, this dish will remind you of summer days, even on the coldest winter day.


Combine pineapple, red onion, jalapeño, red pepper, cilantro,


lime juice,


and salt in a small bowl. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fish with cumin and chili powder.


Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side


or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Spoon pineapple salsa over fish.


One year ago: S'mores cookie bars
Two years ago: Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting
Three years ago: Sweet Corn Pizza
Four years ago: Feta Zucchini Pancakes
Five years ago: Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Find more great ideas at Full Plate Thursday, Showcase Your Talent, Pennywise Platter.

Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa

1 cup chopped pineapple
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 mini red pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Combine pineapple, red onion, jalapeño, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fish with cumin and chili powder. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Spoon pineapple salsa over fish.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking Light
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