Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage and Feta Cheese

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been going through all of my old Southern Living.  I found this recipe for Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage and Feta Cheese.... and spinach.  I liked the idea so I gave it a try.  I really enjoyed it but I love all of these ingredients.  It is a bit tangy so you do need to like balsamic vinegar.  This isn't a pasta that the sauce totally adheres to the pasta.  The flavor is there but not a tons of sauce.  I reheated this the next day and enjoyed it even more - I think the pasta had absorbed more of the sauce.

Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage (adapted from Southern Living)

1 (12 oz) pkg of bow-tie pasta
3/4 lb ground Italian sausage - casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
1 (9oz) pkg fresh spinach (I used baby spinach)
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Prepare pasta according to directions.  Meanwhile, cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring often, 8 - 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is not longer pink.  Add onion, and saute 5 minutes.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute and stir in vinegar cooking for 3 minutes.  Add chicken broth and cook 5 minutes.  Stir in spinach and next 3 ingredients;  Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Stir in cooked pasta and serve immediately.  Serve with favorite garlic bread and enjoy!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel Sauce

I know we are all stuffed from a wonderful Thanksgiving feast but I just have to share this recipe  - it is.... AMAZING!  I am not even a huge fan of bread pudding but this recipe - especially with the warm caramel sauce is heavenly.  Another perfect holiday recipe for you to enjoy.  I made this in a round deep casserole dish.  I like more crunchy top layer so I would probably make it in a smaller rectangle dish in the future. The caramel sauce is a wonderful addition - perfect for a bowl of ice cream too!

My friend Barb got this recipe from her sister.  I made this several years ago and tucked the recipe away.  I am sorry I didn't share it with you sooner!  Enjoy!


2 Cups half-half
1-15 oz can pumpkin—use ¾ of can
1 cup and 2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp vanilla
10 cups cubed Hawaiian bread

Mix together and bake in round casserole dish for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Caramel Sauce
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

Whisk together and add cream stirring until sugar is dissolved and creamy.

Serve warm caramel sauce over the Bread Pudding.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Festive Slow Cooker Side

I recently found this recipe in my favorite magazine - Southern Living. I thought it would be nice to have a side dish for the holidays that could prepared in a slow cooker - since my ovens are always so busy. This isn't a typical recipe for me to try. I have never cooked a parsnip in my life - so this was an adventure. We were very pleased! I got nice reviews from my family. This recipe made a large amount so I took the extra to share with my preschool teacher friends. They also seemed to enjoy this great new fall recipe - I know you will too!

Balsamic Root Vegetables (adapted from Southern Living)

1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
1 lb parsnips
1 lb carrots (I used a lb bag of baby carrots)
2 large red onions, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries ( I put more :)
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely ( I goofed and forgot this step :)

Peel first 3 ingredients and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Combine parsnips, carrots, onions and cranberries in a lightly greased 6 qt slow cooker; layer the sweet potatoes over top. Whisk together sugar and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl; pour over vegetable mixture and do not stir! Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Toss with parsley just before serving!

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Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned a wonderful blog from Denmark for the Secret Recipe Club.  I was a little thrown at first but thanks to Heidi at Heidi's World, she includes Google Translate on her blog and I
had such fun looking around.  Heidi loves to cook and I know you will so enjoy her blog,  Please visit and enjoy a little bit of Denmark.  **Heidi did make a comment below that if you choose to make this recipe, please visit the visitor's part of her blog to help with measurements.  She said that I would used isn't accurate so please visit Heidi's blog if you choose to give these yummy bagels a try!

Heidi had so many recipes to choose from.  There were some that were easier to translate than others. I decided to make Mini Wheat bagels.  I had never made bagels and thought I would give it a try. They were awesome!  Mine weren't as pretty as Heidi's.  Next time I would take more time to make the dough nice and smooth.  Also, I have to confess that I royally goofed.  She said to cook them at 200 degrees.  I thought that was a little low but I had never made bagels before.....After the first batch was in the oven for a while, I started to question myself.  AND... of course - Heidi meant 200 degrees Celsius.  I then switched my oven to 390 degree F.... and ended up with wonderful bagels.

Wheat Bagels

1 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups milk
just over 3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
approximately 9 cups flour

spice mixture for topping:

2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt

Warm milk to between 100 -110 degrees F.  Pour into a bowl and dissolved the yeast in the warm milk allowing to sit for 5 minutes.  Add the softened butter, sugar, salt and egg yolk to the mixture.  Add dough slowly and knead until cohesive, soft and smooth.  The dough is kneaded by hand for 6 - 8 minutes and approximately 5 minutes if using a mixer at high speed.   Line a bowl with a little canola bowl, add the dough mixture and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour. Punch the dough down and form into 16 equal balls and place on a floured surface. Press a hole into the center of each ball, dragging to from a larger hole.  Cover the dough balls with a tea towel and let rise for about 10 -15 minutes.  Bring water in a large pan to a boil.  Boil dough for 2 minutes, flip then two minutes on the other side. Lift them out, drain and lay on a butter lined cookie sheet. Bake at 390 for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden.  Sprinkle topping on bagels halfway thru baking - otherwise the topping might burn. Bagels should sound hollow when knocked on the bottom.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Updated Green Bean Casserole

Everyone loves Green Bean Casserole - right? I have never been a huge fan of Cream of Mushroom Soup. I found this recipe in my all favorite Southern Living and I was so pleased with the results. Southern Living has you make it in a slow cooker with frozen French style green beans. While I like the idea of a slow cooker during the holidays when your ovens are so busy, I wanted it that very night AND... I couldn't find frozen French-cut green beans. As always, I improvised. I was quite pleased. I will share the Southern Living slow cooker version and my adapted oven version.

Green Bean Casserole (adapted from Southern Living)

3 cans French style green beans, rinsed and drained very well - squeeze
1 ( 10 oz) container of Light Alfredo sauce
1 ( 8 oz) can diced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 (6 oz) can French fried onions, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a medium size casserole dish with a cooking spray.  Mix first 5 ingredients and half of onions.  Pour into pan and bake for 35 minutes or until bubbly.  Top with rest of onions and chopped pecans and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden. Enjoy! 

Green Bean Casserole (slow cooker version)

2 ( 16 oz) pkgs frozen French cut green beans,thawed
1 ( 10 oz) container refrigerated Alfredo Sauce
1 ( 8 oz) can diced water chestnuts, drained
1 ( 6 oz) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1 ( 6 oz) can French fried onions, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Stir together first 6 ingredients and half of onions, spoon mixture  into a lightly greased 4 qt slow cooker.  Cover and Cook on low 4 1/2 hours or until bubbly.  Heat pecans and remaining half of onions in a small non-stick skillet over med-low heat, stirring often, 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.  Sprinkle over casserole just before serving.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Easy Shrimp Creole

What a great new recipe! This recipe was sent to me by a dear friend that I haven't seen in years. I taught high school with Diane many years ago. I was a new teacher, right out of Baylor, and Diane was my saving grace. She is also a great cook. She emailed me this recipe a while back but not everyone loves shrimp in my house but I decided to give it a try anyway. Everyone loved it (Except Jenna - she didn't try it :) This recipe is definitely a keeper - good and easy!

Easy Shrimp Creole

1 stick butter ( I used a half)
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Saute these ingredients until tender.

1 can Ro*Tel - undrained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp chili sauce
salt/pepper to taste

Add these ingredients and simmer 10 minutes. Mixture will be thick but will thin when shrimp are added.

*1 1/2 to 2 lbs raw shrimp, shelled and deveined

Add shrimp, cover and cook 15 more minutes until shrimp is no longer pink. Do not over cook. (I didn't want to mess with raw shrimp so I bought a 1 lb bag of frozen, cooked, shelled and deveined shrimp. I thawed it, cut off the tails, added and heated it through) Serve over rice!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

State Volleyball

Annie is a senior at a new high school.  This is our second year to be open and the first year to have seniors.  She has had such an exciting volleyball season.  We made it to STATE and they played their first match today... and WON.  We have a tough game tomorrow but win or lose, play again on Saturday.  We are lucky to be involved with such a great school.  Go STORM!  WIN STATE!

And yes, it has been a busy week so no new recipes.  I did make a couple of our old favorites that you should check out.......  Chicken Pot Pie and Mexican Cornbread :)

Annie - Captain and Libero

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

We just celebrated my husband's birthday.  I usually make a 3 layer German Chocolate cake but opted for a Texas Sheet Cake this time.  I know many of you have a recipe for Texas Sheet Cake but if you don't, I highly recommend this one as my family has been making it for years.  My mom knows this recipe by heart!  I love it - I promise you can't go wrong with this yummy recipe!  Happy Birthday Chris!

Jenna, Meg, Chris and Annie
Happy Birthday to my scruffy husband - "NO-SHAVE" November (Men's Health Campaign at work)

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

In a large bowl, sift together:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. or less cinnamon

In a saucepan, bring to a boil stirring. Pour over dry ingredients mixing well:

2 sticks butter
1 cup water
3 level Tbsp cocoa

Another bowl, mix together then add to chocolate mixture:

2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray an 11 x 15 jelly roll pan with cooking spray.  Pour in mixture and bake for 25 - 30 or until tester comes out clean.  Make frosting while cake is cooking.  Pour warm frosting over warm cake.


In a saucepan, melt over low heat until edges sizzle:

1 stick butter
6 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp cocoa,level

Take off heat and add stirring:

1 box powdered sugar ( best if sifted)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, my preschool director greeted the teachers with warm chocolate chip cookies.  What a nice treat - at any time of day!   Miss Alice is probably the sweetest lady I know.  She is always thinking of others and to have warm cookies when we walk in the door - nothing beats it.  This is a recipe she had from years back, and I thought they were extra yummy.  But then, I think most warm chocolate chip cookies are amazing. This recipe uses Buttered Flavored Crisco and a little hot water.  I substituted dark brown sugar for her light brown sugar but either would work. I made these recently for a Husker Football Party and got great reviews from my friends and family!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup Buttered Flavored Crisco
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix Crisco, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Add  rest of ingredients.  Drop by tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

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