Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pumpkin French Toast

Pumpkin spice latte.  Pumpkin doughnuts.  Pumpkin coffee creamer.  Pumpkin cookies.  Pumpkin bread.  Pumpkin oatmeal.  Pumpkin spice Oreos (ew.) Pumpkin yogurt.  Pumpkin tea.  Pumpkin is everywhere as soon as October starts!  It's nuts!  Pumpkin McNuggets.  Pumpkin salsa.  Pumpkin potato chips.  Pumpkin mayonnaise.  Pumpkin fries with a side of pumpkin ketchup.  Why not?!  While I do get tired of everything pumpkin sometimes, I made two pumpkin recipes in the same day that were worth sharing.  This pumpkin french toast was great, and I made some ridiculously amazing Pumpkin Bread that I'll post later.  I figure since I refuse to eat pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, I may as well do something pumpkiny for the fall season.  And if you're still in shock about me not eating pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, when there are chocolate desserts around the dessert table on Thanksgiving, I'm not touching anything with a vegetable in it!

Pumpkin French Toast

3/4 c milk
1/2 c pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 T brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

9 slices bread
butter, for griddle

whipped cream

In a pie plate, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Whisk well until mixture is frothy and well combined.

Preheat a griddle over medium heat.  Once it is hot, spread butter on the griddle.  Dip a piece of bread in the egg mixture on both sides and place it on the griddle.  Cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.  Flip and cook the other side until golden brown on the bottom.

Serve with whipped cream or syrup.

Panko-crusted Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce

We had some friends over last night, the kids had my son's Zoomer Dino on the kitchen table while we were all sitting around.  While one of the kids was controlling it, it zoomed, full speed ahead, at my best friend.  Have you ever seen Scare Tactics where people get so scared that it looks like they are going to drop over dead from fear?  Well, my sweet friend reacted the same way.  She slid her chair back at lightening fast speed, threw her hands in front of her face, and screamed and full volume.  We were all laughing so hard.  It's just a toy dinosaur!  Well, unbeknownst to me, my turn was next.  I was sitting there, minding my own business, and that crazy dinosaur rolled at me going 65 mph ready to eat my face!  I reacted exactly the same as Sarah!  It's all fun and games until there' a toy dinosaur charging at your face going full speed!  We laughed 'til we cried.  It was pretty hilarious.

That story has nothing to do with this pork recipe, but I thought it was pretty hilarious.  This pork recipe is amazing!  The pork turned out so tender, and that stinking Dijon Cream sauce is delicious.  I could have poured that sauce into a cup and drank it all in one sitting.  I dipped my roasted red potatoes in the sauce, and that just made my feel good all over.  I loved, loved, loved this recipe.  I would actually consider making this for Christmas dinner.  It's a lot easier and a whole lot stressful than roasting a whole turkey!

Panko-crusted Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 to 2 Tbps)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

In a large Ziplock bag, combine the marinade ingredients.  Add the pork tenderloin and place in the fridge for at least one hour or up to overnight.  Bring the pork tenderloin to room temperature before preparing the rest.  Taking it out of the fridge an hour prior to prep work would be perfect.  

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the Panko breadcrumbs.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Cook and stir the breadcrumbs until the are nice and golden brown.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 375.  You'll want to use a roasting pan so they heat circulates well around the pork.  Place foil on the bottom of the pan for easy cleanup.  

Remove the pork tenderloin from the marinade.  Roll it in the toasted breadcrumbs, and place it on the roasting rack.  

Bake it at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  The internal temperature should be 145 degrees.  A little pink is okay when cooking with pork!  Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes while you make the sauce.

In a skillet, melt the tablespoon of butter.  Add the minced shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until tender.  Add the minced garlic; cook for one more minute.  Add the 1 cup of cream, the Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.  Whisk to combine everything and bring to a simmer.  Keep it at a low simmer for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Add the parsley.  Remove from the heat until ready to serve.

Cut the cooked pork into 1/2 inch thick slices.  

Pour the Dijon cream sauce on a platter.  Place the pork on top of the sauce.  Garnish with chopped parsley.

Lemon Truffle Pie

My mom requested a lemon dessert for her birthday last week.  I scoured my hundreds of pins on pinterest looking for just the right thing.  I came across this lemon truffle pie and started salivating.  Only lemon things and Frank's Red Hot buffalo sauce can make me salivate just by thinking of it.  Maybe I should combine the two.  Nah.  Better left apart.  However, buffalo chicken fingers for dinner and this for dessert may just send my salivary glands into overload.

Anywho, I took this pie over to my brother's house where we were getting together for my mom's birthday.  We all ate dinner and sat down to play some games.  We were playing for about an hour, and I could sense my dad getting a little restless.  He finally bursted out, "Is it time for dessert yet?!  How long does that game last?!" I dished up the pie and served my dad first because, even in my 30's, I am a daddy's girl.  I heard a loud moan followed by, "Oh, my gosh, Callie!!  This pie!"  Everyone else was served up shortly thereafter, and there was not a crumb left on anyone's plate but my three year old's because she doesn't eat much of anything.  One of my brothers said, "Why is it that everything you make is the best of that dessert that I've ever tasted?!"

This pie is great because it is lemony, cream cheesy, delicious, and no bake.  You can whip it up in about 20-30 minutes, and everyone will love it!
Lemon Truffle Pie:
adapted from Lion House Pies

1 graham cracker crust (see below) or baked 9-inch pie shell
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups water
5 tablespoons lemon juice
zest from 2 lemons
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup whipped cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the cornstarch and 1/3 c sugar.  Add the water and stir.  Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest.  

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork.  Add the 1/4 c sugar and mix it in.  Add the egg yolk mixture to the mixture in the saucepan and whisk well.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Once it boils, cook it for one minute- continuing to stir constantly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add in butter and stir until melted.  Reserve 1 1/2 c of the lemon liquid for the top layer.  Add the 1 c of white chocolate chips into the remaining lemon mixture in the saucepan.  Stir until they are melted and well mixed in.  Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and add to the mixture in the  saucepan.  Stir until they are well mixed in and no chunks remain.  (I put mine in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat it on medium speed until it was light and fluffy.)

Pour this mixture into the graham cracker crust.  Smooth it out.  Pour the reserved 1 1/2 c of lemon mixture on top of this.  Chill for at least two hours.

Just before ready to serve, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.  Add 1/3 c sugar and vanilla.  Mix well.  Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie.  

World's Best Breadsticks

When my husband's grandparents were alive, every time we went up there to visit them, they'd always want to eat at Olive Garden.  Every.  Single.  Time.  I mean, I like mediocre, over-priced Italian food as much as the next guy, but come on!  One of the perks of Olive Grden is their breadsticks.  I used to get those bad boys and a side of alfredo sauce for dipping.  I would drench the bread sticks in the alfredo and be in seventh heaven (and a caloric overload.)  I loved those bread sticks when they came out warm.  Well, my friend, this recipe blows their bread sticks out of the water.  You're dead to me, Olive Garden hot dog bun breadsticks!  These were the softest bread sticks I've ever made.  They blew my mind, and I may have eaten three of them and I may have wanted to eat three more.  *Hangs head in shame.*  They come together quickly and turn out fantastic. You've got to try them!

World's Best Breadsticks

yield: 24 breadsticks

1 c warm water
1 T yeast
2 T softened butter
1 egg
3 1/4 c white flour
1/4 c sugar
1 t salt

Garlic butter:
6 T butter
1/4 - 1/2 t garlic salt

Combine all bread ingredients in a bread machine on the dough setting.  (If you don't have a bread maker, combine them into a stand mixer and use a hook attachment.)  Set the bread machine to start and walk away.  If you're using the hook attachment, set it on low and mix it for 5 minutes.  The dough will be soft and a bit sticky.  Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times.  Place it in a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel.  When I need bread to rise, I boil some water in a Pyrex container, put it in the microwave, and put the bread in there.  The heat from the hot water makes perfect conditions for rising.

Once it's doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured surface.  Roll it in a 12x10 inch rectangle.  Cut it in half lengthwise.  Then cut up and down 12 times to make 24 breadsticks.

Place them on a greased cookie sheet.  Let them rise for 30 minutes or until slightly puffy.

Bake at 350 for 14-18 minutes or until they are golden brown on top.

Make the garlic butter by melting the butter in a pie plate.  Add the garlic salt.  Roll each bread stick in the butter.  If you don't want to roll the whole thing in the butter because you're watching calories, you can just brush the tops with it.

I sprinkled mine with Parmesan cheese- just because cheese makes everything better.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Peanut Butter Rolo Cookies

I happened to see some Rolos on sale the other day, and I thought, "Hey!  I'm going to make some of those Rolo cookies that I keep seeing on Pinterest."  Well, as I was making them, I was telling myself how I could resist eating the entire batch single-handedly because I've been on a healthier-eating binge.  I made the dough and sampled it.  Sweet mercy- that is some good dough.  Wait... I thought I should try it one more time just in case it wasn't as good as I thought it was.  Well, folks, it was still ridiculously delicious.  When the cookies came out, I thought, "Okay... I'm going to have just one.  I don't even want to think about how many calories are in one of those bad boys."  Three cookies later, I had to put them away.  I'm telling you guys... these stinking cookies are so amazing.  See that caramel that's oozing out of there?  It is a delight.  I'm not even going to admit how many of these stupid cookies I ate the next day.  I think I need an intervention, and a carrot stick just isn't going to cut it. Maybe I'll put a carrot stick or two on a plate and surround it with three or four of these tasty morsels.  That'd be an intervention that I could go for.

These cookies are amazing, and you're going to love them!

Peanut Butter Rolo Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (or light brown)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 24 Rolos
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until light, fluffy, and slightly lighter in color.  It usually takes a minute or two.  Turn mixer to low, add the egg.  Mix.  Add the peanut butter.  Mix.  Add the vanilla.  You guessed it.  Mix.  Stop the mixer.  Add the baking soda and flour.  Mix until incorporated. 

Chill the dough for 30 minutes.  

Grab about a tablespoon and a half of dough.  Press the Rolo in the middle and wrap the dough around it so it's completely covered.  Place 12 on a cookie sheet, evenly spaced.  You should get 24 cookies.  If you got less, make sure you eat less cookie dough next time.  :)
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 9-10 minutes.  Do not overbake!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pineapple Ginger Chicken

I'm about as white as they come, but boy, do I love making homemade Chinese food.  It pretty easy, and it's always delicious.  This recipe blew me away.  This chicken was baked but still crispy enough, and the sauce was amazing.  

Being that I make Chinese food at home a lot, I've been trying to teach my kids to use chopsticks.  That goes over as well as prissy cheerleader trying to survive in the zombie apocalypse.  They usually just end up stabbing the poor chicken with the end of their chopsticks.  Can't say I blame 'em!  
Next time you're craving Chinese food, give this a shot.  It only takes about 30 minutes, and it's just as good or better than takeout.  

The new Walking Dead episode is on in five minutes, so I'm outta here!  I can't wait!

Pineapple Ginger Chicken
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, pounded thin, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tablespoons water 
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (may sub. olive oil)

  • Chicken Breading
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Pineapple Ginger Sauce
  • 1/2 t Coconut or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • !-2 t freshly grated ginger (or 1/4-1/2 t dried)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons pineapple preserves
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha (I used sweet chili sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pineapple chunks (Optional)

Line a baking sheet with foil (Save yourself on cleanup time, my friends!)  Spray that with cooking spray.  

In a large bowl, combine the egg and water.  In a Ziplock bag, combine the chicken breading ingredients.  Shake to combine. 

Dip the bite size pieces of chicken in the egg wash.  Shake off any excess egg.  Place the egg-coated chicken pieces in the Ziplock bag with the breading mixture.  Add about five pieces of chicken at a time.  Seal the Ziplock bag and shake to coat.  Shake off the excess flour as you remove the chicken pieces.  Place the chicken on the prepared cookie sheet.  Space the chicken out on the cookie sheet.  Spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray.  This will help it crisp up a bit.  

Bake at a 375 degree oven for ten minutes.

While that is baking, prepare the sauce.  Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger.  Saute for about 30 seconds.  Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce, except the cornstarch.  Stir them all together.  Scoop out a little bit of the sauce and add the cornstarch to that.  Stir it around to form a paste.  Add the paste back into the sauce and stir.  Bring to a boil.  Stir.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has thickened.  Add in the pineapple chunks, if desired.

After the chicken has cooked for ten minutes, remove it.  Place a rack about 8-10 inches away from the broiler.  Broil it for 5-10 minutes or until desired crispiness.  

Place the chicken in a serving bowl.  Pour the sauce on top and toss to combine.  Top with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.  

Serve with fried rice and steamed vegetables.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Light Turkey (or Chicken) & Corn Chowder

I teach 6th grade Earth science at an online school.  I was teaching about crystals and minerals this week, and one of the determining characteristics of minerals is cleavage... and streak... Man alive.  Imagine teaching 6th graders about that.  Well, my online classroom has a chatbox that I can turn off and on.  When it is off, only I see the chat.  When I introduced "cleavage," one of my students that is older than the other kids by a year or two wrote, "Cleavage. heh."  It was all I could do to not bust up in laughter.  Kids crack me up.  Luckily, streak went over their heads.

The last time I was going to make turkey dinner on Father's Day, my oven went kaput.  I finally got around to making it up.  We had a turkey dinner a few weeks ago, and it was fabulous.  We had a ton of left-over turkey.  I found this soup recipe to use for leftover turkey, and it was so good!  It's got a little kick to it from the green chilies, so don't add them all if you don't like much heat.

Light Turkey (or Chicken) & Corn Chowder Recipe | #lowfat #soup #leftovers
Recipe and photo source:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1¼ cups frozen corn kernels
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2½ cups shredded cooked turkey (or chicken)
  • ¾ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ tsp cayenne peppe
  • Green onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, red bell pepper, and garlic.  Saute for five minutes.

Add the green chilies (if using) and stir for one minute.

Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  

Add the corn; simmer for three minutes.

In a medium bowl, add the flour.  Slowly whisk in the milk until it's smooth.  Slowly whisk this mixture into the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook and stir for about fifteen minutes or until the mixture has thickened a bit.  Stir in the turkey (or chicken), cheddar, and cayenne.  Stir until the cheese melts completely.  

Ladle into soup bowl and top with green onions.  

The original website also had the nutrition facts on this recipe.  Nice!  Thanks Cookin' Canuck!

Calories 218.5 / Total Fat 6.6g / Saturated Fat 2.4g / Cholesterol 13.0mg / Sodium 844.3mg / Total Carbohydrates 25.2g / Fiber 1.7g / Sugars 9.0g / Protein 15.6g / WW (Old Points) 5 / WW (Points+) 6
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1¼ cups Calories: 218 cal Fat: Total Fat 6.6g / Saturated Fat 2.4g