Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Pumpkin Spiced Latte

• 3/4 cup 2% (or any)milk
• 1 tbsp pumpkin butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1 tsp sugar or sugar substitute (to taste)
• 1/8 cup of espresso (or 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee works)
• fat free whipped topping
• pumpkin pie spice for topping

In a small pan combine milk, pumpkin butter and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until boiling. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (or whisk well with a wire whisk)

Pour into a mug, add the hot espresso (or coffee) and top with fat free whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice on top.

This too is adapted from Gina's Recipes.

-I used strong coffee as I cannot find instant espresso ANYWHERE in the Shenandoah Valley!
-OMG. So good. No more $5 for one at Starbucks!!

Pumpkin Butter Recipe
Source: Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes

• 3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can (not pumpkin pie filling)
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup apple cider or juice
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 2-3 cinnamon sticks
• 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ranch Chicken Alfredo

Ranch Chicken Alfredo

1 pound skinless, bonelesschicken breasts
1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup light cream
1 cup frozen peas or pea pods, cooked

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Grill on George Foreman (or other) grill while pasta is cooking.

Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan; add cream and parmesan cheese, heating and stirring until the cheese is melted. Add dressing; heat through. Stir in desired amount of the cooked and drained pasta. (Do not rinse pasta, so the sauce will stick to it better.)

Cut the chicken in bite-size pieces and add to the spaghetti mixture; add cooked pea pods and or peas.

-I substituted broccoli for the peas (that's a WHOLE lotta starch!)
-Regular pasta instead of angel hair

This is SO good. Thanks to Lynnie for finding it, this is definitely now a staple in our house! It's VERY rich, and a one-bowl meal. The leftovers are just as amazing! I double the recipe so that I can have leftovers during the week!


Jumbo Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Jumbo Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter


1.) In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Fill six greased or lined jumbo muffin cups ¾ full.

2.) In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and flour, cutting in the flour until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

3.) Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yields 6 muffins.


These muffins are FANTASTIC! I add golden raisins to the muffin batter, and they are just so good!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Homemade Garlic Knots

Soft Garlic Knots


For the dough:

3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water

For the glaze:

2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. Italian seasoning


To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil, milk and water. Mix until ingredients have formed a dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope and tie into a knot. Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center. Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center. Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.

To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic or press it through a garlic press. Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Recipe curtesy of Annie'e Eats
-I didn't get to take a picture of these, they were devoured SO fast!!

World's Best Lasagna

• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
• 3/4 pound lean ground beef
• 1/2 cup minced onion
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
• 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
• 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 12 lasagna noodles
• 16 ounces ricotta cheese
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Ok, without a doubt, the BEST lasagna EVER. I’ve had lasagna at many Italian restaurants and this is by far the best. Takes a little time, but WORTH it.

Adapted from

-I didn’t take out the meat needed out of the freezer ahead of time, so I was forced to stop at a grocery store I usually don’t frequent to pick it up. Food Lion doesn’t have a good selection of anything, and especially Italian meat. I ended up with Johnsonville 4 Cheese Sweet Sausage. I’m sure the cheese only added to the flavor of the dish.
-I used fresh grated Parm cheese, it’s so much better than the powdered, preservative laden container on the shelves. I mean really... why is some refrigerated and others isn’t?
-Sliced mozzarella is AMAZING. Grating mozzarella cheese is for the birds!
-I just used my soup pan, I don't have a Dutch Oven.
-I have leftover sauce, but I refrigerated it and will make pizza with it later this week.

I made homemade Garlic Knots and a large Garden Salad with Olive Garden dressing to go with the lasagna. (These recipes to follow.) Last minute we invited our in-laws over because, well why the heck not?