Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Almost every year Zach and I host a small Halloween party for our friends. I love this holiday, its so much fun to dress up and decorate the house. This year we dressed up as our kids, Cecily and Finn. I love how our costumes turned out!

Here is a look at my decorations. I've collected quite a few halloween things throughout the years.

For the food I served mainly tried and true recipes, with two new additions. I love cocktail parties with lots of appys, its my favorite way to entertain.

Garlic pecan cheddar cheese ring

Tastefully Simple Beer Bread

Dilled Shrimp

And my new favorite appetizer recipe, kielbasa bites, from Lauren's Kitchen. OMG they were good and so easy to put together

I decided to serve a "signature drink" and made Spiked hot apple cider in my crockpot. It was a hit!

And Fettunta Prosciutto, always a crowd pleaser

I also had Pumpkin soup, which I forgot to take a picture of and some chips and dip. We had a great time!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mac & Cheese Muffins

I had no idea what we were having for dinner tonight until about 5:00, when I remembered that I bookmarked Mac & Cheese Muffins on my google reader. I ran to the kitchen...pasta, check! Cheddar, check! Milk, check!! We were in business. I used a combo of recipes (a popular Nestie recipe as my guide), put the mac & cheese into large muffin tins and baked. Money!

Mac & Cheese Muffins


2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 oz. small macaroni, cooked al dente
Plain bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 375. Spray large muffin cups with cooking spray.

In medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt and pepper and whisk until combined. Add milk slowly, stirring constantly over medium-high heat until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

Stir in 2 1/2 cups cheese until melted. Season with paprika and nutmeg. Add macaroni. Pour into muffin tins and sprinkle with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

I think I have a new favorite source for recipes. Our Best Bites is a great blog with some awesome recipes. This is the second soup I've made of theirs and both have been winners.

This soup tasted SO rich, but it is really low in fat! The only change I made to the original recipes is that I used turkey bacon. If you love big bowls of comforting soup, you must try this!

Baked Potato Soup
Recipe by Our Best Bites

2 Tbs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C flour
4 1/2 C low-fat or skim milk
1 14oz can chicken broth
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) baked*
2 C grated cheddar (or sharp cheddar) cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C light sour cream, divided
1/2 C chopped green onions, divided
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided

*don't have time to bake potatoes in the oven? Just pierce them with a fork a few times and then pop them in the microwave. Cook in 5 minute intervals until a knife easily pierces through them. It usually takes 5-10 minutes. To bake in the oven, pierce each potato with a fork and place directly on oven rack. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add flour to pan. Slowly add milk a little at a time while whisking constantly to eliminate lumps. Whisk until smooth and then add chicken broth. Bring soup just to a simmer and heat until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Once soup is thickened, turn heat down to medium-low. Cut potatoes in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out potato flesh into the pot. Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, breaking up large clumps. Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in 3/4 C sour cream, 1/4 C green onions, and 4 strips of the crumbled bacon. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with each serving with the remaining sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Garlic Herb Roasted Chicken

I love roasted chicken. Our dinner plans fell through so I grabbed a whole chicken while we were food shopping. I don't have a go to recipe for roasting a whole chicken so I went online to look at a bunch. Below is the result! It came out juicy and delicious. Zach isn't too much of a rosemary fan, but sometimes I have to sneak it in :D Guess that's why my rating suffered!!

Garlic Herb Roasted Chicken


1 4-5 lb Whole chicken
1 whole head of garlic, plus 6 cloves peeled and smashed
1 lemon
1 bunch of fresh rosemary
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 tbs butter, melted
olive oil
garlic and herb Mrs Dash
salt and pepper
2 cups baby carrots
6-8 butter potatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with whole head of garlic, half of the lemon and half of each bunch of herbs.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Sprinkle generously with paprika and Mrs Dash. Chop remaining herbs and sprinkle half over the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil.

Cut potatoes into quarters. in a large bowl, combine potatoes and carrots with salt, pepper, smashed garlic cloves, the remaining chopped herbs and olive oil. Place around chicken in the roasting pan and cover with the chicken broth.

Roast the chicken for 1 hour and a half or until the juices run clear.

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin French Toast

Pumpkin french toast? Why not!! I have leftover pumpkin in the fridge so I thought Id put it to good use this morning. Came out great!

I didn't really measure anything, so this won't be a real "recipe." Just mix one egg, a splash of milk, a scoop of pumpkin, dash of vanilla and a generous amount of pumpkin pie spice together. Dip bread into the mixture coating it and cook in a pan with a little bit of melted butter.
Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Blogoversary to me!!

I cannot believe its been a whole year since I started this blog. I honestly wasn't sure how much I would keep up with it, let alone have people who actually read and follow it! I am so grateful to everyone for all of their positive feedback and comments on this little adventure of mine. One of the best things is hearing that someone else tried and loved one of the recipes!

I decided to go back to my first post, French Onion soup, and make it again tonight. I am on a quest to find the perfect recipe for this favorite of ours. While I don't think I can call this "perfect" it was pretty darn close! I loved this Rachael Ray recipe and will definitely use it again. I cut it in half to make one bowl each for Zach and I, but put the original amounts below.

French Onion Soup
Recipe adapted from
Rachael Ray

Serves 4


•6 medium onions
•4 tablespoons butter
•3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•2 fresh bay leaves
•2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
•Salt and pepper
•1 cup dry sherry
•1 quart beef stock
•2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
•1 baguette, ends trimmed, sliced into rounds about 1-inch thick
•1/4 pound sliced provolone cheese


Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat while thinly slicing the onions. Add the butter to the pot and melt. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper and gently caramelize, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. If the onions begin to brown too quickly at the edges before they caramelize, turn the heat down a bit. Deglaze the pan with the wine, then let reduce for 1 minute while stirring. Add the stock and the Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, place an oven rack in middle of the oven and heat the oven to 250˚F.

Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and arrange the bread slices on it. Toast the bread for 15 minutes. Switch the broiler on.

Ladle the soup into bowls and place bread slices on top. Top with provolone slices and place under the broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Penne

I had high hopes for this recipe since I love pumpkin in savory dishes. While it was pretty good, I wasn't as impressed as I hoped to be. I did think that using cottage cheese for a low fat cream sauce was ingenious, so I will be using that technique again.

Creamy Pumpkin Penne
Recipe slightly adapted from Cara's Cravings by way
Cook Pray Love


8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 2T chopped fresh sage
1 cooked chicken smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup nonfat milk
pinch of nutmeg
5oz torn spinach, thick stems removed
grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional


Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage; continue to saute.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

In a blender, combine combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk. Blend until no lumps are present. Add to sausage mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture and baby spinach, and toss together. Cover for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Yes, it is official. I am obsessed with fall flavors. Especially pumpkin, so expect to see a few more pumpkin recipes before the season is over.

I love granola and have been meaning to make my own for quite sometime. So of course I take the plunge when I come across Pumpkin Spice Granola!! This was a great snack, I enjoyed some with a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Granola
Recipe from Seconds for Satisfaction

You will need:

3 cups of old-fashioned oats
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup dried fruit
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 t salt
2 t cinnamon
2 t pumpkin spice
1 egg white, whisked


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the everything except for the dried fruit. Mix thoroughly so that all of the dry ingredients are evenly coated with the wet ingredients.

In a small glass, whisk the egg white until it becomes frothy and foamy (about 2 minutes). Mix into the granola mixture.

On a greased baking pan, spread the mixture out in an even layer. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, to get evenly browned.

Remove from heat and let cool completely. As it cools, it will begin to harden and form into one large piece. Once it is cooled, using your hands, break up the granola into clusters of your desired size.

Add in the dried fruit.

Store in an air-tight container or resealable plastic bag.

Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese

Ok, I lied. THIS will be my last apple post (maybe!). I came across this recipe and couldn't resist. What a treat this was for lunch today! And such a creative way to use apples!

Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese

Recipe from Closet Cooking by way of Beantown Baker

serves 1

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 dash of cinnamon
1 apple (peeled, cored and sliced)
2 thick slices of good cheese (cheddar or gouda work well)
2 slices of good bread
1 Tbsp butter

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan.

Add the sugar and cinnamon and cook until bubbly.

Add the apples and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Assemble sandwich and grill until golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side or place in a preheated panini press
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin is one of my all time favorite flavors. I was anxious to use the canned pumpkin I bought earlier this week so I looked up a bunch of recipes to find a pumpkin pancake for this morning. This one looked good and it didn't disappoint. I liked that it used mostly whole wheat flour. They were dense but not too heavy and very tasty. I cut the recipe in half because they were just for Cecily and me, and it worked out fine.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
Recipe slightly adapted from Pinch My Salt


1 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 C. buttermilk
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 T. oil
1 t. vanilla
2 T. dark brown sugar


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients (whole wheat flour through pumpkin pie spice). In a separate bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients (buttermilk through brown sugar).

2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Lumps are ok, just make sure all the flour on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. If batter seems too thick to pour, you can gently stir in a little more buttermilk.

3. Drop pancakes by ladleful onto a medium-hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a little dry and you can see small bubbles forming on the surface.
Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tortellini Sausage Soup

I love fall cooking!!! Nothing better than a hearty, healthy soup after a beautiful October day. This recipe was awesome, super flavorful. Trust me, make it!

Tortellini Sausage Soup
Recipe slightly adapted from Our Best Bites


4 links Italian turkey sausage
4 cloves pressed garlic
1 onion, diced
½ c. water
3 cups chicken broth
½ c. apple cider
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. sliced carrots
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, grated
8-10 oz. package cheese tortellini
2 Tbsp. dried parsley


If you're using link sausage, remove the casings and crumble into a large soup pot. To remove the casings, you can use a sharp knife to cut a slit down one side of the sausage and then peel back the casing.

Begin cooking sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently. If your sausage is pretty fatty, you'll want to drain it when it's about halfway cooked. Meanwhile, chop onions and garlic

and add to the sausage. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and your sausage is cooked. Your house will smell heavenly.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, juice, water, chicken broth, carrots, oregano, and basil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add parsley and zucchini

and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.

Add the tortellini

and cook until tender, and then serve with grated Asiago or Parmesan.


Hoboken 5k "Comeback" Race Report

Finally, a running related post!!! Today I ran the Hoboken 5k, my first since I was 9 weeks pregnant with Finn. Even though my time was almost 8 minutes slower than when I ran this race last year, it still felt GREAT to be back.

It was a beautiful morning, nice a cool and sunny. The course was nice, starting and finishing along the waterfront. I ran very steady pace, and finished in 38:17. My only goal was to run the whole thing, which I accomplished. Not too shabby for 2 1/2 months post pardom. I am really optimistic that I will be back to my old shape fairly soon.

Cecily helping me on the final stretch
Cecily kicking butt in the kid's run

Me and my guy :)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

French Onion Meatloaf Muffins

Meatloaf is one of my fav comfort foods. Its been so gloomy out that I've been craving it. Loved this French Onion twist!

French Onion Meatloaf Muffins
A Running Mama Cooks Original Recipe


1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 egg
2/3 cup French's Friend Onions, crushed, plus more for topping
1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup, divided
1/2 cup provolone cheese, cubed
cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, until onion is soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes

In a large bowl mix together beef, onions, egg, French's, onion soup mix, 1/4 cup of ketchup, cheese and thyme.

Spray large muffin tins with cooking spray. Add meatloaf mixture. Brush with remaining ketchup and top with French's fried onions. Bake for 35 minutes.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2

Crockpot Spiced Applesauce

Last apple post, I promise!! I don't think I can cut anymore up! But trust me and make this applesauce. SO GOOD!

Crockpot Spiced Applesauce
Recipe from


8 golden delicious apples, cored, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


1 Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker; stir to mix.

2 Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours.

3 When done, stir with a wooden spoon. Gently crush applesauce against side of slow cooker to desired consistency.
Monday, October 4, 2010

Low Cal Apple Crisp

With all these apples in the house it is tempting to whip up a fattening pie or cake, so I am trying to find some low fat/cal alternatives. I came across this apple crisp recipe and decided to give it a try. At 3 weight watchers points per serving (can you tell I have some baby weight to lose :D) you can't go wrong! We topped it with a bit of fat free cool whip. Yum!

Low Cal Apple Crisp
Adapted slightly from Lower Calerie Cooking


•4 cups peeled, cored, sliced golden delicious apples (3-4 medium apples)
•1 Tbsp granulated sugar
•2 tsp lemon juice
•3/4 cup rolled oats
•1/4 cup flour
•2 Tbsp brown sugar
•2 Tbsp melted butter
•1 tsp ground cinnamon
•1/4 tsp salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Place the apples evenly in the bottom of a 11x7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. To complete the crisp, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir until the mixture resembles of course meal. Top the apples evenly with the oat mixture.

4. Bake the crisp at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Serves 6

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apple Muffins

It was a beautiful fall day today so my family and I went apple picking. When we got home, Cecily and I baked these apple muffins. I adapted the original recipe to make it lower in fat (4 WW pts per muffin) and it didn't effect the taste one bit. They were yummy!

Since I have a ton of apples, I will be baking more soon!

Apple Muffins
Recipe adapted from

Makes 12 muffins


1 cup brown sugar, packed,divided
1/4 cup vegatable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided


1 Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.

2 Grease muffin tins or use paper liners.

3 In a large bowl, blend 3/4 cup brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla with a wooden spoon.

4 Add flour, baking soda and salt.

5 Stir in apple, buttermilk, walnuts and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix thoroughly until combined well.

6 Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

7 In a small bowl combine remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar with remaining cinnamon.

8 Sprinkle over muffins.

9 Bake for 30-40 minutes or until muffins are browned and toothpick comes clean when inserted in middle.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...