Monday, November 30, 2009

Cami's Butternut Squash Pasta

I too had trouble getting a good picture of this dish. I don't know if it was the color or lighting or what. It doesn't matter though because it was really good. I love all the hearty squash recipes we've done! Squash is something I normally shy away from and now I don't know why.

This is a nice fall casserole type dish. I loved the mix of flavors. My 1 year old really loved it too. We called it squashy pasta and he ate most of the casserole. Like Deanna said, the ricotta cheese made it seem like a treat instead of diet food. I will certainly make this again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Deanna's Butternut Squash Pasta

I tried and I tried, but I could not get a good photo out of this. So here is my post, sans photo. Oh well. I chose this recipe because I've been weakly attempting Weight Watchers and it's one I tried out for a dinner party a few weeks back. I liked it. It's very healthy with the whole grains and the full veggie serving in the squash. Plus, it kind of looks like mac and cheese. The ricotta adds a richness that tricks you into thinking you are not eating diet food and the walnuts add a little something extra. I definitely recommend it for someone looking for some comfort food on the healthy side :)

Now on to the questions...

Do you have any pet peeves?
I have WAY too many! Many of them have to do with table manners. Loud chewing or chewing with your mouth open, or talking with your mouth full. Those get me the worst.

Any other hobbies besides being an amazing cook?
I love to snowboard and play softball and I play the piano and love to travel.

What is your favorite summer activity?
I like to spend as much time at my parent's cabin as possible, heading out to Lake Alpine and floating all day on a raft in the water.

Are you a morning or a night person?
Not sure. I don't get up early, just early enough to make it to work. And I go to be early too. I guess I'm the type of person who loves my sleep and is most productive in the early afternoon.

Are you a go-go-go vacationer or a lie-on-the-beach vacationer?
Depends on the destination but mostly, I like to relax.

What is your favorite store?
Probably Urban Outfitters. If I had money to burn, I'd it burn there!

What is your favorite beverage?
If I'm splurging, it's going to be on a soy latte. I mostly just drink water though.

If you had to go back to school, what would your major be?
I really loved my major (Music), the classes, the department, the students. I don't think I'd change it, even though I've never found a job in the industry.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Melanie W.'s Veggie Burritos

This picture is nothing pretty, just all-natural goodness. Just how I like my food.

I think these were my first non-refried beans, non-meat burritos I've had. They had good flavor. I almost cut out the onion because I'm not a huge fan of a lot of onion, but glad I didn't because it really needs to be there. Without it there wouldn't be much substance to the filling. Not much else to say about them except for the fact that they got devoured!

(and after all this cooking this week my husband says to me "boy, you've sure been cooking a lot! It's been good!" Hope he doesn't expect me to always keep it up, ha!)

Melanie W.'s Creamy Shrimp Noodle Skillet

I made this tonight and it turned out better than expected! Maybe because I'm not a big shrimp eater, or maybe I thought the combination of ingredients sounded strange. But it was surprisingly yummy! And also super super easy to make, score! Like Cami had said (a super long time ago) she thought it would be too Velveeta-y, but it wasn't. It was just enought to add a nice flavor. I bet you could stir in some cheddar instead and it would be just as well.

Notes: I used less half and half - only 2 cups - because that was the size container I bought. I thought it was perfect and an easy way to cut out a little of the fat. Also, it calls for uncooked shrimp but I precooked the shrimp beforehand because I didn't think the 3 minutes given them to simmer in the sauce would cook them fully. I'm glad I precooked them first, it just made things come together easier in the end!

Melanie W.'s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I thought these things deserve the name "cakes" rather than "pies." The cookies were quite moist and soft and oh so thick! Pile two on top of each other and it's definitely a cake with the frosting in the middle. They were really yummy though. I halved the recipe because with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner I can't indulge myself too much too soon, right! I started making a large size then switched to making smaller and I should have just made them all small. They're the perfect snack size without feeling too guilty. :)

I forgot to add the vanilla to the cake mix (oops!) but don't think it really affected things too badly. Next time I think I would take it a bit easy on the spices. I thought it had too much cloves perhaps! Plus the cloves made mine look more brown than orange (though this picture makes them look nice and orange).

Melanie W.'s Winter-Vegetable Potpie

I really like making all these recipes because it gets me to try new things and plus I don't have to worry about thinking of something to make (I'm always saying 'uh-oh, what am I going to make for dinner tonight?') But it always seems hard for me to keep up with the recipes. There esp. are many recipes from the Baked book I haven't had a chance to try yet!

This past week I decided to play a little catch-up, so sorry for all the posts.

Here is my winter-vegetable potpie. My only complaint about this is the large amount of dirty dishes it created! Not having a dishwasher, I try to avoid piles of dirty dishes. But since it was yummy and hearty, I guess it was worth it. I used all the ingredients called for, and based on some of your reviews of parsnips I only used one but would have liked more because I hardly could taste a difference between them and the carrots. I forgot to "season generously with salt and pepper" so it lacked flavor but that is easily correctable! Overall, it was a hearty dish I could keep going back to.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

Good Morning Ladies!

Unfortunately Amy is sick and can't post this week, so I'm going to do it instead. The recipe is Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl on page 38. I haven't had the chance to make it yet but I will towards the end of the week when my family comes to visit! I have made sour cream coffee cakes in the past and they are moist and delicious so I expect great things from this recipe, especially with the chocolate cinnamon swirl.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Danielle's Pasta e Fagioli

No picture. Didn't feel like it today.

This was a very good dinner. We all enjoyed it, and it'll make good leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I made a vegetarian version and left out the sausage. I'm sure it would've tasted good with the sausage, but I liked it without.

Because I left out the meat, I used only half the tomato sauce and left out some of the V8. I left the spice amounts the same, though, and even added some extra basil. It was a good balance of flavor.

I have to admit, I liked this dish but it wasn't a home run for me or anything. There aren't that many Italian-style dishes that really do it for me. But it tasted good and was healthy, so I can appreciate that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cami's Veggie Burritos

I love how easy these are to make. I whipped them up last night in no time. They are quite tasty as well. As you can see Calder thought they were awesome. His favorite foods are cheese, avocado, black beans and tortillas so these are right up his alley.

The flavor is perfect. I love the onion and black bean insides. I also love the warm burrito with cool tomatoes and guacamole on top. I used orange bell pepper instead of red because I prefer the flavor. I somehow made large burritos and only ended up with 6. All well. I'll certainly make these again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Deanna's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

A little late, as in about 3 months late. Yeah, that's how long it's been since I've contributed to this blog. I feel like such a failure sometimes. I know we ALL have busy lives so I really have no excuse. I baked some pumpkin cupcakes recently and had tons of leftover pumpkin puree so I obviously had no excuse for skipping this recipe. I know I'm a week late in posting but that's better than nothing, right? For the spices, I didn't have ground cloves so I substituted in 1/2 tsp of All Spice and 1/2 tsp of Nutmeg since the cupcake recipe I used called for both of those and it was really good. I was also out of vegetable oil and I used canola oil in it's place. I'm not sure if the oil was a factor but my cookies just didn't look ANYTHING like the ones in the pictures or like the ones you lovely ladies posted. They were flat like pancakes, no rise. Oh well, they still tasted great. The cream cheese frosting was wonderful and will be my go-to for cream cheese frosting from now on.

I hope you ladies all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I wish you all luck with the holidays!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veggie Burritos

1 tbs olive oil
1 med onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (I use 1/2 tsp from a can)
1 tbs chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbs lime juice
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
flour tortillas
sour cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes or until golden. Add jalapeno pepper, chili powder, garlic, oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute more. Add 1 tbs water and stir; remove from heat. Stir in beans, corn, bell pepper and lime juice.

2. Spoon 2 tbs cheese in center of each tortilla and add filling. Fold all 4 sides around the filling to enclose. Place burritos seam side down on baking sheet. Makes about 8 soft taco size burritos. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

3. Cut up avacado and tomato, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, pepper and lime juice. Spread over the top, or instead just use salsa. Tastes good served with rice.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Whitney's Pasta E Fagioli Soup

Just wanted to give a shout out to Jess and say thanks for the yummy soup recipe. I didn't take a picture, but it was a great hearty meal and I did like it with the Italian Sausage. I made the whole batch and then froze half of it for later. p.s. Great suggestion to add the pasta to it as you eat, because you're right that it would make the leftovers less desirable (been there, done that).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cami's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I also generally like pumpkin desserts with cream cheese frosting. These did not disappoint. Mine were really really moist. I like that. Thanks to Whitney's advice I made mine smaller. I ended up with 22 whoopie pies and felt they were still large. I think next time I'll make them a little smaller still. I will definitely make these again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

LuAnn's makin' whoopie pies with pumpkin

Oh whoops...was that inappropriate? Couldn't resist.

I made these a few weeks ago so I'll just post about them. I got my pumpkin puree from a real live pumpkin rather than a can and per the link Danielle gave us they said to put foil over it to keep it moist. I did so and boy was it ever moist! I think I could have decreased the oil by 1/8 to 1/4 cup. I usually love pumpkin and I thought they tasted good, but I didn't really want more than a couple and the rest sat for a few days. I was hoping for better I guess.

I did sure love having pumpkin puree around, however. I put it in some of my whole wheat oatmeal pancakes, whipped up some homemade buttermilk syrup and it just might have been the best things I've eaten all month. I had 2 pumpkins after Halloween was over and I now have a stash of pumpkin puree in my freezer. Lucky me!

P.S. Can I indulge myself and mention how cute my little Jack is and that he loves "punkins." It's the funniest thing. He sees one and he must hold it, roll it around, and say "punkin, punkin, punkin." But, of course, he won't eat it. I love my little Punkin.

Danielle's Winter Pot Pie

This was a delicious dinner. We all liked it very much, and I appreciate any hearty, delicious, vegetarian meal. I used everything the recipe called for except mushrooms (I'm not a fan). I loved leeks last time I had them, so I was excited for an excuse to use them again. And parsnips are something I'd been wanting to try.

I have to admit, I didn't really like the flavor of the parsnips all that much. I thought they were pretty bitter. Max said he liked them though, and according to Wikipedia, parsnips are rich in vitamins and minerals and are a good source of fiber. So maybe I'll give them another shot sometime. I'll just have to sweeten them up or something.

The biscuit topping was delicious, and I imagine with all the vegetables this is a pretty healthy meal. I will definitely be making this again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Danielle's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

After not being able to find pumpkin anywhere here in Springfield, I thought I was in luck when I found some at a grocery store while I was in Seattle. So I stocked up and bought six cans. Turns out on the same day, Max's mom also found some at the Walmart back at home and stocked up with six cans. So I think I'm set on pumpkin for this season. :)

So the following week after returning from Seattle, I put the pumpkin to use and made these whoopie pies. I'm glad Whitney chose this recipe so I can post about it.

These were a little more moist and crumbly than I would prefer (they were easiest to eat with a fork instead of with hands), but they tasted great! I love pumpkin desserts with cream cheese frosting. Max doesn't usually like cream cheese frostings (crazy, I know), but even he liked these.

I agree with Whitney that I'll make them smaller next time. Just one of these was definitely all I could handle at one time. Bite-sized ones would be kind of fun. And it was definitely a huge recipe. I'll be halving it next time unless I'm feeding a lot of people.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Whitney's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This week's recipe is the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Is anyone sick of pumpkin yet? Hope not!

- Really yummy! Can't help but love these.
- I didn't have an ice cream size dropper, but I don't think that mattered.
- Needed to be baked for more like 12-15 minutes in my oven, but it depends on the size of the cookie.
- I did large, medium and small sizes and liked how they turned out, but I'm looking at the large size thinking, "who's gonna eat these? there's 2 cookies and they're huge!" If you do different sizes, remember to group them together on their own pans since the small ones cook faster.
- "Yields 12 whoopie pies" - please note that this means 12 HUGE ones ... maybe - next time I'll probably half the recipe and make them really small and tiny.
- For the larger ones, I ended up just putting frosting on the top, rather than make them into a sandwich.


Do you have any pet peeves? This one is weird, but I can't stand the sound of other people eating cold cereal - the clinking of the spoon and the slurping of the milk sounds just gross to me. I of course don't notice my own cold cereal noises. :)

Any other hobbies besides being an amazing cook? I like to run and am half way to my goal of 10 half marathons. I like any types of crafts and have most recently been designing birth announcements and holiday greeting cards in photoshop elements.

What is your favorite summer activity? Hot-air balloons on the 4th and fireworks

Are you a morning or a night person? I fall asleep during movies if we start them too late, so probably a morning person although I hate getting ready every day.

Are you a go-go-go sight-seeing kind of vacationer or lie-on-the-beach-all-day kind of vacationer? I'm go-go-go and have a hard time relaxing.

What is your favorite store? Costco

What is your favorite beverage? Fruit smoothies (my favorite includes pineapple juce, pineapple sherbert, frozen strawberries, bananas, plain yogurt, ice)

If you had to go back to school, what would your major be? I don't regret studying finance, I just would have taken more fun classes - like golf and photography.