Monday, September 22, 2008

Pear-Walnut Muffins

1 c. flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/8 t. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 t. vanilla
1 pear finely chopped
3 T. finely chopped walnuts
2 T. brown sugar

Stir together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In a bowl beat egg; stir in oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Add all at once to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in pear.

Lightly grease twelve muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; fill two-thirds full. For topping, combine walnuts and the 2 tablespoons brown sugar; sprinkle onto batter in cups. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Eclair Cake

The. Most. Delicious. Dessert. Ever. I got this recipe from a roommate my freshman year of college and have probably made it 50 times. Don't be afraid of the "from scratch" crust, this is easy to make and worth every minute.

1 stick margarine
1 c. water
1/2 t. salt
1 c. flour
4 eggs

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 small packages french vanilla pudding
3 c. milk

1 container whipped topping
chocolate syrup (see recipe below)

In a medium saucepan, bring water, margarine and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in flour. Add eggs, beating between each. Spread batter on a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Prick bubbles with a fork every 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese with pudding and milk. Lumps will remain. Spread filling over cooled crust. Spread whipped topping on filling. Drizzle with chocolate syrup just before serving.

Chocolate Syrup
Eclair cake is the only thing I use chocolate syrup for, so I make my own. It's quick and easy.
1/3 c. cocoa
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
Boil for 2-5 minutes

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quick Chocolate Pudding

This recipe is from More-With-Less, a Mennonite Cookbook. If you are a chocolate pudding lover, you've got to try this. It is so fast and easy and it's much more delicious and cheaper than store-bought pudding mixes (even store brand).

2 T. cornstarch
2 T. cocoa powder
1/3 c. sugar
2 cups cold milk
1 t. vanilla

Combine first three ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk in cold milk. Cook, stirring, over low heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

I use skim milk to make this and it isn't as thick as you're used to. The deliciousness makes up for this fact, but if you want your pudding thicker you can:
  • Use milk with more fat in it.
  • Wait for it to cool before eating it.
  • Stir in the optional 1/4 c. peanut butter. It's good with the peanut butter, but I prefer it without.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cheesy Chicken and Pasta Skillet

I was inspired by my Kraft Food & Family magazine I got yesterday, and immediately tried a recipe from it for dinner. It was so fast and easy to make, and all three of us loved it. Here it is with my changes (more veggies, less meat).

2 c. uncooked whole wheat pasta
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 c. salsa
1 1/2 c. sliced bell peppers
1 can corn
1 c. shredded cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook chicken for 2 minutes in skillet. Add salsa, peppers and corn to skillet. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Mix and sprinkle with cheese. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 minute to melt cheese.

Aunt Pat's Peach Jam

John likes Aunt Pat's jam, because it is blended and not chunky at all. Here's her recipe - makes 6 half pints.

4 cups chopped peaches, blend in blender until smoothie consistency
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 package pectin
Cook until boiling hard, stirring constantly.

6 cups sugar
Add all at once and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Layered Caribbean Chicken Salad

I made this salad to show off my new trifle bowl from Pampered Chef. I got the recipe from Betty Crocker, but made a few changes. This salad is full of John's favorite ingredients and he loves it.

1 container piƱa colada yogurt
1 1/2 to 2 T. lime juice
1 t. Caribbean jerk seasoning

3 c. spinach leaves
2 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 1/2 c.diced mango
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions (8 medium)
1/2 c. cashews

1. In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients until well blended.
2. In 3- or 4-quart clear glass serving bowl, layer salad ingredients in order listed, except cashews. Spoon dressing evenly over salad; sprinkle cashews over top.