Sunday, October 26, 2008

Frankenstein's Monster's Toes

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
7 drops neon green food color
36 whole blanched almonds
1/2 tsp red food color

Stir cookie mix, flour, melted butter, egg, almond extract & green food color until soft dough forms. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour
Place almonds & red food color in resealable plastic bag; shake bag until almonds are evenly coated with food color. Place on paper plate & waxed paper to dry. Set aside
Heat oven to 375, for each cookie, roll heaping tsp of dough into 2 1/2-inch finger shape, place on cookie sheet
Press almond, colored side up, into one end of each "toe" to look like toenail. About 1 inch from each end of "toe", squeeze dough slightly with knife, gently make lines in dough to look like knuckles.
Bake 6-8 min (cookies should not brown on edges)

Super cute and fun!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcakes

· 3 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
· 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 3/4 teaspoon salt
· 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
· 3/4 cup vegetable oil
· 1/2 cup buttermilk
· 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
· 4 eggs
· Frosting:
· 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
· 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
· 1 box (16 ounces) confectioner's sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
· Orange food coloring
· Fine and coarse orange decorating sugar
· Pretzel sticks or rods
· Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12 mini cupcake pan indents and 12 regular indents with foil or paper liners. Line 6 jumbo cupcake indents with foil or paper liners.
· For cupcakes: In a medium-size bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together until well blended; set aside.
· Beat sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, pumpkin puree and eggs in a large bowl on low speed for 2 minutes or until combined. Add flour mixture and beat for 2 more minutes or until just combined.
· Divide among liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
· Bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes for the minis, 18 minutes for the regulars and 26 minutes for the jumbos, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
· For frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl on high for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla and milk and beat until smooth and a good spreading consistency, 2 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of milk if mixture is too thick.
· Divide the frosting into two bowls and tint to different shades of orange with food coloring. Mound the frosting on top of cupcakes and make rounded. Roll the entire cupcake in the sugar to coat or roll just edges in sugar, alternating between fine and corase sugars as desired. To make indentations, press a wooden skewer on top of the sugared cupcake. Add pretzel sticks or rods as stems.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Easy Doughnuts!

Grands Biscuits (I used Home style)
Powdered sugar frosting (1tsp butter, 1 TBL milk, 2 cups powdered sugar)
Halloween or Fall Sprinkles

Heat oil on stove top. Cut out center of Grands Biscuits with a water bottle lid. Fry dough in oil. DECORATE!
My kids loved to make these...super yummy and easy!

Worlds Easiest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box of Spice Cake Mix (do NOT add oil, eggs, and water)
1 can of pumpkin (small can)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix cake mix and pumpkin together and fold in chocolate chips. Scoop on to cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes...doesn't get much easier than that. Come on 3 ingredients! And they are super delicious!

Posted by Kyle originally in April '08

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Chewy Spider Sandwich Cookies

1 Pkg Devils food cake mix

1/4 C. Flour

2 Eggs

1/2 C. Oil

Mix and form into balls, bake @ 350 for 9-11 minutes.

Drop pan on counter to flatten cookies,

Once cooled, frost with orange frosting between 2 cookies. Put licorice strings between for legs and add mini m&m's, red hots or frosting dots for eyes. You can also use Oreo's (but these are so much more yummy)

Pumpkin Cookies

4 cups flour
2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c butter
or margarine, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 5 ingredients, set aside. Cream butter and sugars together, beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in choc. chips. For each cookie, drop by 1/4 cup onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Cool completely. Decorate with icing (I like cream cheese frosting!) and assorted candies. Makes approx. 3 dozen large cookies (great for visiting teaching or to "boo" friends!)

Posted by Amy Gray

Recipe Assignment:

Everyday Italian-

Authentic or not… as long as it’s delicious.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meatball Sandwiches

I got this recipe from Melissa Gargalis, and love it!

2 slightly beaten eggs
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb. bulk Italian pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup water
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 8-oz can tomato paste

2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp parsley flakes, crushed
8 french rolls

Combine eggs, milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper; add ground beef and mix well. Form into twenty-four 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Brown in hot skillet.

Remove meatballs from skillet. Add sausage, onion, and green pepper; cook till sausage is browned. Drain off excess fat.

Add water, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, garlic salt, oregano, and parsley flakes. Return meatballs to skillet. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Remove top crust from rolls; hollow out, leaving a 1/4 inch wall. To serve, fill rolls with 3 meatballs each and some sauce. Makes 8 sandwiches.


16 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten (add salt/pepper to taste)
2 cups grated jack cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Prego)
1 box manicotti shells (quantity 14)

Boil manicotti shells per package directions until al dente. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 13X 9 pan. Mix cheeses and egg together, stuff mixture into manicotti shells. Place side by side in dish, cover with remaining spaghetti sauce. Cover with foil, bake 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

**Better for you version (tastes pretty much the same)
Reduce cheese by 1 cup, mix in one 10 oz package of frozen spinach (thawed and drained) instead.

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion
1 can tomato sauce
½ can or small can tomato juice
1 small can tomato paste
1 fresh tomato or ½ canned tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
½ c. ketchup
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Chop the onion and tomato (I skin the tomato and then chop). Brown hamburger with onion and then add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Simmer for 30 min. or longer. Serve with spaghetti noodles. (we prefer angel hair pasta and serve it with that). This sauce is super nummy. We take what sauce and noodles are leftover and mix them to have as leftovers, it makes great leftovers. So if your feeling like you want something better than good old prego or ragu you have to try this, we love it!

Giada De Laurentiis's Lasagna Rolls

I saw Giada make this recipe on Everyday Italian a few years back and thought it looked good. So, I went to and printed up the recipe and made it. We loved it! I just wanted to give credit where credit is due, I tried to put a link to the recipe, but it no longer is on the food network website. So, here it is.

Béchamel Sauce:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ c. whole milk
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

1 (15 oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese (I use skim all the time, the whole milk ricotta is hard to find)
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
¾ tsp. salt, plus more for salting water
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marina sauce (I use Giada’s homemade marinara sauce, which I’ll include in the recipe below, and I use more than 2 cups because I like more marinara in it)
1 c. shredded mozzarella (about 4 oz.)

To make béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the salt, pepper and nutmeg into the béchamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 pan and pour the béchamel sauce all over the bottom.

Whisk (or stir, I just stir with a wooden spoon) the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but sill firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking. Spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Start at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna roll seam side down, without touching the other rolls, atop the béchamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marina sauce (I use more) over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

Giada De Laurentiis’s Homemade Marina Sauce

½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 (32 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot (or any large pot, I don’t have a casserole pot), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots and salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leafs. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using. Can also be frozen.)

Penne Pasta with Chicken

Penne Pasta with Chicken
½ to 1 sliced bacon
½ c. sliced almonds, toasted
4 c. uncooked penne pasta
2-6 cloves garlic
1 lb fresh spinach
½ c. chopped fresh basil
1 ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 c. grated monterey jack cheese
3 cooked chicken breasts, cubed

Fry bacon until crisp, then crumble & set aside.
Cook the pasta.
Add garlic, spinach, & basil to bacon fat, cook until tender.
In a separate bowl, mix the mustard & vinegar.
Put the pasta in a large serving bowl, add the cheese and toss until it melts. Add spinach mixture, bacon, & chicken. Pour on the vinegar & mustard, toss & top with almonds.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Spinach-and-Cheese Casserole

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 75 minutes
Serves: 8
Cooking spray
4 eggs
2/3 cup flour
Two 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (you can dump the spinach into a dish cloth and twist it to quickly squeeze out all the water)
24-oz container low-fat cottage cheese
3 cups grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Salt, to taste (I used garlic salt and pepper. Nutmeg is also a nice addition.)

1. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with flour until smooth. (I beat the eggs until they were light and frothy before adding the flour.)
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to blend. Spoon into prepared dish and bake, or cover and refrigerate.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 75 minutes.

TIP: To prep and bake the day before, shorten oven time by 10 minutes. Cool, wrap, and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, checking at 10-minute intervals, until heated through.

Tortellini Soup

This is a recipe from Parenting Magazine a few years back... we all like it, and I feel like it has some much needed nutritional value to it.

Cooking spray
½ large sweet red pepper, chopped
½ cup diced baby carrots (about 8)
4 cups chicken broth
¼ tsp. garlic powder
9 oz package cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen
3 cups baby spinach (about half a 5 oz bag), stems removed

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven coated with cooking spray, sauté chopped pepper and carrots over medium high heat for 5 minutes, or until tender.
2. Add broth and garlic powder; raise heat and boil about 5 minutes; add tortellini. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 7 minutes (9 or 10 if using frozen pasta), or until tender. Add spinach, stir until wilted, and serve.

Crock Pot Chicken Alfredo

3-4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Cube Butter
1 envelope Good Seasonings Italian Dressing Mix

Place above ingredients in crock pot for 3-4 hours on low setting.

Shred chicken, replace.

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
8 oz chream cheese
Optional: Add 1 can of mushrooms

Cook until melted, serve over angel hair pasta

Baked Ziti

Your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 box ziti pasta, cooked
1 lb. Ground sausage, or beef
1 Can diced tomatoes
8 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
Season to taste with basil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Rosemary

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Brown meat, and then add onion to sauté. Mix pasta, meat, onions, tomatoes, spices and ricotta cheese in a medium bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In 8 x 12 baking dish, prepare bottom with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Dump contents of bowl over sauce. Lay mozzarella cheese on top, drizzle with 2 T. spaghetti sauce to keep cheese from burning. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, remove foil and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Kid Friendly Chicken Pizzas

These are so easy and my kids actually eat them, which is miraculous.

Breaded chicken patties
Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
Fresh, Gourmet Mozzarella, sliced in small chunks

Cook according to package, remove halfway, flip, then add sauce and cheese. (You can substitute with shredded mozz. cheese).

For kids cut into four "pizza slices." For adults serve alongside a salad.

Recipe Assignment:

Recipe Assignment:

Homemade Pizza… sure it’s a lot of work, and Papa Johns is only seven digits away from delivery, but the process is so much more fun, especially when the kids are involved.