Sunday, March 28, 2010

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin

We love pork tenderloin for dinner on Sundays. When I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats I knew that it was one that we needed to try.

We all really liked the sweetness of the sugar and cinnamon with the heat that followed it. We will be making this one again, probably with no changes whatsoever.

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin
6 servings

Spice Rub:
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2 1/2 lbs total)
2 Tbsp olive oil

1 /2 cup pack brown sugar
1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp

Preheat the oven too 350 degrees. Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork to blend. Pat the mixture over the pork tenderloins.

Heat the olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Place the tenderloins in the skillet and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove from heat, leaving the pork in the skillet.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl until blended. Spread the mixture evenly over the tops of the tenderloins.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 20 minutes, until and instant read thermometer inserted in the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees (I will only roast for 17-18 min next time). Loosely tent the skillet with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

It seems like Sundays are the one day of the week that I actually have time to cook something. Sometimes it's just dinner but sometimes, like yesterday, there is time to do something fun as well. Cookies are always a hit at our house, even though I grumble about making them, and now that Jeff is home Oatmeal Raisin cookies are back on the menu! I love them but Randy and Bri are not sure that the raisins are not poisonous...the big chickens. :)

This is a recipe I found on and have made several times. Part of its appeal is that it only makes 3 doz so it doesn't take as long but if I am being honest it's the spices that bring this one out again and again. I love the combination of cinnamon and cloves in just about anything; it smells like Christmas!

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
3 doz cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. chocolate chips (opt)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins.
3. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets
4. Bake 10-12 min or until golden brown. Don't overbake! Let the cookies cool slightly before removing from cookies sheets to cool completely.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars

I'm still on a quest to find the perfect bar cookie...this is pretty good. It received a unanimous "do again" from the family but I don't think that it's the ONE. It has a very moist, dense texture and the butterscotch chips are super yum. I like to eat them straight out of the bag...did I say that out loud??

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 c. all purpose flour
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. butterscotch chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Stir together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachement, beat together the butter and sugar on Med/High until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and 1 cup butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and sprinke remaining 1/2 cup butterscotch chips over the top of the batter. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35 minutes. Cool pan on wire rack. Let cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the things that taste the best aren't necessarily the most attractive foods you've ever seen? That's the case with this recipe. Add that to the fact that I'm still clueless with the camera and you've got the less than stellar photo in this post. Luckily the actual recipe itself is totally stellar! It's super easy to throw in your crock pot on your way out the door in the morning and then it's magically done when you come home after work. You can serve this over either the traditional noodles or rice, my family prefers the rice.

Beef Stroganoff
8 servings

3.5 lb chuck roast
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup (I use 98% fat free)
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup mix
1/4 c. red wine (you can sub beef broth or water for this if you like)
1/2 c. sour cream

1. Spray crock with non stick spray. (I can't believe how much easier it is to clean up if you remember this step!)
2. Put meat, soup, dried soup mix and wine in crock pot. Cover and cook for 8 hours on HIGH.
3. Remove meat when it's tender and falling apart. Shred or cut into bite sized pieces.
4. Add sour cream and mix meat back into gravy.
5. Serve over noodles or rice.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Blondies are almost as hot at cupcakes at the moment. It seems like no matter where I look on the internet someone has a new blondie recipe. Because I'm "anti stand there and portion out cookies a dozen at a time" the whole bar cookies concept really appeals to me. However, taking that stance has up until now excluded some of my favorite flavors from our treat rotation.

As a kid snickerdoodles were my favorite cookies. I loved the sparkly, crispy, cinnamon sugar outside and the soft, not too sweet middles. I wasn't patient enough though to actually make a whole batch with the rolling them into balls and then rolling each ball into the cinnamon sugar. That hasn't really changed!

I saw this recipe at and knew that I had to try it. I did really like the ease of preparation and the bars were good made as the recipe directed but I think if I do it again I will make a cinnamon vanilla glaze and drizzle it all over. Not only would that be pretty but I think that it would be the perfect finish.

Snickerdoodle Blondies
20-24 bars

2 2/3 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnmon, nutmeg, cream of tartar, and salt; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar with a mixer. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Keep beating until mixture is smooth.
4. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. The batter will be thick. Spread it evenly into the prepared pan. Spray your hands with cooking spray and use them to pat the mixture down evenly.
5. Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly on top of batter.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Let pan cool completely.
7. If using a glaze, drizzle it onto the surface of bars and let harden before you cut into them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chicken Taco Soup

I love soup. I could eat it every day and not get tired of it. There are so many different kinds that I worry that I'm going to miss some in my quest to try them all....and then I come back to my senses and admit that I'm slightly nuts.

This is my "Go To" soup when I am watching what I eat. It's hearty enough that I am full when I'm done but it doesn't taste at all "diety". In fact, everytime I've taken this soup to a pot luck I've handed out the recipe later because it's so good.

There are many variations of Taco Soup out there. Some have ground beef, some are meatless, this has chicken because I like to be able to pull a package of cooked chicken out of the freezer and go. It depends on what kind of beans I have in the pantry, sometimes I only use kidney beans but my favorite is the 3 bean mix. Whatever you like is great. If you aren't a fan of spice you can lower the heat level by using regular canned tomatoes and just the diced green chilies. It really is the perfect recipe!!!

Chicken Taco Soup
10 servings

1 lb chicken, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces (canned works too)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomatoes with green chilies or RoTel
8 oz tomato sauce
4 oz diced green chilies
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
2 cups frozen corn
3 T. taco seasoning (1 pkt)
3 T. Ranch dressing (the dry mix kind)

In a large pot or Dutch oven mix chicken, tomatoes, chilies, and tomato sauce. Rinse the beans well under running water and add to pot. Bring to a bubble and add the taco seasoning, ranch dressing and corn. Stir well and add water until it's the consistency you like. I usually add about 1 cup.

Let simmer for 20 min. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza

It's been a crazy week or so getting ready for Jeff's return from Madagascar and I feel like we've eaten more pizza in the past 10 days than we have in 10 months, probably because we have. We've had drive thru pizza, delivery pizza, and fundraiser pizza but the best pizza by far was this Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza that was thrown together from things in the pantry and freezer.  (Yes, I know that the picture is terrible but what can I say?)

The crust was made from half a recipe of the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day "Boule" recipe. This book has been worth its weight in gold; the dough is easy, consistent and best of all versatile. By halving the original recipe I had enough dough to make either 2 pizzas or 1 pizza and a half a doz breadsticks, just enough for our little family.

The toppings are just things I had in the freezer and pantry. Originally I wanted pepperoni but when I discovered that I had imagined that package of pepperoni and found a half full pouch of chopped ham instead I improvised. Bottled Alfredo sauce and some frozen grilled chicken just begged to become something cordon bleu. I really  like pasta with those flavors so how bad could pizza be??

It turned out very tasty and is something that I will do again. Even picky Bri ate it and liked it! Super easy!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza
8 servings
1 1/2 c warm water
1 T. yeast
1 T. kosher salt
3 1/4 c. all purpose flour

Mix the water, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Don't stress about getting it all dissolved. Add flour and quickly mix together until a shaggy dough is formed. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes. Remove from bowl and knead together a couple of times. Divide into two balls. Use one for pizza crust and the other for breadsticks.

Press the dough out onto a baking pan; let rest for a few minutes. You can partially bake the dough at this point if you are making a thicker crust, I usually do a fairly thin crust and skip this step.

1/2 c. Alfredo sauce
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts grilled and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
chopped green onions, opt.

Spread Alfredo sauce onto pizza crust. Top with chicken, ham and cheese. Bake in 450 degree oven for 20 min or until crust is crusty and golden brown. Garnish with chopped green onions if desired.

Cal: 246, Fat: 10 g, Fiber: 1 g