Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Bread - makes 2 loaves!


Arcadia - pond

Arcadia - picnic table

Arcadia - lone leaf

I have a favorite month.

It's October. That shouldn't come as a shock to most of you who know me. I love October for all sorts of reason. I celebrate my anniversary, one of my son's birthdays, my Dad's birthday and several relatives birthday in October. I wait every year to take vacation in October. It's stunningly beautiful here in Rhode Island.

It rains color here. It drips magic from the trees. Every ordinary road is brought to life, every sidewalk is a kaleidoscope of yellows and reds and orange. It just makes everything better and more beautiful.

It brings to life the baker in me.

Give me something to stir or mix or to add chocolate chips in and I'm a happy camper. Let me warm my kitchen with the oven. Let me hear the boys come tumbling down the stairs asking "what's that smell?" and then "when can we eat it?".

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Bread 1


For me it's what I hope memories are made of. I hope they always remember me in the kitchen and lots of good stuff coming from the oven.

This Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Bread is some good stuff. This recipe makes 2 loaves, so you can keep one and spread the Autumn love by sharing the other.


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Bread


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Bread - makes two loaves!
slightly adapted from a recipe at Your Cup of Cakes
Printable recipe
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 eggs
1 cup applesauce
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips.

Cream Cheese Filling:
12 oz. cream cheese (1 block and one ½ block), room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 Tablespoon milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 loaf pans. I always line mine with parchment too, but you don’t have it. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, milk, vanilla extract and sugar.

In a separate bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mix and fold in until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

For the filling: Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and milk together until smooth.

Pour about 2 inches of batter into the bottom of both loaf pans, spread to cover the bottom. Spoon the cream cheese filling over the batter and gently spread it on top. Take a butter knife and swirl the cream cheese mixture into the bottom batter. Top each pan with the remaining batter. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips if you’d like. Bake for 60-80 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Honey BBQ Sticky Wings

Honey BBQ Wings

It's was blustery and chilly over the weekend. The leaves were flying like snow in the yard. It was just the kind of weekend I love. Every time the back door opened I'd have a pile of leaves in the breezeway. I love that I need to wear my socks in the house now and that it gets just chilly enough for me to have to put on a sweater and dig out my slippers. I was made for this weather.

This is my favorite time of year to cook and bake too. Who wants to turn the oven on in the summer? Not me. This time of year it warms the kitchen up nicely. Makes me happy.

I make wings yesterday. Football food. There will be a lot of football food heading your way. There is something deeply satisfying about a big ole pan of wings. My guys love them. I'm not as big of a wings fan as they are. I don't do spicy so the whole buffalo wings thing is lost on me. I do like the sticky, gooey wings though.

I loved these wings. I made up the recipe on a whim. Looking at a few recipes on the internet and then giving them my own spin. I didn't want anything complicated. I just wanted some "gooey I need 3 or 4 napkins to eat these" kinda wings and that's what I got!

This is a very simple recipe. The hardest part was waiting for the wings to cool enough to eat them!!

Honey BBQ Wings 2

Honey BBQ Sticky Wings
recipe from Lisa @The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Printable recipe
4 pounds of wings
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (we like Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons ketchup

Oven to 375. On a parchment or foil lined baking sheet bake the wings for 25 - 35 minutes, or until wings are cooked through and juices run clear. Turn the oven up to 400.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl (you want a large bowl to toss them around in). Toss a few wings at a time in the bowl and coat them with the sauce. Return them to the oven for 5 - 10 more minutes or until they are bubbly and crispy. I turned on the broiler for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Devour!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Apple Fritter Cake

Apple Fritter Cake 2

Look at me. I go from being a bad blogger to a blogger who is posting during her vacation. Pretty good huh? We are on vacation this. We just took the week off to work around the house, get the yard prepped for winter, plant the garlic, get everything in storage before the snow comes. It's a yearly event and it's not that much fun but being home and doing it during the middle of the week makes it a little easier.

We haven't been all work and no play, no sirree. We had a birthday party for my youngest son who turned 18. *sniff*. Where have the years gone? We did some Christmas shopping and we even took it easy and lazied about a bit. I've been doing a lot of cooking at baking. My word, if I was home everyday I think everyone in the house would pack on the pounds. I just can't stop! I am over the moon to share this recipe with you all.

This cake, this cake, this cake! I haven't been this excited about a cake in a long time.

I was browsing Pinterest looking for a different apple recipe and I came across this beauty. It just sounded good. The best part...it tasted even better. My mother-in-law made it and my father-in-law upon first bite declared it "the best cake he's ever had". My friend had a piece and after the first bite she was oooing and ahhh-ing. It is that good!

This cake is amazing! Like, I want to make it every week amazing! The moist soft cake, the sweet apples, that glaze! I really can't say enough about it. I already know it's going to be my go-to cake. AMAZING!

I only adapted it very slightly from the original. I added in some pure maple syrup to the glaze and it just sent it over the top. Apple and maple are just a perfect combination, but if you'd prefer it without the maple, just add in another 2 tablespoons of milk.

I'm adding this to my "must make" list for Thanksgiving!

Apple Fritter Cake
slightly adapted from The Domestic Doozie
Printable recipe
For the batter:
3 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted

6 small or 4 large apples cored, peeled and diced into small pieces

For the topping:
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the glaze:
2 cups of powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon. vanilla

Start by mixing all the ingredients for the batter (except the butter) together in a bowl. Once combined, carefully pour in the melted butter. If you do this part with your mixer at a high speed it will splash everywhere. So slow is best. Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 pan, any smaller and it will overflow while baking. Evenly distribute the apples over the top of the batter.

In a separate bowl mix together the topping, it will be thick so do your best to drop scoops of it evenly over the apples. I just plopped them all over the top of the apples. It will spread while it bakes.

Bake at 350 for 40 - 45 minutes. You want the apples to become tender and the cake to get golden brown. If the top is getting too brown you can always tent it with foil. Once baked let sit for 20 minutes and then pour the glaze all over the cake.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Easy Enchilada Casserole



I had a hankering for Mexican. That doesn’t happen very often with me. I’m not really into Mexican food. Maybe it’s because I’m such a wuss when it comes to heat. I can barely handle the mild sauces so imagine me ordering at a Mexican restaurant….”no sauce please cause even your mild is too hot for me”. Yes I’m baby when it comes to heat. I can handle mild enchilada sauce though and I even had a can in my cupboard so I decided to whip this up for dinner.

Let me tell you, there are loads of Enchilada casseroles all over the Internet. Loads I tell ya. I looked a few over and decided that I could just whip up my own. So that’s what I did.

I made this very basic because I have a picky eater at home. You can certainly add in whatever you like….black olives, green chilies, beans, etc. The next time I make this I might have to make sure Evan isn’t home to eat it so I can be a bit more adventurous.

I didn’t measure out most of the ingredients. I just eyed the sour cream. Just dollop it over the top so you get some bites with a bit of sour cream in them.




I think frying the tortillas makes them a little less “gummy” in the oven. You can certainly just use them without frying them first if you’d like.

The four of us ate ¾ of the pan. It was that good.

This would make great football food. We ate ours while watching football. That’s why I said that, lol. Throw it all together the night before and pop it in the oven before the game.




Easy Enchilada Casserole
recipe from Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Printable recipe
6 medium tortillas
2 pounds ground beef.
1 medium onion, diced
Enchilada sauce (I bought the large can)
Sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Vegetable or Canola oil for frying tortillas

Oven to 350º F.

Heat up a little oil in the bottom of a skillet. Place the tortillas in the pan one at a time and fry until brown and bubbly on each side. You may have to add a little more oil to the pan with each tortilla to prevent them from sticking. Move to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.

Place the diced onion in the same pan and cool until just translucent. Add in the ground beef and cook until done. Drain the grease. Set aside.

Pour an even layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan, making sure the enchilada sauce coats the entire bottom of the pan. Place 2 tortillas in the bottom of the pan. Cut the 3rd tortilla in half and use the pieces to cover the bottom as best as you can. It doesn’t have to look pretty.

Add a layer of ground beef and top with dollops of sour cream. Sprinkle with one cup of cheese.

Add a second layer, cover the tortillas with the rest of the enchilada sauce and continue to layer with the ground beef and sour cream. The top layer should be shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes – 40 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Trisha Yearwood's Skillet Apple Pie




I'm totally into my fall geekery mode.

I love this season. LOVE it. I'm all about the pumpkin and the apples. I'm headed out this weekend to pick apples, so I thought I'd post this recipe that doesn't use said apples that I will be picking! Ha! What is wrong with me? I'll tell ya what....I'm crazy for apple pie.

Most of you who have read this blog for any amount of time know I have a pie sickness. I love PIE. This pie does not use fresh apples. It uses canned apple pie filling. Yes, I said it. Canned. Pie. Filling. and it's glorious!

So say you used up all the apples you picked and you really want pie. You have a hankering, a craving for pie. You don't have the time to CUT UP APPLES! You just don't. You want some pie and you want it fast. Your troubles are solved. Let me introduce you to this baby.....

SKILLET APPLE PIE.

It's a thing of beauty isn't it? Yes, you need a cast iron skillet to make this. If you don't already own a cast iron skillet and urge you to purchase one. It's the work horse of my kitchen. A 9 inch cast iron, pre-seasoned skillet like this one will run you under $20.

This pie was so good that I almost didn't get a picture of it with the filling showing. My boys were trying to dig into it again. I had to snatch it up and quickly grab a photo.

I cut the amount of butter and brown sugar that was in the original recipe and I didn't add the cinnamon whipped topping that was in the original recipe either. It didn't need it, but I wouldn't stop you from putting a big ole scoop of vanilla ice cream on this.




Trisha Yearwood’s Skillet Apple Pie
adapted from a Trisha Yearwood recipe
Printable recipe
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts, such as Pillsbury
One 21-ounce can apple pie filling
2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
1 tablespoon for melted butter for top.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and melt them together on medium heat, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat then line the skillet with one of the pie crusts. Pour the apple pie filling over the crust and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar. Use the second pie crust to cover the filling. Brush the top with the 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, then evenly sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar on top. Cut vents in the middle of the pie. Bake for 30 - 35  minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chicken Terrific

Chicken Fantastic

Wow, I've done it again! I've been a slacker with the blog. Sorry! This time I was on vacation. My in-laws visited and we just had the most wonderful time. There stay was too short, but we enjoyed every day of it.

They brought me the most precious gift too. One I want to share with you. More on that in a bit!

I'm so excited that Fall is finally here. It's my most favorite time of year to cook and bake. I'm giddy with all the great recipes I have in store for you all.

First, this casserole. Let me tell you, when I was making this I was thinking to myself..."this doesn't look very good".  I know it was called Chicken Terrific, but it wasn't looking so terrific. It was kinda a goopy and beige looking. I was hoping I just hadn't wasted all these ingredients on something that no one was going to eat. I really had my doubts, but this was really good. I was waiting with anticipation while my crew took their first bites and they all really loved it.

It's throw it all in a bowl and mix it together kind of recipe. If you are against "cream of" soup recipes, then stop right here. There are two can's of "cream of" in this and boxed stuffing mix! Blasphemy! I use them. I know some others poo-poo their noses up at them, but not me. I'm a busy working mom and I'll take shortcuts when I can.

I varied this from the original recipe just a bit. I added more chicken and omitted the water chestnuts, pimento and onions. You can leave them in or take them out or substitute them. This is a very forgiving recipe.

Chicken Fantastic 1

Now back to the great gift I got from my in-laws. My mother-in-law had asked me and my mom for a hand written recipe quite awhile back. She had mentioned something about Flickr books and I honestly thought that I was going to get some kind of a personalized recipe book from her, but what I got was so much more special. I got this:

Cutting board

A beautiful cutting board with my mother's recipe on one side and mine on the other, in our own handwriting! How crazy wonderful is that?

Cutting board 1

It's an instant heirloom I tell ya. Wouldn't this make a terrific gift for Christmas? If you've got old recipes from your mom, or your grand mom wouldn't this be a terrific present to pass down? I just LOVE it! Thank you again Mom! You always pick the best gifts! Here is a link to the store - Sister Specialty Shop.


Chicken Terrific
Original recipe from Cooking with K
Printable recipe
3 cups cooked chicken, diced (I used 4 cups which was the meat from one rotisserie chicken)
1 (6 1/2 oz.) pkg. wild rice
1 (2 oz.) jar pimento, diced (I omitted)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup minced onion(I omitted)
1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped (optional, I omitted)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 16oz can French green beans, drained
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated

Stuffing Topping
1 box of herb seasoned Stove Top Stuffing
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all the ingredients and place in a 9 x 13 dish. Top with cheese.

Combine Stuffing and butter, mix thoroughly. Sprinkle on top of the chicken mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

German Chocolate Zucchini Bread




Are you sick of zucchini?

Do you have too many? Is your garden mass producing? Are you pawning them off on your friends and neighbors? Are you bringing them to work just to get rid of them?

You need to use them up right? You can't let them go to waste. You need an idea? You need to find a delicious way to use up all that green goodness. Well I have the solution.

German Chocolate Zucchini a Bread. Yes, you read that right.

It's like German Chocolate Cake and Zucchini bread had a most moist and perfect loaf of scrumptiousness.

I really need to let you know how incredibly moist this bread was. I have a hard time calling it a bread, it's really more cake like, and it makes 2 loaves! 2 loaves! One to eat and one to share, or you can just hoard them both for yourself. Trust me, you will want too!

If you don't want to make tie in a loaf pan, you can make this in a 9x13 or a bundt pan. Very versatile!

It's my new favorite way to use zucchini! Make it!

You can also try my Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Equally delicious!




German Chocolate Zucchini Bread
adapted from a recipe at The Better Baker
Printable recipe
Makes 2 loaves
4 eggs
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil or applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup baking 4-serving size cocoa
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
3 cups grated zucchini, peeled or unpeeled
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour 2 loaf pans (I use Baker’s Joy). This recipe can also be make using use a 9" X 13" or a large Bundt pan.

In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar and oil with an electric mixer. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine. Add all the ingredients into another bowl and combine (a whisk works well). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, a little at a time, until well blended.

Stir in zucchini, nuts and coconut. If you’d like you can save a little of the nuts/coconut and sprinkle them over the top before baking.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30 - 50 minutes, depending on which pan you're using. Just check with a toothpick stuck in the middle - if it comes out clean, remove bread from oven, but be careful not to over bake. I used 2 loaf pans and it took 55 minutes to test done. Let stand in pans for 5 - 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks until room temperature.