Friday, September 30, 2016

Pumpkin Surprise Cups

I love surprising my kids with a nice treat after school.  These cute, delicious cups are super easy to put together and very tasty.  The fun part is that you can put anything you want in them, like chocolate kisses (of any kind), chocolate chips, caramel, marshmallows, etc.  It's fun to enjoy the little surprise in the middle of the pumpkin cup. :)  Enjoy!
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1 large egg
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin 
-1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 cup flour
-24 pieces of candy (chocolate kisses of any kind, caramels, chocolate chips, marshmallows, etc)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Coat a mini muffin pan with baking spray, the one with butter and flour.  Set aside.
In your electric mixer's bowl, cream the sugar and egg.  Add the pumpkin and mix well.  Slowly, add the melted butter. Give it a good stir, then add the salt, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and flour.  Mix well.
Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and immediately press a piece of the candy in the middle of each cup.  It will begin to melt immediately. :)  Cool the cups in the muffin tin for about 15 minutes.  Carefully remove each cup and place on wire rack until cooled completely.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pepper Jack Potato Soup

The soup is so delicious!  I love the combination of all the flavors, especially the little kick from the pepper jack cheese. Perfect for the colder days.  It's cheesy, filling and hearty.  Enjoy!
-3 strips of bacon
-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
-1 small onion, finely diced
-1 bell pepper, diced
-6 cups chicken broth
-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1/4 cup salted butter
-1/4 cup flour
-1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
-8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
-1/2 tsp white pepper
-1/2 tsp salt
Cut bacon into small strips.  Place in large sauce pan and fry until nice and crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop up the bacon from the pan onto a plate lined with paper towels.
Do NOT discard the bacon drippings.  Return the pan to the stove. Add the garlic, onion and pepper in the bacon grease. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until veggies are nice and soft.  Add the chicken broth and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter over low heat.  Whisk in the flour and until nice and smooth. Add the evaporated milk and give it a good stir. Add mixture to the soup.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until soup thickens a little. Add the cooked bacon and cheese  Give it a good stir. Season with white pepper and salt.  Stir, ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Quick and Easy Blackened Salmon

I just love cooking fish.  It doesn't take much time or a lot of fuss, and the results are delicious!  This is a very simple recipe, similar to how my mom used to cook it for us.  It goes perfect with a side dish like mashed potatoes or seasoned cheesy rice and some veggies.  Simple and delicious.  Enjoy!
-4 salmon filets, skin on
-5 Tbs vegetable oil
-1/2 Tbs smoked paprika
-1/2 Tbs cayenne
-1/2 tsp dried thyme
-1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
-1 tsp salt
Pat dry the salmon filets and set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano and salt.  Generously season the top of each salmon filet.
Once the oil is very hot (smoky), turn off the heat and add the season fish, flesh side down.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn the stove back on, on medium heat.  Continue cooking for a couple more minutes.  Carefully, flip the fish with the skin side down.  Cook for about 5 more minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hot Cheesy Sweet Onion Dip

One of our favorite things to do as a family, after a busy week, is to sit down and watch a good movie while munching on chips and dip.  I also love making new dips for us once in a while.  This is a new addition to our family and it quickly became a favorite.  It's sweet, oniony, creamy, cheesy, etc, etc.  It's so, so, so good that you'll have a hard time stopping to eat once you start!  YUM!  Enjoy!
-3 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
-2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1 tsp cayenne
-3 Tbs chopped chives, divided
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
In your food processor, add the cream cheese and onion.  Process until smooth.  Add the Parmesan, mayo, cayenne, 2 Tbs of the chives, salt and pepper.  Process until well combined and smooth.
Transfer mixture into an 8x8 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining chives and enjoy warm!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Raspberry-Cheesecake Cookies

These little cookies are like a bite of Heaven.  The dough is a beautiful mixture of butter and cream cheese.  I also used homemade raspberry preserves, which gave the cookies an even better flavor. They are fluffy, sweet, super delicious.  Enjoy!
-1/2 stick (8 Tbs) salted butter, at room temperature
-4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 1/4 cups flour
-about 1/4 cup raspberry preserves
In your electric mixer's bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and mix very well.  Add the flour and mix well.
Cover the bowl with wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Take the dough out of the fridge.  Scoop out a small piece of dough (about 2 Tbs each) and roll into a ball.  Place it on the prepared sheet and lightly press your thumb in the center.  Repeat with remaining dough. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 tsp raspberry preserves.
Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden around the edges.
Remove sheet from the oven and let cookies rest on it for 15 minutes.  Carefully, transfer cookies onto wire racks until completely cooled.  Enjoy!


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