Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halloween Sugar Cookies!

Making sugar cookies is quickly becoming a family holiday tradition for us. This year my daughter Samantha was able to get in on more of the process of rolling and cutting out the cookies. It was a complete blast and we were both covered in flour, she had it in her hair, on her face, and all over her clothes. To say we had fun is a complete understatement and I'm already looking forward to us making her teachers Christmas cookies.

We chose not decorate the cookies with frosting to save time and a few calories, which has not reduced the joy Sammie has when she gets to eat a cookie she got to help make.

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups whit sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs adn vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 400º F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on undgreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely. (I actually had to cook mine for ten minutes to be able to scoop them off the cookie sheet.)Sig

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Here's a recipe from Cooking Light and this is not the first time I've fixed this recipe. I actually fixed this recipe a few years ago when I did not have this blog. The first time I fixed it we loved it and I've made it a couple of times since, but since having our dear daughter we have not had the time for more involved meals. That is slowing starting to change, Sammie is slowly becoming more independent and has begun with the independent play. Which opens up time for meals that are a little more involved. The recipe claims to be a 30 minute meal from start to finish, but the first time I fixed it I ran a little longer and with practice I was doing it in 30 minutes. This makes it a great weeknight meal for this fall and winter, but it is a bit heavy in calories at 614 for a serving.

4 skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups cooked spaghetti
3 cups Pasta Sauce
1 cup pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
2. combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 chicken breast half in flour. Dip in egg whites; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, flour, egg whites, and breadcrumb mixture.
3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done.
4. Preheat broiler.
5. Place 1 cup spaghetti in each of 4 gratin dishes. Spoon 1/2 cup Pasta sauce over each serving. Top each with 1 chicken breast half. Spoon 1/4 cup sauce over each serving. Sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Place gratin dishes on a baking sheet; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with basil, if desired. Yields 4 servings.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

It's now November and I still have a good amount of pumpkin puree to use up and I'm having to think a little out of my comfort zone on certain recipes. Until this year the only pancakes I favored came from a box, well due to my daughter's peanut allergy I had to start making them from scratch. I started with my butter milk pancakes from cooking light, then moved to eggless pancakes which are very delicious and perfect for the fall. Well I finally decided it was time to branch out more and try making pancakes with pumpkins. As I've been very conscious of calories and have been selecting my recipes on if they have calories listed or not, I hit the internet. I found a recipe on Low Fat Cooking. It's a great recipe that's quick easy and pretty light in calories for a meal that will fill you up.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup nonfat milk
1/3 cup pure pumpkin

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salkt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Combine egg, oil, ilk and pumpkin in a small bowl. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Leave to stand for five minutes.

For each pancake, scoop 1/4 cup of batter on to a hot griddle or nonstick skellet spraged with cooking spray. Turn pancakes when bubbles appear and edges are cook, after about 2 minutes. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes on seconds side.

makes 8-10 pancakes

Serving size 2 pancakes, Calories 226


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

With the abundance of pumpkin puree I've had on hands lately I knew it was time for me to make my all time favorite, pumpkin pie! This is a Thanksgiving Day mandatory for me, but one I've never actually fixed my self. I pulled this recipe from the first cook book I was given just after I got married, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. It was very easy recipe to follow, but I may try beating this on low with my mixer the next time around so that I can get the eggs to mix up better. But the final product was a wonderfully smooth pie with a great balance of sweet and spice. In fact my wife who isn't a huge fan of pumpkin pie enjoyed her fair share, so you can't go wrong with this recipe.

Butter Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flout
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
(Rather than measuring individual spices, you can use 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice instead)
2 slightly beaten eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk

1. Prepare and roll out Pastry for a single-Crust Pie. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry; crimp edge as desired.
2. For filling, in a medium bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add eggs; beat lightly with a fork just until combined. Gradually add half-and-half; stir until combined.
3. Place the pastry-lined pie plate on the oven rack. Carefully pour filling into the pastry shell.
4. To prevent over browning, cover edge of the pie with foil or use a pie crust shield. Bake in a 375ºF oven for 25 minutes more until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate with in 2 hours.

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