Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gumdrop Fudge


Do you have a sweet tooth? Well this fudge is guaranteed to satisfy any sugar craving. Sugary gumdrops are suspended in an almond bark base - you might want to make an appointment at the dentist before you eat this. Well, not really, but it is sweet! This fudge is perfect for a Christmas cookie tray, and I like that it's different from many other candies at this time of year.

Start by combining the almond bark, salt and sweetened condensed milk in a medium saucepan.


Heat this mixture until it melts - use low heat, it won't take long. When it's melted, remove from the heat then add the vanilla


and stir until smooth. Stir in the gumdrops.


Line a 9-inch pan with aluminum foil, then pour the fudge mixture in.


Refrigerate for at least four hours or until set. Remove the fudge from the pan using the foil, then cut the candy into small pieces - first columns and then rows.


I love seeing those colorful little gumdrop pieces in there!


One year ago: Dulce de Leche Chocolate Bars
Two years ago: Oatmeal Spice Drop Cookies (another gumdrop recipe!)
Three years ago: Elena Blthe's Chili

Find more great ideas at Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Box, Thursday's Treasures, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Finds, Foodtastic Friday, Foodie Friday (#2), Food on Friday: Christmas treats.

Gumdrop Fudge

1 - 20 oz. package almond bark (or white chocolate candy coating)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups gumdrops, chopped

Coarsely chop the almond bark or white chocolate candy coating. Combine the bark, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until the mixture melts. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and the gumdrops.

Pour the mixture into foil-lined 9-inch pan. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Remove the fudge using the foil, then cut into row and columns. Makes 36 pieces.

Recipe Source: Adapted from ValSoCal

Monday, November 26, 2012

Avalanche Bark


'Tis the season for making holiday treats! This is a great one to start with - a sweet peanut buttery candy filled with krispy rice, chocolate chips and marshmallows. I suppose a person could call this a Rocky Road bark of sorts - with the added crunch of the cereal. It's super yummy, and super addictive. And since it takes less than an hour from start to finish, it's great to whip up for a last minute party. It's also great to whip up to just have in the fridge - after all, it's the season for celebrations - even if your celebration is just eating this delicious candy!

Start by combining the almond bark (it will melt better if you chop it slightly first) and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl.


Melt it in the microwave, at about 50% power, for 30 second intervals, stirring between each heating time.


When the mixture is melted, stir well to incorporate it all together, then add in the rice krispies,


marshmallows,


and chocolate chips.


Turn the mixture out into a 9-inch pan that is lined with parchment paper. Slightly press it down into an even layer.


Place the pan in the fridge and let set up, about 30 minutes. When it is set, remove the candy from the pan using the paper, then cut into rows


and then into chunks.


One year ago: Dulce de Leche Chocolate Bars
Two years ago: Sweet Potato Pound Cake
Three years ago: Elena Blthe's chili

Find more great ideas at Mangia Monday, Mop it up Monday, Mix it up Monday, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, What's on the Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday (#3), Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Clever Chicks.

Avalanche Bark

12 ounces almond bark, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Place the miniature chocolate chips on a plate and place in the freezer until ready to use.

Combine the almond bark and peanut butter in a medium bowl and microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted. Remove from microwave and stir in Rice Krispies. Gently stir in the miniature marshmallows, then the miniature chocolate chips.

Turn the mixture into a 9" square pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Press into an even layer. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Curried Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


I love making soups in the fall and winter and chicken and wild rice is one of my favorites - and it seems to be a favorite of many people in this part of the country. I found this recipe, and thought it was a fun way to change up the usual wild rice soup. Lots of colorful veggies and the addition of savory curry and coconut milk add a nice Eastern flair to our regular midwestern soup!!

This soup will warm you up on a cold night, and it's a great way to use up leftover turkey, if you have some!

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat then add the onion, celery, carrots,


mushrooms


and garlic and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with flour, curry powder and salt


and stir until all the vegetables are coated. Gradually add the chicken broth,


and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 10-15 minutes in order to blend flavors.

Finally, stir in the red pepper, chicken,


wild rice,


coconut milk


and rice vinegar. Give it all a good stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes to warm the ingredients through. Top each bowl with cilantro to serve.

This version will bring new life to your winter soup rotation!

One year ago: Crumb Topped Apple and Pumpkin Pie
Two years ago: Sweet Potato Pound Cake
Three years ago: Zesty Cranberry Sauce

Find more great recipes at Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasteful Tuesdays, Tuesday Talent Show, Clever Chicks, Hearth and Soul, Cast Party Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, Ingredient Spotlight.

Curried Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 ribs celery, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices
12 medium uncooked baby carrots, quartered on the diagonal
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. flour
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cups red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cooked and chopped chicken
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1/4 cups light coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic and saute until vegetables are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with flour, curry powder and salt and stir to coat all the vegetables. Gradually add the chicken broth, and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in the red pepper, chicken, wild rice, coconut milk and rice vinegar; cook for 2-3 minutes until ingredients are warmed through. Top with cilantro to serve. Serves 6.

Recipe source: Adapted from Weight Watchers

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple Cake {Crockpot}


I've always heard about baking in the crock pot, but I had never tried it. I was motivated to finally take the risk when I found this recipe on Melissa's Cuisine for this month's Secret Recipe Club!

I was really impressed with how this worked - there is no oil or butter in the batter, but all the steam created in the crockpot keeps the cake very moist. This was delicious with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. And now I am excited to try other baked items in the crockpot!

You can just whip this up in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.


Add in the apple


and stir well. The apples will start to release their moisture after you stir it a bit, so don't worry if it seems dry at first. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the eggs and vanilla.


Whisk them together, then add to the cake batter.


Stir until combined then transfer the batter to a greased crockpot. I used my smallest one, which is intended for appetizer-type dishes. It was the perfect size!


Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours. Carefully remove the cake to a plate and let cool slightly.


The cake is delicious warm or at room temperature but don't forget the ice cream and caramel sauce! Thanks, Melissa, for giving me the proper nudge to try baking in the slow cooker!

One year ago: Crumb-topped Apple and Pumpkin Pie
Two years ago: Spicy Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Three years ago: Zesty Cranberry Sauce

Find more great inspiration at Mangia Monday, Mop it Up Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday.

Apple Cake in the Crockpot

1 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large apples, peeled and diced
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Add diced apples to flour mixture and stir to coat. In a small bowl, mix eggs and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir.

Pour into a greased crock-pot. Cover and bake on high for 2 hours. Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Serves 4-6.






Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sweet Potato Gingersnaps


Gingersnaps are one of my favorite cookies - probably in my top 3 for sure. In fact, ginger cookies were the first cookie I posted on this blog, and only the second post. So that tells you how good they are... SO, when I saw this recipe that includes sweet potatoes and whole wheat flour, I wanted to try it. And when I realized I could adapt it for this month's Improv Challenge, I was sold!

In case you need more persuading to try these, I took these to work and one of my colleagues said they were the "best cookies I've ever eaten." That's quite an endorsement.

Start by combining the flour, baking soda, ginger,


cinnamon,


cloves and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and honey.


Add the egg and sweet potato puree,


then the molasses


and mix until well blended. Gradually add in the flour mixture. Spread the sugar out on a plate, and spoon out a scoop of the batter onto the sugar.


Roll the cookie dough around in the sugar,


then place the cookie ball on a large cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and then bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.


Cool the cookies on a wire rack, and enjoy with a glass of milk!


One year ago: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (last year's Improv Challenge!)
Two years ago: Bacon, Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche
Three years ago: Cornbread and Apple Stuffing

See more sweet potato recipes below. For other great recipes, visit Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Box, Thursday's Treasures, Tastetastic Thursday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Finds, Foodtastic Friday, Foodie Friday (#2).


Sweet Potato Gingersnaps

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar

Cream together the butter, brown sugar and honey. Beat in the sweet potato puree, molasses and egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add the flour mixture gradually into the sugar mixture and blend until combined.

Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto a plate lined with sugar. Roll the cookie dough balls in the sugar and then transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen small cookies.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Finding Joy in my Kitchen





Monday, November 12, 2012

Ham and Broccoli Roll Ups with Wild Rice Pilaf


I developed (ha! that's a fancy term for "made up") this recipe when I wanted to use some ingredients in my fridge. I was quite pleased with the result - and will likely make this over and over...even if I don't have ingredients to use up!

Start by preparing the wild rice pilaf. In a large skillet, melt the butter, then saute the carrots, celery and mushrooms until they are tender, about 5 minutes.


Add in the wild rice (I cooked mine in the crock pot!), and stir until well mixed.


Remove the pilaf from the heat and transfer to a 8 or 9 inch baking dish. For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour and whisk until combined. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking constantly, and then the milk, and stir and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Add in the dry mustard, curry powder, paprika and salt.


Whisk well and then set the sauce aside.

On each slice of ham, place a small slice of swiss cheese and then several pieces of broccoli.


Roll up the edges of the ham to cover the filling


then place seam side down on top of the rice.


Cover the ham roll ups with the sauce.


Bake for about 15 minutes. What a great way to use up what's in the fridge!

One year ago: Cornbread and Apple Stuffing
Two years ago: Pumpkin Custard Pie
Three years ago: Cheesy Vegetable Soup

Find more great recipes at Mangia Monday, Mop it Up Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, On the Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Clever Chicks, Hearth and Soul, Cast Party Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, Ingredient Spotlight.


Ham and Broccoli Roll Ups with Wild Rice Pilaf

2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, separated
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 heaping cups cooked wild rice
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli florets
2 large slices swiss cheese (or about 1 cup shredded swiss)
6 slices fully cooked ham

In a large skillet, melt 1/2 Tbsp. butter over medium high heat. Add the celery, carrots and mushrooms and cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wild rice to the skillet and stir well to combine the rice with the vegetables. Remove the pilaf from the heat and transfer to a 8 or 9-inch baking dish.

In a medium sauce, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Gradually pour in the chicken broth and the milk and cook and stir until the mixture begins to boil and thicken. Add the dry mustard, curry powder, paprika and salt and whisk to combine. Remove from the heat.

Top each ham slice with a small piece of cheese and several broccoli florets. Roll up the slices and place seam side down over the rice. Cover the ham roll ups with the sauce and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Serves 3.










Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pumpkin Quinoa Bake


I'm a little late to the quinoa party. Better late than never. And this won't be the only party - I am excited to try other quinoa dishes now that this one was so good! In this dish, quinoa meets pumpkin pie for a protein packed breakfast, sweetened up with a crunchy streusel topping.

This yummy dish comes together quickly, and then you can let it bake while you jump in the shower! (or whatever you do in the morning...)

Combine the milk, maple syrup,


(I know this measuring cup is dirty - I had just used it to make mini pumpkin pies! Since both recipes were pumpkin-centric, I figured it was ok!)

pumpkin, quinoa,


oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Whisk together and then pour into a small greased casserole dish.


Cover the casserole and bake for 30 minutes. While it's baking, combine the topping ingredients: brown sugar, flour, pecans and butter.


Stir it all up with a fork, and then top the quinoa mixture with the pecan mixture after it has baked 30 minutes. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the topping is golden.


Pour a tall glass of milk or hot cup of coffee and have a great breakfast, and a great day!


One year ago: Pumpkin Cake Roll
Two years ago: Apple Almond Coffee Cake
Three years ago: Apple Bundt Cake

Find more inspiration at Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Thursday's Treasures, Tastetastic Thursday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Finds, Foodtastic Friday, Foodie Friday (#2), French Cuisine Fridays.

Pumpkin Quinoa Bake

2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup raw quinoa
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch ginger

Topping:
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Rinse and drain the quinoa.

In a small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the milk, pumpkin, quinoa, syrup, oil, vanilla, cinammon, nutmeg and ginger. Stir until fully mixed, then pour into a greased 4-cup casserole dish.

Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all topping ingredients and stir well with a fork. After the 30 minutes are up, remove casserole from oven and sprinkle topping over top of the casserole.

Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, uncovered, until golden.

Serves 2-3.

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