Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wicked Good Pumpkin Roll -- posted by Jessica

Well, it's that time of year again - Autumn! Cooler weather, fall colors, crunchy piles of leaves to walk through, and, of course, PUMPKIN and those yummy fall spices, cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg... Love it! Pumpkin Roll cake is a new thing for me; maybe it is more of a back East thing? I have noticed them  now in the bakery section of the grocery stores. Maybe they have always been there and I just didn't notice? I dunno, but I can't believe what I have been missing! I ran a Google search for Pumpkin Roll recipes and of course got a ton of them to choose from! I ended up combining a couple different ones to get the spices I wanted and without walnuts thank you very much! I had never attempted a rolled cake before so I was a little apprehensive but it turned out well! And very delicious! Just use a lot of powdered sugar when rolling and also to dust your hands when unrolling to fill and then re-rolling the finished product. I had cut back on the sugar a few tablespoons in the cake and filling part figuring I would get plenty of sweetness from the powdered sugar later and I was right. I would probably even cut back a little more on the sugar next time as I found I had to used quite a lot of powdered sugar rolling up the cake and it was plenty sweet. All in all, this cake was a definite success and got a thumbs up from my taste testers! :)


3 large eggs
1 cup sugar (3/4 cup is fine)
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. all-spice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz. softened cream cheese  (I used lite cream cheese)    
1 Tb butter, softened      
3/4 cup powdered sugar (I think I used about 2/3 cup)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 15 1/2- by 10 1/2- by 1-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides; coat the parchment with cooking spray.

Beat together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, flour, baking soda, and spices. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is puffed and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes.

Let the cake stand for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a linen kitchen towel with sifted pwd sugar on it. This was a little tricky. I may sift pwd sugar onto the top of the cake and then put the towel on top to invert onto a larger baking sheet. Anyway, then remove the parchment and roll up cake and towel. I rolled from the long side. Some recipes say to roll from the short side. I guess it depends on how long you want your cake. Place seam-side down on a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Beat the cream cheese and butter until combined. Beat in the pwd sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Carefully unroll the cake, leaving it on the towel (there may be some cracking). Spread with the cream cheese filling, reroll into a log removing the towel as you go, and transfer to a serving platter. I found that dusting my hands with pwd sugar helped with this.
Chill and then serve.
Yield: 12 delicious slices of pumkin cream cheese goodness!
I bet adding some espresso powder to the cake batter would also be good; kind of like a pumpkin spice latte! :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal -- posted by Jessica

This is another 'borrowed' baked oatmeal recipe. A good fall breakfast! I didn't bother peeling the apple.


1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tb oil or melted butter
1 1/2 old fashioned oats
2 Tb brown sugar
1 tsp baking pwd
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, peeled and sliced very thin

Heat oven to 350. Combine egg, milk, applesauce, and oil. Add oats, sugar, baking pwd and cinnamon. Mix in cranberries and pour into greased 9 inch baking pan. Top with apples and sprinkle with additional sugar and cinnamon if desired. Bake 25 to 28 minutes till set. Serve with milk .
4 servings

Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal -- posted by Jessica

I'm borrowing this recipe from someone else's blog; I'm sorry, I don't remember where I found it! :)
This is a different and tasty take on a standard bowl of oatmeal. I make this with skim milk as that is what I had but serving it with cream would give it actual cream flavor! I just mixed the brown sugar into the oat mixture rather than sprinkling it on top. Though you could probably just leave it out as the peach juice and peaches are already sweet.

1 egg
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup juice from canned sliced peaches
1 Tb oil
1 tsp baking pwd
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sliced canned peaches
2 Tb brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the egg, milk juice and oil. Whisk in baking pwd then add oats and cinnamon till combined. Pour into greased 9 inch pan. Top with peach slices and sprinkle with brown sugar (and more cinnamon if you are like me and LOVE cinnamon! ) Bake 35 to 40 min till set. Serve with milk if desired.
4 servings.

Peanut Butter Truffle Cookies -- posted by Jessica

This is also a recipe from the Skippy Peanut Butter cook book. These are really good cookies that are quick to make as they have few ingredients. As they don't contain flour, they could be good for a gluten free dessert as long as the p.b. and chocolate chips are g.f. free. I used milk chocolate and p.b. chips and only had a 1/2 cup of creamy p.b. so also used a 1/2 cup of crunchy. The recipe says it makes 4 1/2 dozen??? I only got 2 dozen regular sized cookies (about a rounded Tablespoon of dough each). They have a soft sandy texture and LOTS of peanut butter flavor! I like that they don't have added fat from butter! They do crumble easily so would not be a good choice for mailing unfortunately.


1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup and they were plenty sweet)
1large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips till blended. Stir in chocolate just until combined. Drop dough by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Do not flatten. Bake 9 minutes or until puffed and golden (cookies will be very soft). Cool on pan on wire rack 5 minutes (I let them set an extra minute or two as they looked like they would break when initially tried to remove from the sheets)
Remove from sheets to wire rack to cool completely.

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles -- posted by Jessica

I LOVE this recipe! It is soo good and easy! It is from a Skippy peanut butter cookbook. The first time I made it, I used regular creamy peanut butter. This time I used crunchy all natural peanut butter which I recommend! Also, I recommend using extra bell pepper (I used 2) and green onions (I used 5). I did not have fresh ginger, so I used a half tsp or so of ground. I also used 2 cups shredded cooked chicken which made this even faster to prepare. I also added one shaved carrot after sauteeing the peppers a little while. The first time I made this, I used whole wheat spaghetti. This time I used brown rice noodles which I liked better; it seemed more authentic. I highly recommend this recipe!


2 Tbs veg oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium green or red bell pepper, sliced (or one of each is good!)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (you may need a little more to thin out the sauce if needed)
1/3 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
3 Tb soy sauce
2 Tb honey
1 Tb cornstarch
1 Tb rice wine vinegar
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 lb Asian noodles, spaghetti or linguine, cooked and drained

Heat 1 Tb oil in large skillet over medium-high and cook chicken till cooked about 7 min. Remove chicken and set aside.
Heat remaining oil and cook peppers and garlic 2 min. medium high heat.
Add broth, p.b., soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, vinegar and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan, stir in green onion and simmer till heated thru about 3 minutes. Serve over noodles and top with chopped peanuts if desired.

4 servings (I got 6 servings)

Creamy Cappuccino Pudding -- posted by Jessica

This is a sweet coffee flavored dessert from a Light and Tasty magazine. It is quite sweet from the sweetened condensed milk so I portioned it out as 6 servings rather than 5. I also used 2 tsp instant espresso powder rather than regular coffee powder and added a Tablespoon of cocoa powder while cooking the pudding because everthing is better with chocolate, right? :) I couldn't actually taste much cocoa flavor in the finished pudding so maybe next time I will add a bit more.


1 egg
1 cup fat free milk
4 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1 14 oz can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee pwd (or use espresso pwd for more coffee flavor)
Cocoa powder if desired

Beat the egg; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup milk, cornstarch and salt until smooth. Add the rest of the milk, water, sweetened condensed milk, coffee powder and cocoa if using. Cook over medium heat in a heavy sauce pan until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from the heat. Slowly (very slowly!) stir 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg. Slowly add the egg mixture back into the pan. Return to heat and heat to boiling. Cook 2 minutes. Pour into serving dishes and cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool 5 minutes then serve or chill.
(I chilled it a few hours and served it cold. I'm not a big fan of warm pudding unless it is rice pudding)

5 (1/2 cup) servings

Spinach Pine Nut Pasta -- posted by Jessica

This is a quick and tasty pasta from a Light and Tasty magazine. I think it would be great with chopped broccoli and roasted red peppers in place of the spinach and sun dried tomatoes or just added to the original recipe. I confess, I did not use pine nuts (they are ridiculously expensive!!). I used chopped walnut and loved it! Chopped cashews or pistachios would probably be good as well. I do recommend adding extra spices (basil, parsley, garlic, onion pwd etc. I just randomly sprinkled in a bunch of different ones to flavor it up a bit!) All in all, it was tasty and quick to throw together. Adding some chopped cooked chicken for protein would be good!


8 oz gemelli pasta
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
8 oz chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
1 pkg (1.6 oz) Alfredo mix
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 tsp salt

Cook pasta till al dente, stirring in the spinach and tomatoes during the last 4 minutes. Combine the milk and alfredo mix. Bring to a boil and cook 1 min. Stir in 1/4 cup nuts and salt. Drain pasta and toss with the sauce. Top with addtl. nuts to serve. Super fast and easy!

5 (1 cup) servings

Pasta Caprese -- posted by Jessica

This is a really good pasta recipe from America's Test Kitchen! I prefer making this as a chilled pasta salad rather than the hot pasta dish the recipe indicates, so I rinse the pasta under cold water to cool it before adding the other ingredients and then chill before serving. It tastes best after chilling for a few hours to meld all the flavors. It is a project to make, but it is worth it in late summer when fresh garden ripe tomatoes are available. [if you like tomatoes! :)]
The original recipe calls for fresh mozzarella as I guess it melts better than regular. As I prefer this chilled, I just use the cheaper regular mozzarella block cheese.


1/4 cup olive oil (use a good quality extra virgin olive oil)
2-4 tsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tb finely minced shallot
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded & diced
12 oz mozzarella, cubed (I just use an 8 oz block and it is plenty)
1 lb. campanelle paste (it is this cute flower shaped pasta!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp sugar

Whisk oil, 2 tsp lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper together in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes tossing gently to combine. Set aside; do not marinate longer than 45 minutes.

Cook pasta till al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water if making cold salad

Add pasta and cheese to tomatoe mixture. Stir in basil. Add salt, pepper, addtl. lemon juice and sugar to taste. Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4-6 (More like 8 in my opinion!)

Sweet Potato and Carmelized Onion Shells -- posted by Jessica

This is a unique take on stuffed shells; I love sweet potatoes so decided to give this recipe a try. I don't remember where I found the recipe; probably a link on Yahoo or something. I used Feta cheese instead of Gorgonzola (only because it was on sale at the time! I'll try the Gorgonzola next time). In all, I really liked how this turned out (I forgot to take a pic, sorry!) The gravy was a little odd. Perhaps next time, I'll try a light alfredo or some sort of cream sauce. Also, next time, I would bake it with the gravy or sauce to keep them moist. It is a little bit of work carmelizing the onions and baking and mashing the sweet potatoes and stuffing the shells, but I really liked the flavors and will make it again! It could be a good recipe to use after Thanksgiving to use up any leftover sweet potatoes and gravy! I froze some of the leftovers and the froze well so that is a plus!


2 large onions, chopped
3 Tb butter
1 tsp garlic pwd
1/4 tsp salt
21 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tb sherry or apple cider
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tb minced fresh parsley
1 cup turkey gravy, warmed

Saute onions in butter until softened. Add garlic and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Meanwhile, cook pasta shells till al dente.

Stir the broth, sherry, thyme, and pepper into the onions. Bring to a boil; cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Remove from heat. Stir in sweet potatoes and Gorgonzola cheese.

Spoon into shell and place in greased baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with gravy.

Makes 7 servings