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Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts: November 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Site

I moved!!  My husband bought me my own domain name as an early Christmas present!  You can find me at

To continue receiving emails you will need to head over and sign up again.   I hope to see you over there!

You don't want to miss this yummy bread do you?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Monterey Chicken (or Turkey)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday!  We had a nice quiet day just our little family of 3.  It was close to 70 degrees in Colorado, and just a beautiful day.  I of course made way too much food, but how can you not on Thanksgiving!  I did buy the smallest turkey I could found, but even that was 13 pounds.  Needless to say we will be eating turkey for awhile! 

I made this chicken dish the other night,and it was really good.  You could easily use left over turkey for this and transform it into something completely new.  It was supposed to be topped with green onions (which would have been perfect), but I didn't have any.  Next time I am going use a few slices of real bacon to crumble on top, instead of the store bought ones.  I am sure with that and the green onions it will become a family favorite.  I promise, it tastes better than it looks!  I need to get the hang of taking pictures when it is completely black out!

Monterey Chicken or (Turkey)
Adapted from All the Simple Things
Printable Recipe

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup Barbeque Sauce
1/4 cup  real bacon bits
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 14 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
Dash black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pound out chicken breasts to about 1/2 in thick.  Season each side with black pepper. Cook chicken (grill, saute, bake) until no longer pink.  Put on a baking sheet covered in foil.  Top each chicken breast with about 1 Tbls barbeque sauce, 1/4 c cup cheese, 1/4 cup tomatoes, 1 Tbls green onions and 1 Tbls of bacon bits. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. 

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread Muffins

I just figured out what you should make for breakfast on Thanksgiving.  These little muffins were so good!  Before I moved to Iowa I had never heard of Monkey Bread before.  Now, I see it all over the place.  I saw a similar recipe to this from Pillsbury, and this is what I turned it into.  Monkey Bread Muffins, covered in a Pumpkin Caramel Sauce. 

I made these yesterday for my 6 year old, and he couldn’t stop saying how good they were.  At first he wasn’t excited.  He said he liked Cinnamon Roll Pancakes so much, why did I have to try something new?  Then he tried them…..”Mommy, you are such a good cooker!  How do you make so many things I love?  Now I won’t be able to decide what I want?”

These come together quickly, so you can get that Turkey cooking.  Why not wake up to wonderful pumpkin flavor, and have it all through the day!  I used 1 tube of biscuits, and it made 8 giant muffins.  You could easily double this recipe if you were feeding a crowd.  

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the time with the ones that you love!!  See you again on Friday.  

Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread Muffins
Adapted from Pillsbury

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp all spice
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tub Pillsbury Grand Flaky Biscuits
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
1/3 cup pumpkin puree

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray, or use liners.

Open tube of biscuits, and separate.  Using a kitchen scissors cut each biscuit into quarters.  In a zip lock bag mix together sugar and spices.  Add 6 pieces of biscuit at a time into the sugar and shake to coat.  Remove and place 4 pieces (3 if you want normal sized muffins), into each muffin tin. 

In a sauce pan melt butter, brown sugar and pumpkin together.  Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, while stirring.  Reserve about ½ cup of the caramel sauce for later.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the muffins. 

Bake for 15 minutes for large muffins (probably closer to 12 minutes for smaller muffins).  Let cool for a couple minutes before removing from the pan.  Drizzle with the reserved caramel sauce.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peanut Butter Lover's Rice Krispie Treats

Did you know that November is Peanut Butter Lover's Month?  A whole month dedicated to us PB Lovers?!  How much better can you get?  Maybe a PB and Chocolate Lover's month?  Who knows, that may exist.  There are so many food "holidays" that I have no idea about.  I couldn't let this month go by and not share at least one amazing Peanut Butter recipe.  I got this recipe from Kim over at Liv Life, and it is truly amazing!  You combine so many great things into one little bar.  You have Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats, Peanut Butter Fudge, Rice Krispie Treats, Mini Peanut Butter Cups, and finally a layer of chocolate....Pure Heaven!!  They are a little labor intensive, but so worth it!  AND Ablsolutely NO Baking!!!  Probably not what you will bring to Thanksgiving dinner, but these would be awesome on Friday after you get back from Black Friday shopping, and are eating that leftover turkey sandwich!  Or maybe even the sugar you need to get up early enough to get all the great deals!

Do you go Black Friday Shopping?  What do you shop for?

Peanut Butter Lover's Rice Krispie Treats
From Liv Life
Printable Recipe

1st Layer
3 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows
2 Tbls  butter
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter 
2nd Layer 
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2  cups powdered sugar
1 container Mini Peanut Butter cups

3rd Layer
3 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows
2 Tbls butter
4th Layer
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 bag chocolate chips
Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the marshmallows, butter, and peanut butter together.  Add Rice Krispies, stirring well to evenly coat. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.  Set aside.  
In a large microwave safe bowl combine the butter and peanut butter.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes.  Be careful when you remove from the microwave, it is very hot.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and stir to combine.  Spread over the 1st layer.  Sprinkle the mini peanut butter cups over the fudge, lightly pressing down.  Put in the fridge for about 1 hour to cool. 
After fudge is a little bit firm, make the second layer of Rice Krispie Treats. 
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the marshmallows and butter together.  Add Rice Krispies, stirring well to evenly coat.  Lightly press the cereal together and spread onto of the fudge layer.   

For the chocolate layer, melt the peanut butter and chocolate in the microwave, stirring ever 45 seconds.  Once melted, pour over the Rice Krispie treats.  Gently shake the pan to evenly distribute the melted chocolate mixture.
Place back in the fridge for about 30 minutes for the chocolate to harden.  Cut and serve once fully cooled. 


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Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

My kitchen is unpacked!!  I have been spoiled with a large kitchen for the last 5 years.  The kitchen in our rental is a very nice kitchen, but it is much smaller than my old one.  I was only able to unpack about 1/2 of my stuff (I have way too much stuff).  It is really nice that we have an unfinished basement to store everything in.  I attempted baking for the first time at high altitude this weekend.  The results weren't perfect, but they were not nearly as bad as I feared.  Stay tuned for some yummy recipes once I get the hang of it!

Thank you to Kita (Pass the Sushi), Liz (That Skinny Chick Can Bake), and Kelly (Eat Yourself Skinny) for filling in for me last week.  You all did a wonderful job, and I appreciate your help!

These bars are one of the last things I made in my old kitchen.  My husband and I were both going to meet friends for lunch, and I had a few things to use in my pantry so I made these bars.  Unfortunately my husband forgot his plate of treats on the counter.  Rami, this is what you missed out on!  Shannon on the other hand received her plate of goodies!  I received an email from her later that night asking if I posted this recipe yet, because they were TO DIE FOR!!!  Well here it is!  This would make a great alternative to Pumpkin Pie this week!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
From Bake at 350
Printable Recipe

2 cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Allspice
1/8 tsp Cloves
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp  Salt
1 cup Butter, softened
1 1/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 bag Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 13x9 pan.

Mix together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt. (You could use 2 tsp pumpkin pie instead of all the spices if you had it).

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add in the egg & vanilla. Beat in the pumpkin puree.  (It will look chunky and gross, but don't worry, that is what it is supposed to look like).

Add the in the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into your pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes.   A toothpick will come out mostly clean.  Cool completely in pan before cutting.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cups with Eat Yourself Skinny

The movers finally delivered our stuff!!  I spent the ENTIRE day unpacking, and it really doesn't look like I did very much.  We did manage to clear out the garage so we can park both cars in there, that is huge!  My Kitchen Aid is unpacked and all set up :)  Everything else is still a complete mess.  I think it will take at least a week to get everything set up. 

Since I have yet to cook much in the last week, today I bring you Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny.  Kelly has a great site offering tasty healthy recipes.  Plus gorgeous pictures! Make sure you go visit her and tell her I said Hi!

Hello there lovely readers of Dinners, Dishes and Desserts!  I’m Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny and I’m super excited to be guest posting today!  I absolutely adore Erin {as I’m sure you all do as well!} so when she asked me to share a recipe on her blog while she was moving this week, I was completely thrilled!

There is just something about Fall that makes me LOVE this season more than any other.  Maybe it’s the cute scarves and boots we get to get all bundled up in or the pretty foliage that starts to poke its way out once the summer heat has faded away, but either way my favorite part about Fall would have to be the abundance of pumpkin recipes!  Whether I’m starting my morning off with a pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks or enjoying a delicious pumpkin muffin for breakfast, this Fall favorite can add flare to any old recipe.  So of course I just had to do something fun and festive for Erin!

I chose to make delicious Pumpkin Pie Cups which are perfect healthy alternatives to your typical slice of indulgent pumpkin pie.  Best part is you can have one whole bowl for only 172 calories and ZERO grams of fat!

Yes I said zero.

Doesn’t get much better than that and I promise you they taste delicious.  I loved the slight crunch the cornflakes added to this dish and the combination of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg was amazing!  Make these for guests at your next dinner party or throw this together when you want to indulge in something sweet without having the unnecessary calories.  It’s so quick and easy! 

Note to self however, when taking pictures…make sure to strategically place the spoons so you can’t see yourself AND your camera in them.  FAIL.  Oh well!  Hope you enjoy these treats as much as I did!

Pumpkin Pie Cups

Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1 dish 
Calories: 172
Fat: 0 g
Carbs: 37 g 
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 6 g
Old Points: 3.2 pts
Points+: 4 pts

Here are your ingredients:
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home cookbook

1/4 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. ground ginger, divided
3/4 cup fat-free milk
3/4 cup solid-pack pumpkin
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup cholesterol-free egg substitute

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  For topping, combine cornflakes, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. ginger in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

For filling, heat milk in small saucepan over medium heat.  Do not boil.  Combine pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger and nutmeg in large bowl.

Stir hot milk into pumpkin mixture.  Add egg substitute and whisk until smooth.  Pour into four 6 oz. oven proof custard cups or ramekins.  Sprinkle evenly with topping.  Place cups in a baking pan and carefully add hot water to about 3/4-inch depth. 

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Enjoy!

Thanks again for inviting me to guest post Erin!  If you’d like to see more skinny recipes or just want to stop over and say hi, check out my blog any time!


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Banana Cream Pie with That Skinny Chick Can Bake

We made it to Colorado!  It was so nice to know that the long drive was just one way this time. Unfortunately our stuff did not arrive as planned.  The driver who was going to drive the truck out "is no longer with the company".  So now, today is the day everything should arrive.  Not sure how much longer I can live without furniture, and almost no kitchen supplies. 

Today I am bringing you another great blogger!  Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake was one of the first people I met when I started blogging.  She makes the most amazing desserts, but then also is an excellent cook.  I have made numerous recipes of hers, and they are always delicious!

So....I give you Liz

I was delighted when Erin asked me to guest post for her this week.  I met sweet Erin when she was just a fledgling blogger...but she didn't seem like a newbie to me back then. Her talent was obvious from day one.  So I wanted to make a special dessert to be featured...and one of my hubby's favorite pies came to mind...banana cream.

I turned to a Cook's Illustrated recipe for inspiration.  That magazine rarely steers me wrong.  Their vanilla custard is just fact, I spent so much time scraping samples from the bottom of the saucepan, that I hardly wanted dinner.  Sliced bananas are sandwich between two layers of the creamy custard, then the pie is topped with a cloud of sweetened whipped cream. Hubby, Bill, took one bite and declared it amazing. I think you will agree.

Erin, I hope you're getting settled in your new home, and I know we're all looking forward to the fabulous dishes you will be cooking up in your new kitchen.

Banana Cream Pie...adapted from The Best Recipe

1 baked and cooled pastry shell (I used Martha Stewart's Páte Brisée)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks, beaten slightly
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cognac
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 bananas, peeled and sliced just before placing over filling.

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan.  Add yolks and whisk to combine.  Slowly add milk and cream, whisking till combined.  Add vanilla bean and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly till mixture starts to thicken and simmer.  Cook for an additional minute, then remove from heat.  Whisk in butter, cognac and vanilla.  Remove vanilla bean.

Cover top of filling with plastic wrap and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.  When cooled to warm, spread about half the filling into the pie shell.  Top with sliced bananas, and spread the remaining filling over the bananas.  Cover filling with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours.

To finish, beat cream with sugar and vanilla till soft peaks form.  Beat slightly longer to almost stiff peaks.  Spread over filling and garnish with banana slices before serving if desired.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Rosemary Bread: Guest post with Pass the Sushi

Today all of our stuff is scheduled to be delivered at our townhouse.  As I write this, that is the plan at least :)  Needless to say, this week there will not be a lot of cooking happening.  Or last week either, since my kitchen was all packed up.  So I asked a few of my favorite bloggers to  help me out!  Kita from Pass the Sushi is the first one I am bringing to you.  If you are not familiar with Kita, I suggest you run over there (as soon as you read this of course), and look around.  She has stunning pictures, as well as over the top delicious food!  She dedicated a whole week to Man Food last Father's day, and oh the Desserts!  It might be a good thing that we aren't neighbors, I would never stay on a diet!  

Ok, enough from is Kita from Pass the Sushi!

Hi I’m Kita from Pass the Sushi and I have been reading Erin’s moving adventures recently and getting totally excited for her! I am sure that it is horribly stressful moving a household across the country, but it also sounds so fun! It’s like a brand new adventure in a brand new place, and while I’m sure there will be adjustments – there’s something about the idea of picking up and moving that just seems good for the soul. Then again, I’ve never moved more than 25 miles at once so who am I to talk.

I have been super proud of Erin for continuing to post, be a mom and pack all at the same time. I’m throwing a bridal shower this week and am ready to throw my hands in the air. I can’t pretend I have the skills to pull off everything she’s managing right now.

Enough of my ramblings! You guys are here for the goodies right?

Copy-Cat Rosemary Bread from Macaroni Grill
From Food Network Magazine April 2011
·         1 1/4 oz packet active dry yeast
·         2 teas sugar
·         2 tbs  extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and serving
·         2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
·         2 tbs dried rosemary
·         1 teas fine salt
·         3/4 cup water
·         12 teas kosher salt
·         freshly ground black pepper

Sit the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 tbs olive oil, the flour 1 1/2 tbs rosemary, the fine salt and 3/4 cup water; stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting lightly with flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled, about 2 hours.
Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil. Generously flour a work surface turn the dough out onto the flour and divide into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, sprinkle some flour on the dough, then fold the top and bottom portions into the middle. Fold in the sides o make a free-form square. Use a spatula to turn the dough over, then tuck the corners to form a ball. Place seam-side down on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, putting 2 balls on each baking sheet. Let stand, uncovered, until more than doubled, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the loaves 10 minutes; brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the kosher salt and the remaining 1/2 tbs rosemary. Continue baking until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve with olive oil seasoned with pepper.

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