Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cream Cheese Wontons with Avocado Dipping Sauce

Usually, when it is just my husband and I for dinner, I make a main dish and one side. I invited a couple people over the other night, and I felt like I needed another component to our meal. I looked in my fridge, and decided this was the perfect, quick side. I am sooo happy that I made these! It totally jazzed up our meal, and these wontons made my dinner way more impressive. The Avocado Sauce is outstanding, I could barely keep myself from covering every side of my wonton with it!

Cream Cheese Wontons with Avocado Dipping Sauce

Avocado Dipping Sauce
1 avocado, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1 Tbsp. (or to taste) lime juice
Zest from 1 limes
Salt, to taste

Place avocado, sour cream, lime juice and zest in the work bowl of a food processor and blend until very smooth. Adding salt, to taste.

Sweet Cream Cheese Fried Wontons
1 egg
1 (8 ounce) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
15-20 wonton wrappers
1 cup water
oil (for frying)

Heat oil in a small pot, about 1 inch deep.
Meanwhile, beat egg, then mix with cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sugar.
Spoon about 1 Tbs. of mixture into center of wonton wrapper.
Moisten the edges of the wrapper with water and fold into whatever shape you desire, making sure to seal the edges so the cream cheese mixture doesn't escape during frying.
Drop into hot oil and brown both sides, this is a really quick process so watch them closely.
Serve with Avocado dipping sauce, above.

Wonton recipe from
Sauce recipe from
Serves 4-5 as a side dish

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I’m not a pumpkin pie fan. I feel like it is usually extremely underseasoned, and I hate the fact that the crust is about 1/16th of the piece of pie. I am a crust girl! I want as much crust as pumpkin filling, and so that’s how I made these delicious bars. I added and almost doubled the spices from the original recipe, as well as bulking up the crust quite a bit for a heartier bite. These keep me going back for more, which is something I just can’t say about the usual pumpkin pie! I’ll be making these for Thanksgiving this year, no question!

Pumpkin Pie Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in flour. Fold in oats. Press into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, until set.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with white sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pumpkin pie spice. Pour over baked crust. Bake in preheated oven 35-40 minutes, until set. Let cool, then refrigerate for a few hours before cutting into squares. Serve with whipped cream!

Highly adapted from
Makes 20 bars

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Applesauce Oat Muffins

I have a hard time thinking of good, healthy snacks for my family. I am always reaching for the same things, which we all get sick of, and quick! When I saw these posted on my friends blog, I had to give them a try. And guess what?! My kids devoured them, I couldn’t stay away, and, this is the big shocker...My husband ate them. He even took them to work with him the next day for a snack. Seriously this just doesn’t happen. He always eats the same snacks, so this was monumental! I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do!

Applesauce Oat Muffins

1 cup rolled/old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 Tbs. butter or coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 banana, mashed, optional
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs. flax seed, ground, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or grease the muffin cups. Set aside..
In a medium bowl, stir together the oatmeal, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, butter or oil, sugar, and banana. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (and flaxseed if using). Make a well in the center and pour in the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined (don't overmix or the muffins will be dense and dry). The muffin batter texture is quite runny, fyi!
Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. (I LOVE to make mini muffins-that way my young kids don’t waste 1/2 of the serving that I give them! If doing so, bake for 9-10 minutes.) Bake regular size muffins for 13-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake or the muffins will be dry.
Remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely. These freeze wonderfully, if needed!

Recipe adapted from
Makes 12 regular size muffins, or 48 mini muffins

Friday, October 11, 2013

White Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Fall has arrived here! I had a crazy baking/cooking day last week and whipped up all sorts of delicious fall-flavored foods. Of course, soup had to be on the list, and I served it along with the best bread I’ve ever made, Homemade Bread. This dinner made me happy, happy! I was “mmmm-ing” after each and every bite. The tart white cheddar gives this creamy soup a different flavor than you are used to in broccoli soup, and it kept me wanting more and more. This soup will be on the menu shortly in the future, and for the coming cold, cold months. It’s a quick fix, and with baby #3 headed our way, I’m going to need a few, or a lot, of these meals!

White Cheddar Broccoli Soup

3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 of a large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
2 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup milk
2 cups uncooked broccoli florets
2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and saute until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add flour to saucepan and stir until flour has soaked up all the moisture. Cook for 1 minute.
Add stock a little at a time, mixing the soup thoroughly to incorporate all ingredients and work out any flour-onion-garlic lumps that may have formed. When all stock has been stirred into mixture, add the milk and stir to combine.
Bring mixture to a simmer and add broccoli. Simmer over medium heat until soup has thickened slightly, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and break up broccoli and onion chunks using an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup to a regular blender in small batches or use a potato masher. (Make sure not to have the lid on liquid in a vacuum sealed blender=pressure steam burn. Just put a towel over a slightly cracked lid to allow steam to escape).
Return soup to heat and simmer another 5 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and stir in shredded white cheddar cheese. Stir until all cheese is melted. Ladle into bread bowls and serve immediately, garnishing with extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Serves 3.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Homemade Bread

Alright, here I am admitting that I have honestly never, ever, made wonderful white bread. I have made great rolls, great pizza dough, but NEVER great bread. I don’t know what it has been, but I do know that it has always been a struggle for me. My luck, my skills, something has changed...and I’m pretty stinking sure that it wasn’t me, but this recipe! Every bite of this bread has been divine. From the second out of the oven that I consumed at least 3 slices, to my lunch today that made one of the best grilled cheese’s I have ever eaten in my life. It is a big, fluffy loaf with the most delectable moist center. Perfect plain, as toast, dipped in soup, or used as sandwich bread...I have done all of these methods in the last 2 days and I would do them all again in a heartbeat!

Homemade Bread

2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 TB sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 TB salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
5-7 cups flour, white or wheat (can use more if needed)
1 TB shortening
1 TB butter (to top bread)

Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the warm water (not too hot) over the yeast mixture and let it sit for 15-20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.
Combine melted butter, sugar, evaporated milk and salt into a large mixing bowl. When your yeast mixture is ready add them together and mix.
If you are using a stand mixer put on your bread hook and then pour in 3 cups of flour. If not you can stir/knead it as well. Then add in 1 cup of flour at a time and mix. When you get to 5 cups of flour in the bowl, add in 1/2 cup more of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides. You'll know it's ready when your fingers no longer stick to the dough.
Then cover the ball of dough and sides of the bowl with shortening and cover the bowl with a warm towel. Set by the window and allow it it rise (approx 1.5 hours). When it has risen over the bowl punch it down and place on a floured service.
Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.
Cut dough into two pieces and roll them out into a rectangle. Roll the dough up and place into 2 greased bread pans.
Let the bread rise again, and when it looks like a good loaf of bread place them in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. When the bread is done, coat the top with butter and remove onto a cooling rack.

Recipe from
Makes 2 loaves

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Garlic Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

A friend posted this recipe on facebook , and I usually don’t follow those links! But I am so glad that I did! I don’t make pork recipes very often and this is the perfect addition to my few pork recipes that are worth making. This was extremely moist, flavorful, and crunchy all at the same time.

Garlic Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

4 1/2-inch pork chops, bone in
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 cup panko
olive oil for frying
4 cloves garlic

Spread parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Beat eggs in another shallow dish. Spread bread crumbs in a third shallow dish.
If needed, use a mallett to flatten pork chops to 1/2 inch thickness, any thicker and they will be hard to cook! Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Combine salt, pepper, sage, and thyme, and sprinkle generously over both sides of chops, pressing seasonings into meat with your fingers. Bread pork chops one at a time by first dredging seasoned chops in parmesan cheese, coating both sides completely, patting to adhere. Then, using tongs, carefully dip both sides of chops in egg mixture, letting excess drip back into dish to ensure thin coating. Finally, dip both sides of chops in bread crumbs, pressing crumbs with fingers to form an even, cohesive coating. Place breaded chops on wire rack set over baking sheet, allow coating to dry for about 5 minutes. (The recipe can be done ahead to this point; cover chops loosely with wax paper and refrigerate for up to one hour.)
Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat with enough olive oil to come halfway up the sides of the chops, about 1/4 cup. To flavor oil; stir in garlic, and cook until lightly browned. Remove garlic from skillet and discard or reserve for other uses. Increase heat to medium. When oil shimmers, add chops and fry 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy, or to an internal temperature between 150 and 160 degrees F. Drain on rack set over baking sheet, then transfer to a warm serving platter.

Recipe from

Serves 4