Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week Menu Planning

What a great week to cook - eat - share with family and friends.  This Mini Carrot Cake from Pampered Chef is easy and delicious.  See recipe below.

Tuesday - it is really snowy and cold here today - white out conditions so I am sticking with the gas stove top.  Chunky White Bean and Chicken Chili. I am going to make this one up as I go so I will post the recipe later this week.
Wednesday - Stuffed Shells, bread and salad
Also to do Wednesday: bake banana bread.  We always have banana bread while watching the Macy's Day Parade.  Prep pie crusts for Thursday.
Thursday:  Going to friends to share Thanksgiving dinner.  I am taking Green Bean Casserole, Pecan and Pumpkin Pie.  YUM.
Friday: I will do a version of our own Thanksgiving - roast a turkey and make the sides. I love having turkey to eat and have for sandwiches or pot pies.
Christmas Tree cutting on Sunday...tis' the season.
Happy Thanksgiving!

The Pampered Chef ®Mini Carrot Cake Cups
1 pkg (9 oz/250 g) yellow cake mix
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) allspice
1 egg
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
2 medium carrots, peeled, Grated, divided
Filling & Garnish
6 oz (175 g) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) thawed frozen whipped topping
Chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray each well of Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan with nonstick cooking spray. For cups, combine cake mix, allspice, egg and oil in Classic Batter Bowl; stir until ingredients are moistened. (Mixture will be very thick.) Stir 3/4 cup of the carrots into batter; set aside remaining carrots for garnish. Using Measuring Spoon, divide batter evenly among wells, filling wells about two-thirds full; bake 11-13 minutes or until cups feel firm to the touch.
2. Meanwhile, in clean Classic Batter Bowl whisk together cream cheese and sugar until smooth; fold in whipped topping. Spoon cream cheese mixture into reseal-able plastic bag; secure bag and set aside.
3. Remove pan from oven to Cooling Rack. Press tops of cups with lightly floured Mini-Tart Shaper to make slight indentations. Cool in pan 3 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan; cool 5 minutes. Trim corner of cream cheese-filled bag with Utility Knife; pipe filling evenly into cups. Garnish cups with chopped walnuts and reserved grated carrots, if desired.
Yield: 24 tartlets

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back of the House Cooking Class #2

My sweet friend gave me a cooking class for my birthday (I should turn 40 more often it's been awesome) and we went on Tuesday night to see what was cooking at Back of the House in Reno.  The class was full and everyone enjoyed a demonstration by chef and owner - Barbara Mills.  She's a hoot.  We have been to her school before and enjoyed it and this time was no different.  She demonstrated a Holiday Stuffed Pork Loin with Apricot Mustard Glaze, Wild Rice Salad with Champagne Vinegar dressing and pomagrante seeds, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis for dipping baked rice balls and Lemon Curd parfait.  Um...yum!
I will be making all of these things again this holiday season - maybe trying chicken instead of the pork for fun and will share the recipes that Barbara shared with us.  If you get to Reno, NV check out the class schedule and enjoy. 

White Gold

It is here - the snow.  We're enjoying a three day snow storm that promises to bring up to 2' of the white gold by Monday night.  We are well on the way.  14" on Saturday morning another 8" this morning and it is still coming down.  Better sweep off that patio furniture and get it in the shed I don't think we'll need it for a few months.  Weather plays a big part of our daily life here in the mountains and this pre-Thanksgiving storm is just what our local economy needs to ensure a good ski season.  Let it snow. 

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

I tried this recipe last night and it was delicious.  From Giada at Home on the Food Network.  I didn't have cremini mushrooms so I used button and I didn't have mascarpone so I used have cream cheese and half sour cream.  It worked and was yummy over wide noodles.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
  • 12 ounces dried fettuccine


Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.

While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss the fettuccine with 3 tablespoons of butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Swirl the fettuccine onto serving plates. Spoon the chicken mixture over top. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The 40th

I celebrated my 40th birthday this past weekend with good friends.  The only way to celebrate such a milestone.  My best girlfriends and I enjoyed pedicures and champagne and then shared a fabulous meal of seafood Cioppino with our families.  Topped off with Mix Cupcakes in four flavors: Pumpkin Spice, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate and Red Velvet.  Delicious.  The decorations were pink and sparkly and beautiful.  My family called me, sang, sent generous gifts and showered me with love.  My husband and son treated me like a queen for a day.  My favorite is the homemade birthday card from my boy.  What a terrific birthday.  Thank you every one of you - love you guys.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Menu Planning

Sunday - It is cool and rainy here today with a chance of snow that means soup. 
Baked Potato Soup.  I like this recipe from Cooking Light.
Monday- Baseball practice night means dinner around 8 pm so something fast and easy.  Spaghetti sauce and Trader Joe's meatballs with salad.
Tuesday - Beef Fajitas.
Wednesday - Dinner Out to celebrate my birthday week - Sushi.
Thursday - Pan Fried Hamburgers (or grilled if it's nice enough to grill out), Baked Potato and Sweet Potato Fries
Friday - Chicken and Pasta of some kind maybe Chicken, Artichoke Hearts and Lemons.

I also plan to throw some baking in this week.  Pumpkin muffins of bread for breakfast sounds good. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Best Fall Apple Cake

Fall is my favorite season.  So many good things about fall - including apples.  This cake is a favorite of my Mom's and I have made it a habit of making it at least once each fall.  Once may not be enough.  I made it in a rectangular pan - it is so much prettier in a bundt pan but this suited my needs this time around.  Caramel Apple Cake.  Enjoy.
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