Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

 

I can never do anything normally, can I? Nooooo, not me. Other bloggers post lovely recipes for cranberry orange this and cranberry orange that and make us all run to the store to grab 78 more bags of cranberries to add to the 312 we already have in the freezer because what they create looks so enticing. But not me… I just HAVE to change it up some. Why, you ask? You did ask, didn’t you? I heard someone mumbling out there. Why? I don’t know. I just have to be different. I’m a rebel like that. Or something.

Mind you, I love cranberry orange anything and I may post something a wee bit more “normal” before the holidays are over, but not today.

Tidbit- when my 17 year old son Zach got home from church last night, one of the first things he did was snag a slice (like half the loaf…he’s 17, after all) of this bread. He then wandered to where Russ and I were watching TV and said “Now that’s just weird. This TASTES like Christmas. What the … I took a bite and it just tastes like Christmas.” My reaction was a pleased smile and a “that’s what i was aiming for so I’ll call this recipe a success”. Coming from a young man whose usual response to food is “Snarf….gobble…snort, slurp, kjgJfJfg, more…”  I consider this a great reaction.

And he’s right. This really does taste like Christmas. You have a moist bread with a lovely dark chocolate flavor first, then you are hit with the background of orange and cranberry. The bread itself isn’t overly sweet, so the pieces of chocolate are a pleasant surprise when you get them as are the cranberries. Then the glaze just takes this over the top to complete yumminess.

You know the drill… :-)

I love you guys!

Mrs. Cupcake, who has eaten far more of this than I should have

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons orange extract
  • zest from one orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT drink mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda
  • 2/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract and orange extract. Beat until combined then add in the sour cream and beat just until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, orange zest, baking powder and baking soda. Dump the chocolate chips and cranberries into the same bowl and give it a quick stir to combine and get all the pieces dusted with the flour. This helps prevent them all from settling down to the bottom of the loaf.
  4. Pour/spoon into the prepared loaf pan (this is a thick batter). Smooth the top. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  6. When cool, make you glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon of the orange juice to it and stir. If it’s still too thick to drizzle, add the other tablespoon of o.j. Drizzle over the cooled loaf and sprinkle with some dried cranberries.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

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Lemon Chicken Thighs (Blogger C.L.U.E.)

Lemon Chicken Thighs

Lemon Chicken Thighs



This is my second month as a member of “Blogger C.L.U.E.”. I mentioned last month that it’s a fun group that some of my fellow bloggers and myself are doing through Facebook where each month, we recreate a recipe from the blog of one of the other members. Man, that was one heck of a run on sentence! As I was saying, we recreate a recipe from a fellow group member. It’s all done in secret. We get assignments and until the reveal day, we don’t who had our blog nor does the person we got assigned know we have them.
This month I got Lea Ann from the blog Cooking On The Ranch . Her blog was new to me and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve found. She has a good variety of recipes, from ethnic recipes to recipes that scream American to others that she terms as “no recipe required”, but that are so simple that she pretty much just lays out what you need to do with a certain set of ingredients.

The theme for this month was “foods your grandmother would have cooked”. Well, I unfortunately didn’t know either of my grandmothers enough to say what they would have cooked, so I twisted the theme a little. I’M a grandma so I did it more as what might be the type of foods my own grandkids could conceivably end up with memories of ME cooking. After looking through her whole blog a couple of times, I found myself continually coming back to one titled Lemon Chicken Thighs which came under the “No Recipe Required” category. Was it simple? Extremely so. Did that mean it was boring? On the contrary… this was delicious.

Generally, we are supposed to keep the recipes as close to the original as possible and for the most part, I did that. The recipe called just for salt and pepper as well as the lemon slices put underneath the chicken thighs as they roasted. The only thing I did differently was to shove some sliced onion in the pan and add some Tuscan Seasoning to the chicken because the flavors in it (oregano, basil, thyme, etc) go so well with lemony dishes. The onions were just because they smell fabulous when roasting and while they don’t add flavor to the chicken, they add it to the drippings and I love to use those on rice or potatoes :-) I also squeezed some lemon juice on top of the chicken to make sure both sides had that lemony flavor.

You all know the drill! Get to cooking! This is a wonderful and very easy weeknight “I need to get dinner made quickly” sort of meat. Add some sides and there you go. I’m going to do this the same way Lea Ann did and not post it as an actual recipe, but more just as a process. I know that’s not how I typically do things, but this is so darn easy, it works great that way!

Lemon Chicken Thighs

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Thinly slice two lemons (I used three so that I had some lemon to squeeze on top). Overlap them in a baking pan, two or three at a time, then lay a chicken thigh on top of each grouping. Obviously if you are using a lot of chicken, increase the lemon to suffice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper . (I also used some McCormick Tuscan Seasoning on top of my chicken and squeezed some lemon juice on top) Roast at 425 for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear and the skin is all nice and crispy. Aim for an internal temp of about 170 for dark meat.

That’s it. Could it be any easier!? I promise, it couldn’t be any tastier!

Here are the other bloggers participating in Blogger C.L.U.E. this month. Go check them out and see what deliciousness they all created! Somewhere in there is something from right here on my blog!

Eggnog Magic Cake

Eggnog Magic Cake

Eggnog Magic Cake




I love eggnog. There; I said it. “I’m Janet and I’m an eggnogaholic”. And I have no plans to seek help. I’m also a fruitcakeaholic , which, when seen eating huge chunks of it and yes, actually enjoying the chunks of candied peel and neon red things which used to be cherries, has been known to make dogs pee themselves and small children scream in terror.
But, back to eggnog. I love it. I tend to go through about 3 half gallon containers by myself during the Christmas season. I snatch one up when I first see it near Halloween and make sure to keep my supply around through January so I have a constant fix. But up until a couple of years ago, I had never cooked with it. I was too busy hoarding my supply… hiring bodyguards, chaining Dobermans to the fridge, setting up motion sensors to catch my sons in the act of swiping my eggnog, to take the time to cook with it.

Hey.. wake up and.work with me here. I can’t be funny ALL the time! Ok, I’ll rephrase… I can’t be mildly humorous, even if only to myself, all the time. I’m bound to have off days.

I got the idea for this cake from my other magic cake, the Snickerdoodle Magic Cake . It occurred to me that store bought eggnog, that sweet, overly thick, utterly delightful product, would make a wonderful magic cake. What, some of you are asking, is a “Magic Cake”? No, it’s not something conjured up by Houdini. It’s called magic because you take a very thin cake batter, bake it and it “magically” separates into three distinct layers, a top and bottom that are cakey and a middle custardy layer. Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows that one of my major weaknesses isn’t so much for sweet, but for creamy. Flan, custards, puddings, savory cream sauces, you name it, they bring me to my knees. So magic cakes are a natural go to for me…and my hips…and my thighs…and my butt. Luckily, my husband likes my tush, so it’s all good.

You know the drill… :-)

Love you guys!

Mrs. Cupcake Of The Hefty Butt

Eggnog Magic Cake

    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring (optional)
    • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
    • 2 cups dairy eggnog (store bought is preferable in this case over homemade), lightly warmed
    • 3/4 cup flour, whisked together with 1  teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg for dusting the top of the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil.
  2. In a small bowl, at high speed, beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the cream of tarter until stiff peaks form, about five minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, at high speed, beat together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until pale yellow and creamy looking.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture. Now, use a whisk to slowly whisk in the warm eggnog, then mix in the butter and finally, fold in the egg whites.
  5. Pour this into the prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees until the top is a nice light golden brown and the top is firm but still jiggles some when shaken, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool in the pan until completely cooled or refrigerate, then carefully use the foil to lift the whole thing out onto a board to cut into serving sized pieces. Dust with the powdered sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture. Serve.

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Peppermint Bark Flourless Chocolate Cake

Peppermint Bark Flourless Chocolate Cake


As I was perusing… I love the word perusing… I also love the words Beijing, Machu Picchu, Monkey and Pretoria.  What? Why are you looking at me that way? I like words. I’m a blogger. It stands to reason that words would make me happy. They’re my life, man! My livelihood! My reason for living!

Sorry. I’m done now.

Erhmmm, as I was perusing the blog the other day, I noticed that it had been 12, I’ll type that again as a word…(I like words. have I mentioned that?) TWELVE, posts since I had done anything chocolate. And even then, it wasn’t pure chocolate. It was cookies that merely involved chocolate chips. Not that that’s a bad thing. But it’s not the type of chocolate that makes one swoon. It’s not the type of chocolate that leaves you gasping for breath and thinking that you never want to eat chocolate again. Or for at least an hour. It’s not the type of chocolate that has you planning secret hideaways into the closet, leaving your six year old naked, shivering and waiting for his bath as you whisper sweet nothings to the chocolate.

This isn’t just me, is it?

Sorry. I’m done now. Maybe.

This is pure chocolate overload… pure chocolate nirvana…pure chocolate…

Sorry.

This is yummy. I have made a flourless chocolate cake before here on the blog and I won’t tell you that this is miles away from that one in preparation and baking. This one is, however, gussied up for Christmas. It looks like a huge round of peppermint bark. And rather tastes like it too. It’s dense, fudgy, outrageously rich and decadent (this uses a pound each of chocolate and butter, after all) and totally over the top delicious. You can’t eat but a sliver of this at a time (closet hideaways notwithstanding) so it goes a long way, making it perfect for a party. Make this at Christmas and Santa will bring you diamond rings, houses, BMW’s, your own pool boy named Juan. Ok, maybe not.

You know the drill…. :-)

Love you!

Mrs. Cupcake

Peppermint Bark Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 16 ounces good quality semi sweet or dark (not too dark or the cake will be bitter) chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 9 eggs (yes, nine)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (candy canes work great)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch springform pan (you can get this size at Wal mart) and set the pan on a baking sheet. This is in case of any leakage.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate, butter, sugar, salt and cream. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, to melt the chocolate and butter. Make sure to stir it all up and get this nice and smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and peppermint extract. Slowly whisk in half of the chocolate mixture. Again, slow is the key so you don’t scramble the eggs. You want to slowly temper them. Return the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, stirring to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 2 hours, then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. When the cake comes out of the oven, it will look puffy, then will fall and sink. This is what it’s supposed to do, so don’t panic and think you did something wrong.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the white chocolate and cream. Microwave for 35 seconds on high, then stir. It should be melted. If not. put it back in for about 5 seconds. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cake, then sprinkle with the crushed peppermint.
  6. Cut into thin slices to serve. It’s easiest cut with a knife run under hot water, then wiped dry.

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Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder 2


I have never been a big soup person.  I like it and even keep a stockpile of chunky soups in case the zombie apocalypse occurs, but it’s not generally something I crave. So when a recipe title (with no ideas attached btw,…just a title, because this is how my brain works.) popped into my head last night while I was trying to sleep, I knew I had to run with it.

Why does that happen, anyway!? Lalalalaa, I’m laying here all drowsy…ahhh, beautiful sleep is upon me…wait for it… CRAP… I forgot to check the kids…I need to sew that button on…I forgot to buy eggs…the cat is impeding my breathing by laying on my neck…I need to pee…and oh yeah, here’s a recipe title with no further info. You have fun trying to sleep now!  Signed- your brain.

Sorry. I’m done now. Where was I? Soup…

I, like 4,356,982 other Americans, had a bunch of turkey left over from Thanksgiving. When one buys a 20 pound turkey for 5 people, this is bound to happen. But do I ever learn? Nooooooo… not me. I continue to cook as if I have five children living with us, or like when my daughter, son in law and three kids lived with us. Mind you, two teens, a 51 year old man, myself and a six year old can eat a fair amount, but still. A 20 pound turkey?! Am I insane?!! Forget I asked that.

I’m going to move past all the tangents. I am obviously not capable of writing a coherent post today. Call it turkey tuckered…cranberry coma, potato pooped, stuffing somnolence, pecan pie peaked…sorry. I’ll stop now.

This was one of my throw together ideas. All I had was a name that came at 2am. My husband is fond of saying that my best recipes are the ones I just throw together. The problem being that, half the time, I then forget what I used and you never see these delightful recipes because I am over here foaming at the mouth trying to recall ingredients. Thus why I’m typing this out with a bowl of this yummy chowder in front of me. This really is a delightful chowder…or “chowdah” as my sister in law would say, being the proud Bostonian she is. This is thick and hearty and warming and soothing and any other cozy adjectives that come to mind. It is chock full of turkey, bacon and two cheeses. Since you use leftover turkey and already made mashed potatoes, this comes together quickly. A 30 minute or so simmer and there you go… nice hot, creamy chowder. Erhmmm, chowdah.

You know the drill… btw…. I love you guys!

Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 lb sliced mushrooms (optional- most of us loved them, but my husband whined. If you have a mushroom hater, omit them if you desire)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 4 cups chopped cooked turkey (I used all breast meat; use what pleases you)
  • 3 cups half and half or whole milk, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (homemade, store bought form the refrigerated section, whatever)
  • 12 ounces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, 1 tablespoon drippings reserved
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded, plus more for garnish
  • 4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste (I would usually give measurements, but bacon varies in it’s saltiness and pepper love varies. I used about a teaspoon of each)
  1. Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. I use my purty blue 4 qt dutch oven because…purty.
  2. Add in the chopped onions, chopped celery, garlic and mushrooms (if using). Stir to combine, cover then saute over medium heat until softened and the onion is lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add in the chopped turkey. Stir,and heat just long enough to thoroughly warm up the turkey, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add in 2 1/2 cups of the half and half (or milk) and the mashed potatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Do not let this boil.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the last 1/2 cup half and half and the 2 tablespoons flour. Pour the slurry into the chowder and stir to combine. Continue stirring until mixture thickens up somewhat, about 3 minutes. If it’s too thick for your taste, add a wee bit more milk or cream.
  6. Add in about 3/4 of the bacon and the reserved one tablespoon of drippings. Add in the cheese and 2 green onions. Stir constantly until the cheese is melted and completely incorporated in the chowder. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes just to meld the flavors, stirring frequently
  7. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining bacon, cheese and green onions. Serve with crusty bread and a salad and you have a perfect meal.

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Eleven Recipes For Thanksgiving

PicMonkey Collage



You ladies (and the spare gentleman or three), ready for Thanksgiving? Ready for leftovers, ready to OD on pumpkin? If not, I thought I’d throw together a post compiled of recipes that will help you finish getting ready for Turkey Day and one for what to do with the leftovers. Plus, I’m just tossing in a handful of my favorite Autumnal/cold weather recipes too, just because I love you and they are delicious. :-D You’re welcome.

 

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple Honey Frosting

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes & Maple Honey Frosting

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes & Maple Honey Frosting

Those cupcakes are perfect if you have kids coming over for Thanksgiving or people who like treats other than the ubiquitous pies.

 

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

This cake is absolutely wonderful! Even with just the five of us and three pies all ready to go, I’m making this again also.

Creamy Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

These were soooo good! A great way to use up (at the time) leftover chicken and I’m looking forward to making them again with leftover turkey. Did I mention that I’m insane and bought a 20 pound turkey for just the five of us? Yes, feel free to call the men with the little white jackets; I fully deserve that fate.

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Here’s another for the non pumpkin people. This is a wonderful cheesecake and ultra chocolatey.

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

You have to have bread of some sort! Some people aren’t fond of yeast breads (weirdos!), so this is a great alternative.

Three Cheese, Pancetta And Fig Scones

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

I totally love these scones! The sweet/salty flavor is a perfect go along for most meals, including Thanksgiving

Oatmeal Rolls

Oatmeal Rolls

Oatmeal Rolls

These are our family’s favorite rolls. I know, the picture is atrocious. it was an early blog post. But don’t let that fool you. These are soft and fluffy, full of flavor and completely addictive.

Back to sweets! :-D

Deep Dish Pecan Pie

Deep Dish Pecan Pie

I would happily live on pecan pie if given the chance. Each year, my husband has to pry me away from the pie plate and make me eat something nutritious.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel bars2

Pretty much everybody has a pumpkin pie recipe that they faithfully use every year, but you don’t have this. Trust me, you want this. Have I steered you wrong yet?

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

Really…. do I need to say much here? Apples, caramel, streusel. Enough said.

Last but not least- you have to have cranberry sauce. Make this one. Again…trust me.

Brandy Spiked Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce

This is a totally amped up version of cranberry sauce. You can omit the brandy if you want to, but….why? :-P

 

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Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken (Or Turkey) Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas




I know, I know. Right now, all blogs, including mine, are supposed to be all about turkey, apples, pumpkin, cranberries and other holiday foods. Well, I WAS going to do a variation on pumpkin pie that I found online, but as I mentioned on my facebook page, it sucked. I mean, this was horrid. We ended up throwing out half of it and this is a household that can never get enough pumpkin pie, so that alone tells you something. So, for the last few days, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what to post. The problem being that my brain is on hiatus due to a cold. Last I heard from it was a postcard saying it was in the Cayman Islands, sitting on a beach, soaking up the sun while drinking a Mai Tai. Damn brain…always leaves when the going gets tough.
I was just about to post something really fun, like liver and onions with a side of brains and eggs *gags just a wee bit* when it occurred to me that the impromptu dinner I was making was a perfect blog post. Quit glaring at me… I am well aware that one can find approximately 452,968 recipes for white chicken enchiladas online, but this is MY recipe and you all love me best. Right? Right? *hears crickets chirping and moves on*
Did I mention that this recipe uses cooked chicken, a la store bought rotisserie or leftover home cooked and that you could very easily swap out cooked leftover turkey in here? So see, I HAVE done something that is perfect for Thanksgiving. Well, the day after anyway. Serve some pumpkin pie for dessert and it’s like Thanksgiving all over again.

This was my way to use up leftover roast chicken we had. I had made two chickens because well…males. But then my 17 year old stayed at a friends house and we ended up with a ton of it leftover. I looked at a few recipes for chicken enchiladas but none of them appealed. I’m not a fan of cumin or coriander used plain (though I like them in blends) so I just threw this together my way. This isn’t difficult at all. Just saute your onions and garlic, add some ingredients to it, mix with the chicken, roll in tortillas, cover in sauce and bake.  I originally started this with corn tortillas but they were so darn small that I went to taco sized flour ones. But for a twist, I took a corn tortilla and layered it inside of each flour one to give the best of both worlds. It added another layer of flavor that we liked well enough that I think I’ll do it like this from now on.

These are creamy and cheesy and meaty with a mild bite but nothing too intense. With already cooked chicken, you can have dinner on the table in an hour. These are also large enchiladas so even though this makes just six, each enchilada could possibly serve two, depending on whom you’re feeding.

Well, you know the drill…. :-)

Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas

  • 5 to 6 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken (or turkey) (one whole chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos (I used the jarred kind…less work)
  • 2 4 ounce cans chopped or diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning
  • 1 package McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning
  • 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, mixed with-
  • 1/2 pound colby or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 taco size (the big tortillas) flour tortillas (I used Trader Joes Chili and Onion flavored ones)
  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch pan (I prefer glass for these) Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan. Add the onions, garlic and jalapenos and saute over medium heat until the onions are soft and limp. Add in one can of the chopped green chiles. Add in the chicken, Mrs, Dash seasoning and white chicken chili seasoning. Stir well to thoroughly mix.
  2. Heat the tortillas for 45 seconds on high in the microwave. They should be hot and pliable. If not, put them back for up to 30 more seconds.
  3. Lay one corn tortilla on top of a flour tortilla. Top with one sixth of the chicken mixture, then top with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cheese. Fold over as tightly as you can (it will be full, so don’t pull too tight or you’ll bust it) to wrap and lay, seam side down in the prepared time. Repeat this five more times to get 6 enchiladas. Set aside.
  4. In a medium pan, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over it and mix well. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, slowly being the operative word or you’ll end up with lumps. When you have all the broth stirred in, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Add in the remaining cheese and second can of chopped green chiles. Stir in the heavy cream and sour cream and whisk to combine.
  5. Pour the sauce carefully over the enchiladas. Bake at 350 until hot, lightly browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with cilantro, salsa or picante sauce and more sour cream if desired.

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Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars



I am notorious for totally sucking at making apple pies. I add far too much cinnamon and don’t slice my apples thinly enough, leaving some pieces half raw and others too mushy. I also stunk at pie crusts.  Well, I used to be anyway. For holidays, I STILL tend to buy Marie Callendars Dutch Apple Pie. Why, if I no longer suck? Cause 1) I’m lazy and 2) I love them, so I keep using the whole “I stink at making apple pies!” excuse. Sooner or later, my husband will catch on that I continue to buy $8.00 pies when I could just as easily make one for half the cost, but for now, when Thanksgiving day gets here, I have a Marie Callendar pie waiting in the freezer. Darlin’, if you’re reading this, I’m lying right here…honest, I still stink at making pies *bats lashes and looks innocent*

But, to be honest, I may just leave that pie in there this year and make these bars. I had originally planned on a bar that could be more hand held and had a double crust. But, as happens with me often, and with a lot of bloggers, it morphed into something different. This is still caramel apple pie, but less hand held bar (even though it was done is a square pan) and more “cut a slab of this bad boy, put it on a plate and smother it in caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream” sort of pie. It CAN be hand held, if you’re on the run, since it’s not drippy unless you put far too much caramel lol. But it’s really more of a plate dessert.

This is more multi-step than I usually do, but none of those steps are difficult. Make the dough for the crust and while it’s chilling, prepare your streusel and the pie filling. Then roll out your dough, put it in the pan, top with the filling, then top with the streusel. Voila… ready to go. You DO need to let this cool until it’s completely cool however. Really, with any fruit pie, you should do that. How many times have you cut a warm pie and ended up with half of the filling oozing out into the pan? Let it cool and if you want it warm, you can nuke it for 30 seconds. Trust me. It will set up firmer and not be an oozing mess. Once ready to serve, cover it as desired in caramel sauce (in my case, about 8 or 9 cups worth) and maybe some ice cream. Eat, Enjoy. Thank me. Oh..this crust makes enough for two, so if you’re not wanting to double up the filling and streusel and make two pans, just freeze the other half of the dough until you need it. It never hurts to have some on hand.

Caramel Apple Pie Streusel Bars

  • Crust- (lightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 2/3 cup solid shortening, cold
  • 6 to 10 tablespoons ice water (the original recipe called for 4 to 5, but that was nowhere near enough)
  • Filling-
  • 5 1/2 cups cored, peeled and chopped (bite sized chunks) apples, about 5 apples. I used a mix of tart and sweet apples
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup Kraft caramel bits (found in the baking aisle)
  • Streusel-
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups oats (NOT instant)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • caramel sauce for topping
  1. Make the crust- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×9 square pan with foil, using two long pieces, each going in the opposite direction. (line one way, turn pan, line the opposite way, so that all four sides of the pan have a layer of foil) In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and shortening until it looks like small pebbles or peas.
  2. Add the ice water, no more than 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add water until the dough comes together when mixed and isn’t sticky, just firm and holding itself together when pressed. Wrap dough in foil or plastic and chill while you make the streusel and filling.
  3. Streusel-
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until it is crumbly with, again, pea sized pieces. It’s ok if some chunks are a bit larger. Set aside.
  5. Filling-
  6. In a large bowl, toss the apple chunks with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the flour, spices and sugar. Pour over the apples and mix well, making sure to stir from the bottom, as the flour will settle. Add in the caramel pieces and stir well.
  7. Put together-
  8. Get your chilled dough. Cut in half and store half for later use. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out into a square that measures about 2 inches larger than the pan, about 11×11. Easiest way to gauge- just hold the pan upside down over the dough and eye how large it is. If you need more dough, just use some from the saved half. That half can still be used for mini tarts or tassies. Gently (I use a dough scraper) lift the dough up and lay it in the pan. Press gently down into the pans, going up the sides about 2 inches. If it is uneven, carefully cut tiny bits off of the higher areas and use it to patch onto the shorter ones.
  9. Pour the filling over the prepared crust, smoothing top. Sprinkle the streusel over the filling. Bake at 375 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, about 60 to 70 minutes.
  10. Let cool in the pan until completely cool. Cut and serve, drizzling (pouring copious amounts of…) caramel sauce on top of each piece, reheating for about 30 seconds in the microwave is desired.

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Crispy Tandoori Smashed Potatoes (And a Blog Swap!) #BloggerCLUE

Crispy Tandoori Spiced Smashed Potatoes




I think I have mentioned before that I have a strong love for the not so usual ethnic foods. I mean, I enjoy the ubiquitous Italian, Chinese and Mexican (most of which will be sadly Americanized), but when I really get excited is when I try something Indian or Thai or Middle Eastern. It all starts with the smells. The scents of what, to most Americans are, exotic spices, wafting through the house, just makes me happy. It also make me drool copiously but I just wear a bib and hope no one notices. It’s a cute bib with little pink duckies. Wait…too much info? Then the flavors, which may be familiar to those who grew up with them, but to my American palate, are still exciting, even though I have been eating and cooking “foreign” foods for close to 2 decades now.

So the following recipe is one I was so happy to find. I mean, what more does one need? It sends wonderful smells through the house while at the same time, it’s not so unusual as to make my kids balk. It also is made with potatoes that end up ultra buttery and ultra crispy. Crispy potatoes ftw!!

How did I get this recipe, you say? I was asked by a dear friend if I wanted to be part of a facebook based blogger group called Blogger C.L.U.E. Society (ok, so she actually said I had no choice so I may as well just gracefully accept) where, every month, we feature a recipe from a fellow blogger in the group. The twist is that we don’t know who has who until the day the blog posts go live and, the challenging part for me, as is obvious to anyone who has been reading here for a while, is that we can’t really modify the recipe. We are to keep it the way it was written. Do you have ANY idea how hard that was for me?!  We search the blog we are given for a recipe fitting that months theme- this months is “Food that you’d love to have on your Thanksgiving table”. I was all over that theme. You all know how much I love the foods this time of the year. This month I was tickled to get the blog Lawyer Loves Lunch. Azmina was a new blogger to me; I’m not sure how I had missed her! I love her dry wit and writing style and I absolutely LOVE these potatoes Crispy, buttery and they made my house smell fantastic. I will still have to make regular mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving or my family will lynch me, but I also plan on making a batch of these.

You know the drill…. :-)

Crispy Tandoori Smashed Potatoes

  • 1 lb mini Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper
  1. Boil potatoes in a large pot in salted water until they are easily pierced but not falling apart.
  2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with oil (I also lined mine with foil to make cleanup quicker). Line up the potatoes on the sheet with about 2 inches between each one.
  3. Use a potato masher to smash each potato. You want more or less flat potatoes with nice ridges on them, to help hold all the buttery goodness.
  4. In a small bowl, microwave the butter and spices. Brush each potato with some of the spiced butter.
  5. Bake at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and crispy and browned around the edges.

What did we think- we loved them! Like I said up there, buttery, crispy potatoes with a ton of flavor. What’s not to love?

What would I maybe change up next time?-  I think I might add a bit more of the spices, plus maybe add some curry powder or garam masala.  Otherwise, not a thing. These are delicious!

There are some other bloggers in this group who you really need to check out. I have a list for you of everyone who is participating. Go and give them a look and see who they got and what delicious recipe THEY chose to make! Somewhere in there you’ll find the person who got my blog *bites nails nervously* I don’t know who it is, just know that I hope they liked whatever they created!

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Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake



I have always loved cranberries in anything. When I was a kid, my mom always got the canned cranberry sauce during the holidays. You know the kind…. it slithers out of the can with a juicy plopping noise and has ridges on it from the can. I loved it and would eat all of it when no one was looking (sorry, Steve) Know what? I still love it. But even more than that, I love other cranberry filled treats. Every year, I make homemade cranberry sauce (as well as having the plopping canned kind). I love to spice it up with orange zest and spices and use brown sugar instead of (or in conjunction with) white sugar. All of that adds so much depth to the sauce. So, years back, when I saw a recipe for Ina Gartens Easy Cranberry Apple Cake; a saucy fruit bottom covered by a dense cake, in a November issue of “Womans World” (I admit to a strange liking for that magazine even still), I cut that page out and knew I would make it someday.Well, it took me about 6 years or so, but I have finally made it. And, oh…..my…gosh…. I am totally in love!

You all know I don’t rhapsodize over foods that often. I’ll say, “this was wonderful” or even “this was amazing”, but then I leave it at that. But not this time.. This time I am telling you that you have got to make this cake. It looks so simple when you read the recipe and when you see the finished cake…. just a homey little cake. But once you try it, if you have any love for cranberries, you will find yourself planning out how to store many extra bags of cranberries this season so you can continue to have this year round. It is sooooo good! I’ll be making this for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for groundhog day, for Herbert Hoovers birthday, when the groundhog sees his shadow (or when he doesn’t)  I changed this enough to make it more to my families liking. Not enough to warrant saying it’s no longer Inas recipe, but as uppity as it may sound to some, I honestly feel that what I did only made this better. The original recipe only called for cinnamon (and a fairly scant amount) in the fruit part. I added extra cinnamon, extra orange zest, some cloves and used dark brown sugar. I also used about 1/2 cup more of chopped apples. The cake part was also fairly plain, not that that’s a bad thing. But I added some extra cinnamon to it as well as some orange oil (you could use orange zest if you don’t have orange oil) and extra vanilla and that was enough to make it go from good to “yum!”. The cake is unleavened, so it’s dense like a pound cake. Ina always calls for extra large eggs, which I never have, so when I use one of her baking recipes, I sub in an extra yolk for every two extra large eggs. The sweet, moist cake combined with the sweet tart fruit is amazing. Throw some lightly sweetened whipped cream on it and it takes it totally over the top.

You know the drill…. but I really stress it this time! GIT TO COOKIN’!

Cranberry Apple Cake

  • 1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped tart apple (it called for peeled, I didn’t bother peeling.)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled somewhat
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil (or 1 tablespoon orange zest)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup flour combined with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a ten inch pie plate, if, like me, you don’t have that, use a DEEP 9 inch cake pan. Not the typical shallow kind but one at least 1 inch deep. Wilton makes them for a good price. You could also probably sub a 13×9 pan, but watch your bake time.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, apples, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice,  cinnamon and cloves. Let sit while you make the batter.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer on medium, beat the eggs for two minutes. Add in the sugar, butter, vanilla, orange oil (or zest), and sour cream. Beat just until combined.
  4. On low speed, add in the flour mixture. Beat just until combined.
  5. Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, then pour the batter over the top of the fruit. Smooth again.
  6. Bake at 325 for 55 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the fruit is bubbly at the edges. Serve warm or at room temp. Then plan on making another. And another.

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