Browsing Tag

kitchen diaries

Kitchen Diaries: Pumpkin Applesauce

November 18, 2013




I’m finally warming up to autumn and all its chilly glory, so I thought I’d incorporate some fall-feeling food into my repertoire. Look no further than this pumpkin applesauce. It’s cinnammony and delicious, and makes a good pick-me-up snack served warm or chilled. Move over, Mott’s!


4 apples, chopped & peeled (any variety, but softer ones do work best)
1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick

Peel the apples and slice them into small cubes. Simmer the apples along with the rest of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir occasionally, and let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Mash the mixture with a fork to remove any chunks that are too big. Remove cinnamon stick. If you’re serving immediately, let it cool slightly. If not, add the sauce to clean jars while hot and store in the refrigerator once cooled.

This recipe yields about 29 ounces of applesauce, and I easily doubled it for this particular batch.

Variations: Out of convenience, I just used a little more than half of a can of Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin, as opposed to organic canned pumpkin, and I don’t think the recipe suffered any because of it. Don’t get me wrong, the recipe is pretty delightful as is. However, I wonder what it taste like to add half granulated sugar and half brown sugar. I didn’t want to compromise the recipe my first go-round, so I only added a sprinkle of brown sugar. This time I used Gala apples, but as a fan of the tangy tartness of Granny Smiths, I may try a mixture of apple varieties in the future. I’m also thinking of substituting sweet potatoes for pumpkin. Oooh, and in the summer I’d consider adding tropical fruit like mango and/or papaya for a cool sweet treat. So many possibilities!

Special thanks to Cupcake Rehab, where I found this recipe.

Kitchen Diaries: Taco Pizza

November 11, 2013




Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is: taco toppings on a pizza crust. And it was simply delightful (and a great way to polish off the leftovers from the tacos I made last week).

With a ready-made 7-inch pizza crust, I spread on a layer of refried beans with jalapeño. Next, I added small scoops of salsa, a layer of cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend and seasoned ground beef, and then another layer of cheese. I then baked the pizza for eight minutes. As it cooled, I cut it into quarter slices, and added a pinch of shredded lettuce and a generous dollop of sour cream.

I thought it was a nice change of pace from the dull of regular soft tacos, and much easier to eat than a Mexican pizza. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Kitchen Diaries: Chicken and Dumplings

October 29, 2013



The past few days have really felt like autumn, so I was in the mood for something hearty. I happened upon this fast and easy recipe for chicken and dumplings on Evernote Food and was eager to give it a go. Initial reports from the boo wop confirmed that this batch, my very first, was indeed delicious. This is sure to be in heavy rotation well into winter.

2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups frozen peas and carrots (or vegetable medley)
2 1/2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed creamy chicken mushroom soup
2 cups Bisquick mix
1/3 cup milk

To simplify things and save time, consider getting a precooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and dicing the the breast meat into cubes. Saute the celery and onion in oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of milk, frozen peas and carrots, chicken, broth and soup to a boil. Add sauteed onion and celery.

While that’s cooking, in small bowl, stir together the Bisquick mix and 1/3 cup milk until soft dough forms. As the ingredients are boiling, drop dough by 8 to 10 spoonfuls onto chicken mixture.

Cook, uncovered over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes more.

Lessons learned: When dicing the chicken, I’ll be sure to look out for small, stray bones making their way into the pot. At least one found its way inside of the pot, and we don’t want any chipped teeth or choking hazards. Also, the dish was flavorful on its own, thanks to the pre-seasoned rotisserie chicken; however, next time I’ll throw in some additional spices and seasonings just to make it my own.

Kitchen Diaries: Pepperoni Pizza Omelette

October 23, 2013




I can get used to this improvisation thing. I was looking for something to eat for a late breakfast and didn’t want a plain old omelette. Upon browsing through my fridge, I saw the makings of a pepperoni pizza minus the crust (after baking some homemade pizza for Monday night’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story movie viewing party), so I blended the two and came up with this delightful pepperoni pizza omelette.

Combining two eggs, pepper and some pizza seasoning, I proceeded to make an omelette, but added some pan-seared pepperoni and bell pepper, pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese inside. Amazing and simple! It was a pizza party in my mouth!

Kitchen Diaries: Key Lime Pie Revisited

September 25, 2013


As you may recall, exactly two months ago I tried my hand at a Key lime pie to some not-so-stellar results. “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again” was the mantra I had in mind when it gave it another go. And I’m glad I did because this pie is a tart little slice of heaven! Read all about my first attempt here.

Kitchen Diaries: Loaded Baked Potato

September 9, 2013



In an attempt to liven up the chili I made the day before, I decided to use it to make a loaded baked potato, topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and green onions. I’d say I succeeded!

Kitchen Diaries: Simple Breakfast Sandwich

August 26, 2013




Breakfast, as they say, is the most important meal of the day. Admittedly, I’ve been slacking on making sure I get a hearty meal in at the start of the day. I’m trying to do better, starting with this simple breakfast sandwich, which includes pan-seared Hebrew National hot dogs, scrambled cheese eggs and toasted whole-grain wheat bread. These were ingredients I already had in my fridge and just involved a little improvising. I’m happy to report that this quick, tasty sammy kept my belly full well into the afternoon.

Kitchen Diaries: French Toast

August 15, 2013




Growing up, French toast was a special breakfast treat served on Saturday mornings, and I can’t even remember the last time I had some. In the spirit of nostalgia — and satisfying my hankering — I whipped up a short stack for lunch. Needless to say, my stomach is happy.

Kitchen Diaries: Deviled Eggs

August 5, 2013



The stomach wants what the stomach wants, and it was pleased when I whipped up a quick batch of deviled eggs on Sunday afternoon. These random cravings of mine. … I promise I’m not pregnant. Haha.

Kitchen Diaries: Key Lime Pie

July 25, 2013


You can’t always knock it out of the park your first go ’round. Case in point: my attempt at making a Key lime pie. The recipe is simple enough, but I think it was my sub-par choice of ingredient that led me astray.

3 egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh (preferable) or bottled Key lime juice (about 24 to 30 Key limes)
1 9-inch graham cracker crust
Sweetened whipped cream (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and Key lime juice. Pour the lime custard into the prepared graham cracker crust. Bake about 15 minutes until filling has barely set. Remove from oven and let slowly cool until it is room temperature. Refrigerate. Place the Key lime pie in the freezer about 15 to 20 minutes before serving time. Slice and serve with a large dollop of whipped cream.

Lessons learned: While combining the yolks, condensed milk and lime juice, I noticed that the filling wasn’t as thick as it should have been. I think it’s because I bought an off-brand condensed milk that was runny. Next time, I’ll stick with the tried and true Carnation brand. To compensate for the liquid-y consistency of the filling, I placed the pie in the freezer for several hours. It proved to be a temporary solution, however, as the custard began to melt like ice cream while photographing the slice I had cut out. Also, for future reference, I eventually would like to invest in a handheld mixer to speed things up and ensure an even blend of ingredients.

I love my sweets, Key lime pie included, so I will definitely try again on this recipe.