Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Simple Bread Pudding

If you like bread pudding and want a simple recipe that will only take minutes to prepare, then this is the recipe for you. I am not a fan of raisins in my bread pudding, but they could easily be added. Caramel topping or vanilla flavored whipped topping goes very well with this bread pudding.

6-8 servings
6 slices day-old bread ( I like to use a brown sugar cinnamon bread)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Break bread into small pieces  and place in a lightly greased 8-inch baking pan.
2. Drizzle melted butter over the bread.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, beat until well mixed.
4. Pour over bread and lightly push down  with a fork until the bread is covered.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes  or until the top lightly springs back with tapped.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where Has The Family Dinner Gone?

Why have families gotten away from eating dinner together these days? The reasons are plentiful: lots of after school activities, both parents working longer hours and having longer commutes, kids would rather eat in front of the computer/game console/TV, no one having the time to actually prepare the meal and the list could go on and on.
When I was a kid, we ate together at least 5 or 6 nights a week and those dinners normally took place at home. Most families I knew did the same thing. If we went out to eat, we would still go out together. Many times these days, I will see families eating at a restaurant and each member of the family is on a different "device" whether it be a handheld gaming system or cell phone, checking the internet or texting. It seems sad that as a culture we have gotten away from the family meal and just the face to face time that it brings.

A lot of research has been done on this very topic and the results are fairly unanimous: eating together as a family, particularly in the home environment on a regular basis, brings many benefits- in the realm of healthier eating choices, better parent/child relationships, and emotional well-being.
Here are a few articles that examine this topic:

So, what can be done to help make family dinners happen more often? With the fast-paced lives most people maintain these days, it can be quite difficult. Prioritizing activities, limiting gaming/screen time and  planning meals ahead with easy yet nutritious recipes can go a long way to achieving this goal.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Italian Beef Hoagies

Italian Beef Hoagies are an easy crockpot recipe that are fabulous as a fall dinner idea and wonderful reheated as leftovers. Add a salad and a simple meal is complete.I highly recommend using a sirloin tip roast as some other cuts of beef may be too fatty.

14-16 servings
1 boneless sirloin tip roast (about 3-4 pounds)
2 envelopes Italian salad dressing mix
2 cups of water
Sub or hoagie buns

1. Cut roast in half and place in a 5-quart crockpot.
2. Combine the salad dressing mix and water and pour over the roast.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the meat is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.
4. Spoon onto buns.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Easy Apple Dumplings

I love this easy apple dumpling recipe any time of year, but definitely during the fall. I normally just use Golden Delicious apples, but any type that you prefer could be used.

Easy Apple Dumplings
8 servings

1 tube (8 ozs.) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 medium apples, peeled and quartered
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice

1. Unroll crescent dough and separate into 8 triangles.
2. Roll up one apple wedge in each triangle and pinch to seal.
3. Place in a greased 8-inch square baking dish.
4. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and butter to a boil; pour over dumplings. (The dumplings may float to the top).
5. Sprinkle with apple pie spice.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Creamy Italian Noodles

This pasta side dish is very simple to make and goes well with most chicken/beef main dishes. My kids love it and will eat several helpings. It would also be good with some chopped vegetables added in.

4-6 servings

1 pkg. (8 ozs.) wide egg noodles
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup whipping cream (can use half and half if you do not want it as rich)
2 tsps. Italian salad dressing mix
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle

1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. After draining, place in a bowl and toss with softened butter.
3. Mix the remaining ingredients together (except Parmesan cheese) and then pour over noodles, stirring well.
4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Free Ebook at Barnes and Noble

My free ebook, "Turkey Time: Recipes for a Home Cooked Thanksgiving Meal" can be downloaded directly from Barnes and Noble on to a Nook device. Link to it directly here:

Turkey Time: Recipes for a Home Cooked Thanksgiving Meal

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Swirl Fudge

This is a favorite treat for fall and holiday parties. People always think it is a big hunk of cheese and  are pleasantly surprised to find a piece of candy that tastes just like an orange creamsicle. I believe I found this recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine.

Makes 2 1/2 pounds                                                                     

1 1/2 tsps. plus 3/4 cup butter (no substitutes), divided
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 pkg. (10-12 ozs.) vanilla or white chips
1 jar (7 ozs.) marshmallow creme
3 tsps. orange extract
12 drops yellow food coloring
5 drops red food coloring

1. Grease 13X9X2 inch pan with 1 1/2 tsps. butter
2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cream and remaining butter.
3. Cook and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
4. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 4 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat; stir in chips and marshmallow creme until smooth.
6. Remove 1 cup and set aside; add orange extract and food colorings to remaining mixture, stir until blended.
7. Pour into prepared pan.
8. Drop the reserved marshmallow mixture by tblsp. over top; cut through mixture with a knife to swirl.
9. Cover and refrigerate until set; cut into squares.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fabulous Fettucine Alfredo

Fabulous Fettucine Alfredo makes a nice fall meal with some garlic bread and a tossed salad. It is fast and easy to put together and can be made with or without chicken.
4-6 servings
3/4 pound fettucine
6 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper ]
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1. Brown chicken and cut into small bite-size pieces.
2. Cook fettucine in a pot of boiling salted water until pasta is done.
3. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
4. Add shallots and saute until tender.
5. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil.
6. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes; remove from the heat.
7. Mix chicken into sauce mixture.
8. Add 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese to the mixture and stir until well blended.
9. Drain the fettucine and stir into the alfredo sauce.
10. Top with leftover Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.