Pumpkin Spice Cookies

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We have found a new favorite to add to the cookbook. This evening my daughter headed to the kitchen to try out a cookie recipe she had tasted. It turned out to be as good as she had hoped! Definitely appropriate for the season. Tastes like pumpkin pie in the shape of a cookie.

OVEN: 350 degrees

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream together:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar

Add ...
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat until creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a non-stick cookie sheet.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients and cream until smooth. Use a generous amount to frost each cookie.

YIELD: 2 1/2 dozen cookies



>> Sunday, October 10, 2010

We woke up this morning to the first frost of the season. Definitely a good reason to pull together a cold weather favorite. Baked macaroni and cheese is a family favorite that seldom leaves left-overs. But on the rare occasion that there is some left, it tastes even better the second day!

This recipe originated with my mom ... we never ate mac-n-cheese from a box when I was growing up. It was a staple when I was first married, and has evolved over time. It became even easier to make with the purchase of our first microwave.

OVEN: 350 degrees

2 cups favorite meat ... use ham, sausage, or kielbasa. Cook meat until tender and cube. Set aside. (I prefer to use kielbasa)

2 cups elbow macaroni - cooked 'til tender to bite in boiling water with a bit of cooking oil. Approximately 10 minutes. Drain and rinse macaroni. Set aside.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt 4 Tablespoons butter. Whisk in 4 Tablespoons flour until smooth. Slowly whisk in 2 cups milk. Cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and whisk thoroughly. Cook for another 4 minutes, stopping to whisk after each minute. Mixture should be thick and smooth. You may need to cook another 1-2 minutes depending on your microwave.

Shred 1/2 to 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese into the milk mixture. Whisk cheese in until melted. The amount of cheese will depend on personal taste. I use a very sharp cheddar (5X) from our local farm market.

Stir macaroni and sausage into cheese mixture. Pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Crush Cheez-It crackers (White Cheddar is our favorite) until you have 1 cup of cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over top of macaroni and cheese mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes until cracker crumbs begin to brown.

YIELD: 5-6 servings


Potato Cheddar Soup

>> Saturday, October 9, 2010

I very rarely cook from a box. Creating from scratch is far too much fun, and in my own opinion, often tastes better! However, now and again I come across a quick and easy, delicious treat in a box. I recently ordered Potato Cheddar Soup mix from a friend's Tastefully Simple party. While I happen to think my own potato soup is pretty good, it would sure be wonderful to mix up a quick and hearty pot of soup without all the chopping and mixing and simmering.

We were all cautiously optimistic 30 minutes after I popped open the box. None of us was disappointed! Six cups of water and the contents of the box mix ... with 4-5 slices of bacon crumbled in (optional) ... and we had four bowls of creamy, cheddary, potato soup.

So this is a non-recipe, recipe perfect for one of those cold fall or winter afternoons when you need something delicious in a short amount of time. And while the soup is simmering for 30 minutes, you'll have just enough time to mix up some Apple Walnut Muffins to serve warm with your soup. Your meal will still have that made from scratch touch!



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