Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not your traditional Pumpkin Pie...It is better!

I normally do NOT like pumpkin pie. I remember as a kid I would get so disappointed during the holidays because people always made pumpkin pie and pecan pie. As I kid I detested both and would opt out of dessert, those of you who know me are saying "WOW" right now (I LOVE dessert).

As I have gotten older I have found I do like a good pecan pie and I do like this pumpkin pie.


I use the Pillsbury refrigerated crust in the red box. It tastes as good or even better than most homemade crusts I have tasted. Put it in your own fancy pie plate, then poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork. Cover the edge of the pie with tin foil or a crust sheild. Put it on a rimmed baking sheet and throw it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Just until the crust is golden brown.

1 c heavy cream
1 c whole milk
3 large eggs plus two large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from a 15-ounce can or I used a yam I cooked the night earlier and threw in a little brown sugar.
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
2 tsp grated FRESH ginger (use the fresh stuff - trust me on this one)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt

While pie shell is baking whick ceam, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring it to a sputterng simmer over medium heat, 5-7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10-15 mins.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl, using a ladle or spatula to press solids through the strainer. (This may sound tedious or laborous but it only takes a few seconds and is worth it trust me!)
Next rewhisk mixture and pour into prebaked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to the oven and bake pie for 10 minutes.
Remove foil or crust sheild and reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking for about 20-35 mins. You will know it is done with edges of the pie are set (or insert thermometer in center until it registers 175 degrees.)

Let pie cool at room temperature 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve!

Enjoy your new favorite pumpkin pie!!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This was so quick and easy. Plus it was super yummy. I want to make it again and try throwing some shrimp & crab in.

This recipe serves 2 but they are pretty large portions. Throw in some extra pasta and it can feed four.

4 ounces linguine pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I used Tony's)
2 tablespoons butter (I used olive oil)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green onion, minced (I used regular onion cause that was all I had)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then throw in chicken and sprinkle Cajun seasoning on top and toss to coat. Saute chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers, and green onions; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in heavy cream. Season the sauce with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper and heat through. If you find your sauce too runny whip in some flour (like you would when making gravy.)

3. In a large bowl, toss linguini with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Other variations you can try is to add some snap peas or brocolli for a little additional nutrition. Good way to get those kids to eat veggies!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Best Ever Mac & Cheese

This is the adult version of my childhood favorite! I got this from a friend when I was living in Reno. It is great comfort food for cold Alaskan nights!

Serves 6


  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3-3/4 cups hot milk
  • 4 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1lb macaroni noodles cooked
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt 6 tbsp of butter in medium sauce pan over low heat.
  3. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes. You may have to turn up the heat. The flour mixture must foam as it cooks or the sauce will have a raw flour taste.
  4. Stir in cayenne and season to taste with salt & pepper.
  5. Whisk in hot milk, ½ cup at a time and cook, stirring until sauce thickens.
  6. Reduce heat to low and stir in 2 cups of cheese, stirring constantly until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
  7. Combine cooked pasta and sauce in large bowl.
  8. Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese over the bottom of a buttered 8x11 baking dish. Place a third of the pasta in the dish and top with ½ cup of cheese. Then repeat, layering pasta & cheese and ending with cheese. You should get about 3 layers.
  9. Pour cream over assembled mac & cheese.
  10. Melt remaining butter (2tbsp) in skillet, add bread crumbs. Stirring to coat.
  11. Sprinkle bread crumbs over mac & cheese.
  12. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
  13. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sweat & Sour Meatballs

This recipe is from a lady at church. I made it the other night with ground venison and it was delicious!
It is a pretty easy recipe but there are 3 major steps.
  1. First make the meatballs.
  2. Make the sauce.
  3. Combine both and cook together!
  • 13 oz can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups quick oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3lbs ground meat (I always use venison)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix everything together in a large bowl.
  3. Shape into balls and place on a foil lined cookie sheet
  4. Bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
These meatballs can be used in spaghetti or whatever kind of sauce you like. This time I made sweet & sour sauce!
Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • 1 and 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbls water mixed with 3 tbls corn starch
  1. In a medium pot dissolve sugar and water over medium heat.
  2. Add ketchup and vinegar and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn to medium low heat and stir in corn starch water mixture to thicken your sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Sweet & Sour Meatballs

  1. After sauce and meatballs are made, put meatballs in a casserole dish, add in whatever veggies you like. I added chopped carrots, purple onion, green onion and pineapple.
  2. Pour sauce over them and bake for 25 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a super yummy but very easy soup to make.
Those pieces of tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag work great for this recipe!

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
  • 1 cup white hominy (optional)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (or basically any kind of cooked beans. I use kidney beans because my husband detests black beans.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces or shredded
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped green onions
  1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute chicken in oil for 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Take chicken out and shred or chop it.
  2. Saute onion and garlic until soft.
  3. Stir in chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. (I like to simmer it for 45 minutes to an hour if I have time. It really brings out the flavors.)
  4. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, and cilantro. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle soup into individual bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream and chopped green onion.
  6. Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Orange Julius

For some reason today I was craving an orange julius. Maybe it was because the sun was shining, we are fighting colds and I was thirsty!

So I made myself one. It reminded me of how my mom made these when I was young.

Here is the recipe:

  • 6 oz. can frozen concentrated orange juice
  • 1 cup milk - any type - it also works well with soy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 ice cubes
  1. Pour all ingredients, except ice cubes, in a blender.
  2. Blend, adding ice cubes one at a time, until smooth.
  3. Sit back and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fish Fingers

This is a great recipe for kids and adults alike. Plus it is quick and easy!

I usually use halibut or Ling Cod. I haven't tried salmon yet but I bet it would work. My friend's 1 1/2 year old LOVED these. She kept saying, "More pish please."


  • Fish - cut into strips - about 2x2x2
  • Garlic - crushed
  • Olive oil
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Paprika (we use Hungarian paprika - my husband is part Hungarian and swears it is the best)


  1. Mix olive oil & garlic together on a plate or shallow dish.
  2. Pour bread crumbs onto plate & mix in parmesan and paprika (for color & flavor).
  3. Dip the fish in the garlic infused olive oil.
  4. Roll fish in bread crumb mixture.
  5. Place on foil lined cookie sheet. (I just use my silpat instead of wasting foil.)
  6. Bake 10 mins at 450 degrees.
  7. Enjoy!

I usually serve this with tartar sauce or ketchup if kids are present. They love dipping their food.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My First Cheesecake - sort of

The other night I decided to make a cheesecake. I got on and started searching for the best cheesecake recipe I could find. I have never made one before and after reading about cheesecake making I was a little scared.

Everyone said you have to put it in a water bath and let it cool for 8 hours in the oven etc...AYE! YAY YAY!!!

Plus, I don't have a spring form pan and was planning on using a pre-made graham cracker crust instead. Well I forged ahead anyway and was quite surprised at how well it turned out and how easy it was.

I didn't do a water bath so I thought it would crack big time. But I found out the trick is to let it cool in the oven for a couple hours. I left mine in the oven while I was at a meeting - for about 3 hours.

I thought this was a pretty good recipe. Mine turned out a little chunky & brown on top. However, the flavor was great. Next time I think I will try a no-bake cheesecake.

Chantal's New York Cheesecake

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Favorite Halibut Recipe

This is my favorite halibut recipe given to me by my dear friend Kendra!

The flaky phyllo keeps the halibut moist and delicious...makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Phyllo Wrapped Halibut for 2 (Very romantic)

Time: Prep 15 mins, bake 12-15 mins. Dinner's ready in no time!

2 tablespoons melted butter
4 sheets phyllo dough (thawed in fridge)
2 (5 ounce) halibut fillets
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill or another seasoning you prefer. I often try new ones (lemon pepper, jamaican, etc.) Get fancy!

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Lay 2 pieces of phyllo on counter, lightly fold in half but do not crease.
  3. Brush melted butter on the bottom sheet then fold the top sheet over and butter that one.
  4. Repeat with other side.
  5. Cut sheets in half.
  6. Place a fillet about 1 inch from the top edge of one of the halved sheets of phyllo. Sprinkle with dill or other seasoning.
  7. Fold the top of the phyllo over the fillet. Then fold in the sides of the phyllo and roll up your fillet. It is like a nice Christmas package!
  8. Place on a baking sheet, fold side down and lightly brush with melted butter. Repeat with remaining fillet.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven until pastry is puffed and light golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
I usually serve this with steamed broccoli and white rice.
Sometimes we like to have a little tartar sauce on the side. Others I know serve this with a lemon cream sauce but I found the sauce took away from the fishes yumminess.
I have also heard of people stuffing in spinach, onions, peppers, lemon slices, mayonaise, cream cheese, or other items with the fish. I have tried a few myself but always find it is best with just the fish. But get creative, you never know what genius idea you could come up with!
We have tried this recipe with a variety of fish (salmon, cod, sea bass, ling cod, red drum, sheep head etc.) and it always turns out great. Be sure your pieces of fish are no thicker than 1 inch, otherwise the phyllo will burn before the fish is done.


I decided to start this blog to share some of my favorite recipes and other info I find interesting with my friends!

I welcome you along for the ride :)