Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

Hi!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!  I sure did!  My hubby and I got to spend it with my sister and her family in KY!   So, even though we live far from most of our family back in CO, I'm so glad that we live close enough to my sis to have Thanksgiving with them!  It was great to see her and her sweet family, and lots of great food was consumed!  :)

Anyway, since I am truly living in the South now and all, I thought I would make some chicken and dumplin's!   So here's my recipe, and it's a rather low fat version of this fave too!  Also, if you have leftover turkey you could substitute it for the chicken.  :)
Chicken and Dumplings
2 T. Butter
1 c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 t. Salt
1.5 c. Water
1.5 c. Chicken Broth (low sodium)
1.5 c. Carrots, diced
1.5 c. Celery, diced
2 c. Chicken Breast, cooked and diced
6 c. Skim Milk
4 c. Bisquick
~1.5 c. Milk (or water)

1.  In a large pot sauté the onion and garlic in the butter.  Add salt and continue to sauté until transparent.
2.  Add water and broth, then bring to boil and then add carrots. (Cook carrots for 5 minutes.)
3.  Add celery, chicken and milk and bring to boil.  (Cook for ~ 5 minutes)
4.  Make dumpling dough by mixing the bisquick and milk (or water).
5.  Then divide the dough into 4 sections.  Grab 1 section, roll it out and cut into squares like so....
6.  Drop the squares of dumpling dough into the boiling into the pot.
7.  Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all the dumplings are cooking in the pot.
8.  Turn down the heat some (so it doesn't overflow) and cook for about 3 minutes.
9.  Serve and enjoy!  :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Well, it's almost here!!  I just can't wait for Turkey Day either!!  I love it!  Food.  Family.  Thankfulness.  It's great!  :)  Anyway, I probably won't be on here much in the next few days because of the reasons listed above, and the food comas that accompany them! ;)

I hope you have an excellent Thanksgiving though!  Eat some turkey for me!  :)  And here are just a few things I am thankful for this year...

~The amazing all-knowing Creator, who is my Lord and Savior, and continually reveals His awesome plan for my life.

~My great husband, who is not only willing to put up with me, but actually loves me and wants to be on this journey called life with me!

~Our loving family!  Although most are so far away now, it's great to have so many people who love us!

~This blog.  It was just about 10 months ago when my dreams became a reality.  My experiments in the kitchen became more than just a shadow, but center stage!  :)

~Along with the last one, you, my readers!  I'm so thankful for great people who like to read about what I do! :)  You're the best!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Confessions of an Absentminded Foodie

So, tonight I was going to do a recipe post about a true to the south, finger licking good, cheesy broccoli casserole.  I had done all the prep this afternoon with pics along the way and it looked fantastic.  In fact, it even tasted fantastic.  (from the snitch I grabbed to ensure the final product would delight)  Anyway, I stuck it in the fridge for an hour or so, until I was going to cook it.  I got it out of the fridge, set it on the stove, preheated the oven and went about my business.

I had the car today, so I went to pick up the hubs from work and was telling him about the wonderful dinner we had waiting for us at home.  (Side note:  I usually don't leave things cooking/baking at home when I leave, but I thought this one time it would be fine...)  Anyway, we walk in the door to our place and I immediate go to the kitchen to pull out our delectable dinner.  (Like that alliteration?)  Only to find that I never got it in the oven.  :(  Sad day right?!?

So, since it had been out of the fridge (and not in the oven) for over an hour by that point, I decided that it was just about the perfect temperature to bread bacteria and other possibly bad things...especially since this casserole had milk and cheese in it...  So, sadly, my beautiful, yummy creation found its way into the trash and not into our tummies.  :(  I was seriously so disappointed and mad at myself over the whole silly thing too!

It was all ok though, because my sweets took me to dinner at Moe's--that great Southwestern Grill, that we'd eaten at last month.  So, at least we did get a good dinner out of it.  Moe's is a lot like Chipotle or Qdoba but with more of a Southwestern flair.  But still....I am bummed about that whole situation in my kitchen!  I guess I mostly just feel like it shouldn't happen to me of all people!  But....  Que Sera!  :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

We have a winner!

The 7th entry was:  Diana who said, "Love the logo!" and she is the lucky winner of the ADM apron giveaway!  Congrats!  I will be in touch with you about getting you the apron!  :)

Thanks to all tho entered!  Keep an eye out for a new giveaway once A Delicious Melody gets to 100 fans on Facebook!!  :)

Easy Pumpkin Crumble by Our Best Bites

Last year around this time my Mom told me about this great food blog called "Our Best Bites".  It's a really great site and that's where she found this recipe for Easy Pumpkin Crumble.  I made it for a Church gathering and it went over so well that I made it for Thanksgiving!  In fact, I think we got away with just having this instead of pumpkin pie, I might be wrong though.

Anyway, I've never been a fan of pumpkin pie, but I love, love, love this stuff!  In fact, I have been wanting to make it for a while now, but am waiting till Thanksgiving because I fear I will just eat the whole thing by myself otherwise!  It's THAT good!
Pic from: 

Check out their recipe here for Easy Pumpkin Crumble!  Did I mention it's super easy too??  And SO delish!  I'm sure the whole fam will enjoy!  :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

7 tips for lowering your Cholesterol

As you may remember a few months ago my hubby had a warning about high cholesterol.  This came as a huge shock to us mostly because of his age and active lifestyle.  I felt rather responsible since I am the resident foodie at ADM and I do about 99.9% of the cooking in our household.  So, I started making lots of changes in our eating habits.  I've talked about some of them here and there for the last few months, but I thought I'd condense them into one post because we successfully lowered his cholesterol by about 50 pointed in 4 weeks.  So, I feel like I know something about this.  :)  I realize people are different, so just because this worked for him it doesn't mean it will be a one size fits all plan...but it surely couldn't hurt right?!?!?  :)

1.  Milk.  Whether you drink it, bake with it or just have it on cereal be sure it is 1% or Skim.  Painful I know to some of you, but seriously it'll help, and just think of all that fat you are cutting out!  :)

2.  Eggs.  You don't have to completely cut them out, but I highly recommend switching to an egg substitute such as Just Whites.  I've been super happy using Just Whites and have had no problems with them in baking!  Although I'm not sure I could quite handle a white omelet....  So, it's just a thought to switch from using eggs.  Did you know that there is a TON of cholesterol in egg yolks?  Check this out from Mayo clinic.

3.  Meat.  Don't cut it out!  You need it (unless you are a vegetarian and already know about lean proteins) but  just eat a serving size, which is about 4oz.  (So if you are out to eat be sure to save half of that steak for leftovers!)  Go for lean meat like chicken and fish, but steer clear from anything battered or fried.  Steak is fine, but does have more cholesterol/fat than chicken/fish.  Steer clear of pork...but that's easy for me to say because I don't like it anyway. ;)

4.  Butter.  Don't use it, or at least limit your use of it significantly!  Try to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of butter.  Or find a quality margarine like Smart Balance Light, and you can sometimes find it with olive oil and/or Omega 3's.  When baking quick breads you can omit oils all together by substituting applesauce too!  :)

5.  Cheese.  You don't have to go without cheese!  Just go for the lower fat cheeses like mozzerella, or the Kraft cheeses they make with 2% milk now!  :)

6.  Whole Grains.  Use at least half and half regular pasta and whole grain pasta.  I bet you (and your kids) won't even be able to tell a difference.  Also switch to using whole wheat flour, or at least do a half and half blend of that as well.  Fiber helps lower cholesterol, keep weight under control and be healthier!  (as well as about a million other things! :)

7.  Exercise!  Find something you like to do and/or something you can do with a friend!  Try to exercise at least every other day for about 30 minutes!!  My hubby and I just got done with 7 weeks of running that culminated in the 5k Turkey Trot Race we did on yesterday!!  So, it does help to have someone out there with ya!  Or at least find something you enjoy doing, so you can get active and stay active!!  Anyway exercise will raise your GOOD cholesterol which definitely helps your bad cholesterol too!  :)

Our very first ever 5k race!  :)
Alright, I think that's all for now, but I will let you know when I think of anything else we've changed in our lives recently to make our cholesterol better!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Productive Baking with an Apron

It's been a busy week in my "test kitchen" and I've had a lot to show for it!  (Which always makes me happy, my hubby even happier and gives my readers something to enjoy too!)  Anyway today has been no exception because I just made a whole batch of Krautburgers. (Sorry, secret family recipe.  :)  I also made some rolls and cinnamon rolls.  Yum.  Here's one of the cinnamon rolls I made.  I frosted it with my Cream Cheese Frosting that I made yesterday and it turned out really well! 
 I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure that I bake better when there's music playing.  So, for the last couple of days I've been jammin' out to Speak Now -- Taylor Swift's new album.  I think it just makes everything run more smoothly, bake faster and taste better....Ok maybe not...but it sure doesn't hurt right?!?  :)

Of course don't forget there are only 3 more days to enter my Apron Giveaway!  It ends at 2pm EST on Monday 11/22/10.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

We all know that Red Velvet cakes and cupcakes are a holiday favorite and Christmas tradition!  So, I'm on the quest to find the perfect combination of food coloring and cocoa in this recipe.   I was going to start with someones actual recipe and then tweak it as time went by...but the one I was going to start with had 1.5 cups of oil in it....and I simply couldn't justify that as well as a few other things.  So, bug surprise, I just did my own thing.  :)  So, here it is....

Red Velvet Cupcakes:
3 c. Flour
1.5 c. Sugar
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt
3 T. Cocoa Powder
1 t. Vanilla
1 t. White Distilled Vinegar
2 T. Red Food Coloring
1/4 c. Water
3 Eggs
1/2 c. Vegetable (or canola) Oil
1 c. Buttermilk
Cream Cheese Frosting
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Get our muffin tins and line them with cups.  I used my reusable silicone cups.  Aren't they cute?! :)
 2.  Combine the Vanilla, Vinegar, Food coloring, Water, Eggs, Oil and Buttermilk in a large bowl with a mixer, until well combined.
 3.  Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
4.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer.  Do so carefully as this is red batter.  :)
5.  Pour into the lined cups and bake for 20-25 minutes.  If you fill them 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full you will get 24-30 cupcakes, and if you fill them more full you'll get closer to 18 cupcakes.  (HIGH ALTITUDE: just fill the cupcakes 1/2 full because they will rise more than in lower altitudes.)
6.  Cool completely on a rack before frosting.
So these went over well last night!  We had dinner at a friends' house and I brought these along.  :)  The two kiddos (3 & 5) gobbled these right up as well as all four of us adults.  I was a little disappointed that they weren't as red as I would have liked, so I adjusted that above in the recipe.  I was also bummed about the texture, but then our friends informed me that that's how red velvet cakes always are down here.  So, apparently it has to do with the altitude.  So, you are lucky if you are in higher altitude and will get a fluffier textured cake/cupcakes!  :)  Overall, I'm very happy with my recipe and don't think I will change anything except for adding more food coloring like I already adjusted!  :)  Enjoy!!

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) room temperature
2 sticks Butter, room temperature
1 t. Vanilla
5 cups Powdered Sugar
Optional 1 c. Pecans, chopped

 1.  Combine and room temperature cream cheese and butter with your mixer.  Beat until fluffy.  (If using a Kitchenaid mixer you can use the whisk for this step.)
2.  Slowly add the powdered sugar about one cup at a time.  After you have added one cup of sugar you can add the vanilla.  (If using a Kitchenaid mixer use the flat beater for the rest of the frosting.  Or else you might bend your whisk.)
3.  Beat the frosting altogether until fluffy again!
4.  Stir in nuts if desired.
5.  Frost* cake, cupcakes or cinnamon rolls!
Refrigerate leftover frosting for up to 5 days.

Enjoy!  Yum!!  :)

 *Note:  Refrigerate for a few minutes to be able to decorate easier with this frosting.  :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rice with Mushrooms and Croutons

Sounds random right?!?  It's quite an amazing dish though!  You'll have to try it yourself, and the best part is that it is super easy and quick!

What you'll need:
~4 oz. Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 c. Cooked Rice
2 T. Butter
1/8 t. Garlic Powder
salt/pepper to taste
Melba Toasts (or similar crackers)

1.  Sauté the mushrooms in the butter.  (I highly recommend actually using butter in this recipe, as opposed to margarine or olive oil.)
 2.  The mushrooms will start to cook and look different.  At this time add the salt, pepper and garlic powder and stir.
 3.  Garb a few pieces of melba toast or toasts like these from Trader Joe's.  Break them up in your hand before adding to the mushrooms.  Then stir them in and let them sauté a bit.
 4.  Serve over rice and enjoy!
Seriously, this was a fantastic, quick and easy lunch!
2 Servings

Sautéed Mushroom Pasta

 If you like mushrooms and pasta, you'll enjoy this!  This is a fine melody of mushrooms, onions, garlic and pasta!  Yum-O!  Can be served as a side dish to steak or chicken or as a main dish!

Sautéed Mushroom Pasta
1 lb. Pasta, Cooked (Whole Grain or other)
8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced or diced (Button or any variety you'd like)
1 Medium Onion, diced or sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.  In a large skillet start sautéing the onion and garlic in about 2 T. of olive oil.
2.  Once the onions start getting transparent add the mushrooms.
3.  Sauté the mushrooms as much as you'd like, then add the cooked pasta and a couple more tablespoons of olive oil.
See steps 1 through 3.
 4.  Serve and enjoy!
Yum! You can almost smell it through the pic huh?  :)
Serves 4 people.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies
1 c. Flour
1/2 c. Quick Oats
1 c. Pumpkin*
1/4 c. Sugar
1/4 t. Cinnamon
1/4 t. Allspice
1/4 t. Cloves
1 egg
1/4 t. Salt
1/4 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Baking Soda
1 T. Oil
1/4 c. Chocolate Chips, Optional

*Note: If you are using the leftover pumpkin mixture from my Pumpkin Pasties recipe do not add more spices, but add an additional 2 T. of Sugar to the pumpkin.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together all the ingredients until well combined.  Drop by the spoonful or cookie scoopful onto a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.  They will no flatten like most cookies.  Remove from sheet and cook on cooling rack.  Enjoy!!!  :)

Pumpkin Pasties

Pumpkin Pasties:
1 - 12oz. can of Pumpkin
1/3 c. Sugar
1/2 t. Cinnamon, ground
1/4 t. Cloves, ground
1/4 t. Allspice, ground
1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

 1.  Mix together pumpkin, sugar and spices.
 2.  You have two options:  make individual pasties like the pic above or a larger one like the pics below.  Either way you decide to make them, spread out the crescent dough and spread some of the pumpkin mixture on it.  Then simply roll them up!  :)
 3.  Bake in a 350degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
 Crescent style individual pumpkin pasty.  Just serve!
Large log style pumpkin pasty.  Just slice and serve!  :)
Yum!  Just in time for the Holidays!!  Enjoy!!!  And you'll have some pumpkin mixture left, so you can either use the rest for Pumpkin Bread or Pumpkin Cookies!!

There's still time to enter my latest giveaway!  You could win an apron!  :)

Apron Giveaway!!!!!!!

Because I love to cook.  And bake.  And all things food related.  And because I love ya!  I'm sponsoring this giveaway to keep your heart singing and spatula scraping!  :)  Now you can have up to five entries per person, for more chances to win too!!!  :)

Wouldn't you just love to be the proud new owner of this fabulous new A Delicious Melody Apron?!?!?!
It's a One-Size fits all white apron with a fully adjustable neck and waist!  It also features a large divided pocket on the front, and ADM's newest logo!  You'll be stylish while cooking up a storm in your kitchen!  :)  If you can't wait till this giveaway is over to have one of these of your very own, then you can buy one here.

How to enter:
1.  Leave a comment below this post.  (Please leave your email so I can get in touch with you if you win!)
2.  "Like" A Delicious Melody on Facebook.  (If you become a fan on Facebook or if you already are a fan, just leave me an additional comment on this post for your bonus entry!)
3.  Share this giveaway on Facebook, and again just leave an additional comment telling me you did so.
4.  Blog about this giveaway, and leave an additional comment telling me you did so.
5.  Leave a comment telling me which is your favorite A Delicious Melody recipe.

You must live in the Continental United States.
You may enter up to five (5) times as detailed above.
Please leave your email address in  your comment(s) (or link to your blog) so I can get in touch with you if you win!
Giveaway runs from Tuesday 11/16/10 until 11/22/10 at 2pm EST.
Winner will be chosen at random and announced after 2pm EST on 11/22/10.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Dinner Rolls

Dinner Rolls (White or Wheat)
1 c. Bisquick
4-5 c. Flour (White or Wheat)
1 egg
3/4 c. Milk
3/4 c. Water (warm)
1 T. Yeast
1/2 t. Salt
1.5 T. Sugar
Melted Butter, Optional

1.  Combine warm water and yeast.  Let sit for about 5minutes.
2.  Add milk, egg, sugar and salt then mix.
3.  Add the bisquick and then one cup of flour at a time.  (I needed 4.5 c. of flour today, and added a little more during step 5.)
4.  Let rest for about 15 minutes.
5.  Knead (by hand or with mixer) for about 5 minutes and then shape into about 16-32 balls. (Depending how large or small you'd like the rolls to be!)
6.  Grease 10x13 pan and place balls in pan.
7.  Let rise for about 30 minutes, or until they begin to look like rolls instead of balls.
8.  Bake at 350degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
9.  Brush with butter when they come out of the oven if desired.
10.  Serve and enjoy!  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nut Cookies (Flour-less)

The few times that my hubby and I have gone to that wonderful Farmers Market in Durham, we've gotten these delicious nutty, chocolaty cookie bars.  So, today I felt like making some cookies that resemble the way those taste.  Here they are....and I think you'll be pleased.  Not only are the gluten free, flour-less cookies, but they are delicious!!  :)

Almond Cookies (Yields about 2 dozen cookies)
1.5 c.  Almonds (or other nuts) *
1 c.  Brown Sugar, packed
1 egg white
1 t. Oil
1/4 c.  Chocolate chips, optional

1.  Put the nuts in a food processor or blender and pulverize like so....they should resemble flour when they are done!  :)
 2.  To the pulverized nuts add the rest of the ingredients, and then process until well blended.
 3.  Lightly grease your baking sheet, and drop by the teaspoonful leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.
 4.  Bake at 325degrees for 8-12 minutes.
 Enjoy!  These would go great with a cold glass of milk!  (So I'm told...)  :)

*For high altitude use an extra 1/4 c. of nuts making it 1.75 c. of nuts.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kettle Corn

Kettle corn.  You know, that yummy sweet and salty popcorn they sell at fairs and things?  Well, it's actually super easy to make at home!  Here's how to do it!
Kettle Corn:
1 Large Pot with lid
2 T. Oil
1/2 c. Popcorn Kernels
1 T. Sugar
1 t. Salt

1.  Put the oil and popcorn kernels in the pot, put the lid on and heat on high until it starts popping.
2.  Once it is popping turn off the burner but leave the pot on the hot burner.
3.  Quickly remove the lid to add the sugar and salt.
4.  Then place lid back on the pot and shake pot slightly to make sure the sugar and salt are distributed.
5.  Leave the pot on the burner with the lid on it until the popping stops.
6.  Serve and enjoy!  Beware of the old maids that may be left, because they are very, very hot.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pico de Gallo

Roma Tomatoes, diced
Jalapeno Pepper, finely diced
Onion, finely diced
Cilantro, roughly chopped

Everybody likes things differently, so I will just tell you how I make it.  I use about 1 lb. of tomatoes, 1-2 Jalapenos, 1/2 Onion, and a lot of cilantro.  Try out different amounts and see what works for you! :)  I've even heard some people omit the pepper completely.  So just do what you want with it!  Make it your own!  :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

These are a fun and easy treat!  I just used the recipe on Kelloggs' website for the peanut butter rice krispie treats, cut them out and spread chocolate on top.  Yum!  :)  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats:
3 T. Butter
1 bag of regular marshmallows
1/2 c. Peanut Butter
6 c. Rice Krispies
3-4 oz. Chocolate (Milk or Semi-Sweet work, just use what you like!)

My tip is to line the pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Then they will be easier to cut out later.  :) 
 1.  Make the Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  Melt the butter, then add the marshmallows and let them melt.  Once the mallows are all melted add the peanut butter and remove from heat and stir until it is melted.  Add in the rice krispies and make sure that they are all coated.  Then place the mixture in the greased (and preferably foiled) pan and spread out evenly. Like the pic above!
 2.  Let the treats cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes.  Then start cutting them out.  You can use any shape, but I just decided on a circle.
 3.  Keep cutting those little guys out, and you can either save the scraps or eat them along the way.  ;)
 4.  You'll get somewhere between 12 and 20 of these depending on the size of your cutter.
 5.  I melted just one ounce of chocolate at a time in the microwave, but feel free to do whatever you'd like.
 6.  Be sure to stir and smooth out the chocolate before you smear it on these little pucks of goodness!
 7.  Spread/Smear away!  You may want to leave some without chocolate for those who may not want it....but then again, who wouldn't?!?!  :)
Yum.  Yum.  Yum.  Yep, I already ate one of these as well as a lot of the scraps....oops....  :) Not bad manners.  Just good food!  ;)

Oh, and I ever used all natural peanut butter and these were still great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :)
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