Monday, June 25, 2012

Pumpkin Brownies

If you like pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, you will love these.  They are perfect for a fall desert but we will eat them all year.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan. Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract; beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoon. Gradually add the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it's evenly moistened. Divide the batter in two separate bowls. Divide it so it's 1/3 in one bowl and 2/3 in another.
  3. Into the bowl of batter that has 2/3 of mixture, blend the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter, stir in the pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  4. Spread 1/2 of the chocolate batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, and follow with 1/2 of the pumpkin batter. Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer, and drag a kitchen knife or small spatula gently through the layers in a swirling motion, to create a marbled appearance.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan, cut into squares, and serve.

Cinnamon Roll Popcorn

This recipe is from Our Best Bites.  I've made it twice now.  It's really good!

12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels)*
1 C roughly chopped pecans
1 C brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 C Karo syrup (or honey makes a good substitution)
1 stick real butter (1/2 C)
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares almond bark

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. 
  2. Pop your popcorn, add your pecans.  Put in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large pot combine brown sugar, cinnamon, Karo syrup and butter.  (Our Best Bites blog says to do this in the microwave, but I like doing it over the stove.  I think you get more accurate results when you do it that way.)  Cook this over medium low heat until it is dissolved and bubbly.  Then, remove from heat and add the baking soda and vanilla.  It will start to foam and get really big.  Pour it all over the popcorn/pecans and stir until all is coated.
  4. Spread this out in a jelly roll pan or two 9x13 pans lined with foil and cook in oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring ever 15 minutes or so.
  5. Meanwhile melt your almond bark according to package directions. (Again, I prefer over the stove.)  After you  have removed your popcorn from the oven, drizzle the almond bark over the popcorn with a spoon or fork.  Let it cool on the counter or put it in the fridge for a faster set.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pesto Chicken Casserole

I made this and my kids all held their noses telling me the smell was too strong.  They didn't want to try it.  Once I convinced them to put a bite in their mouth, every one of them changed their minds about what they thought.  This is very tasty!
*This makes a lot so you can freeze half for another meal.

  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) box pasta
  • 6 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 4 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar pesto sauce
  • 1 cups milk


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish and a 8x8-inch dish. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a small bowl until evenly moistened; set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the chicken in a bowl with the Italian cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, alfredo sauce, pesto sauce, and milk. Stir in the pasta once done, and scoop into the prepared baking dish. Top with the bread crumb mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and golden brown on top, 40 to 45 minutes.