Friday, November 21, 2008

Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

This is a great way to eat asparagus!  Very easy to make. It was a 5 star side dish.

1-2lbs fresh asparagus
1 pkg of bacon
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.
Wash and cut bottoms off asparagus.  Lay asparagus on cookie sheet, toss with EVOO, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Bunch in groups of 5 or 6.  Wrap groups in bacon.  If you have a wire rack, place on top of cookie sheet for the bacon fat to drip.  Cook in oven for 10-12 minutes.  When cooked sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Posted By:  Tracy Lytle

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Cinnamon Sage Brown Butter

This is definitely a treat for dinner. It was a bit involved and took time, but it is totally worth it!!! This week I am making meals that are a bit more involved and fancy for my Husband to celebrate Thanksgiving. He absolutely loves food and misses his families cooking around the Holiday's. Hopefully I can bring a bit of home to him. Gnocchi is an Italian dish that I usually only like when his Grandfather makes it. Although, this recipe was pretty good. Not as good as his, but still very delicious.

For the Gnocchi:
2 pounds sweet potatoes
2/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/3 cup for the work surface

For the Maple Cinnamon Sage Brown Butter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
20 fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pierce the sweet potato with a fork. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender and fully cooked, between 40 to 55 minutes depending on size. Cool slightly. Cut in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large measuring cup to make sure the sweet potatoes measure about 2 cups. Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes back to the large bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, cinnamon, and pepper and blend until well mixed. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough in a ball on the work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll out each ball into a 1-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll the gnocchi over the tines of a fork. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a large baking sheet. Continue with the remaining gnocchi.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi in 3 batches and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the gnocchi using a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue with the remaining gnocchi.

For the Brown Butter sauce: While the gnocchi are cooking melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted add the sage leaves. Continue to cook, swirling the butter occasionally, until the foam subsides and the milk solids begin to brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Careful, the mixture will bubble up. Gently stir the mixture. When the bubbles subside, toss the cooked gnocchi in the brown butter. Transfer the gnocchi to a serving dish and serve immediately.

I didn't cook all the Gnocchi since I  knew it was filling and we wouldn't eat all of it.  I cooked half of the batch and froze the rest.  They should last in the freezer for a couple months.  I put them on a cook sheet and froze them and then after they were individually frozen I put them into a ziplock bag.  This way they won't stick and you can take out a few and cook up a quick meal.

Recipe by: Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network.
Posted by: Tracy Lytle

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas

I just tried this out tonight and my mom and I loved them! I didn't have any cumin, however, so I can imagine adding it would make it even better.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 12
Cook Time: 16
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

8 ounces white button mushrooms (about 3 cups)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups cooked chopped skinless, boneless chicken breast

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 cups baby spinach leaves, sliced into ribbons

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

1 cup shredded Mexican or Cheddar cheese


1/2 cup salsa

1/4 sour cream

Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushroom water is evaporated and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken, cumin, chili powder and oregano and stir until all spices are incorporated. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Lay 1 tortilla on a flat work surface and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Spoon 1/4 chicken and vegetable mixture on top of cheese, then top with an additional 1/4 cup cheese. Top with another flour tortilla. Heat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat. Carefully place 1 quesadilla in a pan and cook a few minutes. Using a large spatula, flip the quesadilla and cook a few more minutes (just like grill cheese sandwiches :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cinnamon-Apple Cake

My family makes this recipe around the holidays. It is a favorite with all our neighbors as well. It's from the October 1997 issue of Cooking Light and we've been making it ever since. It's a must have for the holidays(just don't think about the calories!) Enjoy!

Difficulty: Easy
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
I usually put in it a 9 x 13 in pan to yield more (smaller) servings since it's so rich.


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup stick margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups chopped peeled Rome apple (about 2 large)
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, margarine, vanilla, and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture and apple in a bowl, and stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.

Note: You can also make this cake in a 9-inch square cake pan or a 9-inch springform pan; just reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes.

Posted by Ashley

Everyday Meatloaf

This recipe came from my mom's Better Homes and Gardens red and white plaid cookbook. She received it as a wedding present back in 1947. It has been a family favorite long before I was even born - that's a loooong time ago! :-)

Rating: Five stars
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs (I use Italian)
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 lb. ground chuck
2 slightly beaten eggs
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage

Soak bread crumbs in milk; add meat, eggs, onion and seasonings. Mix well. Form into a loaf and place in greased 13 x 9 pan. Spread Piquant Sauce (below) over top and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees or until done.

3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Posted by Debi

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Favorite Christmas Recipes

I have some tried and true Christmas recipes for goodies and special meals that I like to make every year, but I would love to try a few new things this year. Anyone have some amazing ones that I can try??

Post away!!!

Posted by Taraleigh

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup

I love this recipe! Except for the prep time it's very simple. I give it another 5 stars!! Really we should rename this blog "My Delicious 5 Star Life". Who would take the time to post a recipe that is less than that?


1-1/2 lbs. beef or ham bones with meat
8 cups water
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cups frozen green lima beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup macaroni


Combine first 12 ingredients in a large dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Add lima beans, corn and peas. Return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 15 minutes. Stir in macaroni, and continue to cook for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Yield: 3-1/2 quarts

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hearty Bean and Barley Soup

My family loves this every time I think to make it. Definitely a 5 star!

Difficulty: Easy
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2.5 hours on stove - all day in slow cooker

2 lbs. dried Great Northern beans
2 quarts water
1 cup fine barley
1 ham hock
2 cups coarsely chopped ham
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
6 carrots, sliced
4 - 10 1/2 oz. cans beef consomme'
1 - 1.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 fresh jalepeno peppers, split and seeded

Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above beans; let soak overnight (or use the quick soak method on package). Drain. Add 2 quarts water; bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Yield: 5.5 quarts.
Note: Add water, if desired, for a thinner consistency. Soup may be frozen.

I got this recipe from Southern Living 1986 Annual recipes, pg. 304

Posted by Debi

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Here is a recipe that I found on that is super yummy and easy. It made my house smell so yummy when I baked them. A few tips: I used my Pampered Chef Chopper to chop the apples quickly and very small. I also was out of pumpkin pie spice so I googled and found a recipe for it that I will list at the bottom if you happen to not have that on hand. Also, I made one pan of mini muffins and baked those for 15 minutes and the pan for the regular muffins I actually pulled out after 30 minutes.

I would have to rate these as 5 star muffins! YUM!

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled apples

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons cold butter or margarine

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Ingredients for 1 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
3/4 t. Ground Ginger
1/4 + 1/8 t. All Spice
1/4 + 1/8t. Ground Nutmeg