Monday, November 30, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I made this pumpkin bread yesterday, and it is so yummy!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup shortening or 1 cup vegetable oil

2 2/3 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 cups (or one can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I left these out)

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
In a large bowl, cream together the shortening or oil and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin and water. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and vanilla, stirring to blend, then mix in the chips and nuts.

Spoon the batter into two lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack. When it's completely cool, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and store it overnight before serving.

If desired, just before serving, drizzle with an icing made of 1 cup confectioners' or glazing sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 tablespoon milk.

(recipe from

Recipe Review

I love this blog and I love that people post on it! I have tried some recipes and thought I would review them.

1. Sesame Noodles from Heidi Cole ~ After realizing on Sunday that I was missing one key ingredient from my planned meal I swapped this recipe from later in the week and made it. My family loved it. It was ready in 6 minutes (the time it took to cook the noodles) and was yummy. Just one question - how do you store things like sesame oil and hot chile oil. They are a little on the costly side and I don't want them to go rancid.

2. Fuss-Free Fiesta Chicken from Angie Nowling ~ I love crockpot meals. I need to use it more often. This was delicious and even better were the leftovers. Again, it's simple and I had all the ingredients on hand. Paired with the yummy uncooked tortillas you can't go wrong.

3. Chicken Stovetop Casserole from Heidi Cole ~ I make a Chicken and Stuffing Casserole that is similar to this but wanted to try a new version because my husband frequently asks for chicken cordon bleu that I don't know how to make and because we had some swiss cheese that needed to be used up. It was again a winner in our house. The hardest part is waiting the 5 minutes for the stuffing to cook. Pop it in the oven and dinner is ready. The sauce makes everything stay so moist. My girls were claiming the leftovers for themselves. Super good!

Soon I'll get back to making my own meals and I'll get back to contributing instead of just stealing. Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rachel Ray's Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage

I posted this recipe on my blog last month, but here it is again since I made it last night.
(here's the original link)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (I've used regular Italian sausage, and it's fine)

4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf, fresh or dried

4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons

1 cup dry white wine (I substituted chicken stock)

1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream (I used Fat Free Half-and-half, but it wasn't as good)

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated

Coarse salt and black pepper

1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente

Romano or Parmigiano, for grating

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Secret Family Recipe: Stuffing

OK it's not really a secret, but this recipe has been handed down from my Great Grandpa who was a Chef at Hotel Utah. It's a bit time consuming, has a lot of fat in it, but makes a ton, and it's so worth it. You can even make a day ahead then warm it in the oven on Thanksgiving.

2 loaves of dried bread broken into pieces, sprinkled with salt and pepper
1 lb pork sausage- cook but do not brown- drain grease
1 lb bacon- chopped, cooked well, drain and SAVE grease
8 med. onions - chopped or diced
1 whole stalk of celery- chopped or diced
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
3/4 lb butter (I told you it was fattening)
Handful of fresh parsley
Cook onions, celery, and garlic in the saved bacon grease and butter until tender but not brown. Do not drain.

Mix together:
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
1 tbsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
3/4 tsp marjoram
Handful of fresh parsley- chopped

Place in a roasting dish or other big dish in this order- bread, meat and veggies on top (so bread can soak up the liquid) and then the seasonings. Wait a minute, then stir all together. Add enough water to soak bread, about 2-3 cups. Do not use too much. Mix well and cool before putting in the turkey. I never cook in the turkey. To bake by itself bake at 350 for atleast 1 hour for it to all get warm and delicious. You might have to stir every so often while baking.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Easy Bread

I've looked for a good bread recipe my whole married life. Maybe I'm a bit picky, but I finally found one I love. It has a soft crust and it's so soft and moist in the middle. Delicious.

1 tbsp yeast
1/2 tbsp salt
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey (or brown sugar)
approx. 5-6 cups flour (white or wheat or combo.)

Mix first 5 ingredients in mixer. Add flour one cup at a time until soft dough forms. Stir for 1-2 min. Let rise 1 hr. Separate into 2 loaf pans. Let rise another 1/2 hour. Bake 350 for 38 min.

This is only half the loaf left, we couldn't help ourselves when it first came out of the oven.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Magic Milk Shakes

I got this from a food storage blog and have been dying to try it out. So tonight I did.

On the blog where I got it it showed a picture of a giant Wendy's smoothie; apparently, that is what it's supposed to look like. Well it didn't turn out that thick or smooth, but it was still yummy and uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

1 1/2 to 2 cups ice water
1 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 trays of ice cubes (the more the better)
1 Tbsp oil + a 5 second squirt of non-stick spray (the oil is for emulcification)

Place all the ingredients in the blender. Use less water for thicker shakes. The blender should be about 3/4's full. Process for atleast 2 MINUTES- * important*. The continued blending breaks up the ice crystals. I have a weak blender and blended for about 4 min. Pour into cups and serve. I put mine in a cup and walked away for a while, when I came back and stirred up the big clump in the middle it made it a bit thicker.

Sesame Noodles

This is the recipe I brought to the Vegetarian Recipe Swap last night. All I could think of was noodle dishes and we just happen to be having this one that night. I got it from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman several months ago and it is now a staple in our home. I have added chicken or thinly sliced beef strips, but I like it plain the best.

12 oz any thin noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
4 cloves garlic- minced
2 tbsp Rice vinegar
3 tbsp Sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot chili oil - (I've never used this I've used crushed up tiny pepper flakes, just a pinch)
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp hot water
4 green onions, sliced thin

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and toss.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cheese-lover's Pasta Roll-ups

To follow the current theme of pasta, I'll add another recipe that we ate this past week. It will also count as my Vegetarian recipe for this month's recipe exchange since I won't be able to attend due to Tithing Settlement. :) If anyone wants to make and take this recipe, please do. I got this recipe from the Kraft Foods magazine. It's very similar to a stuffed shells or manicotti recipe. Yummy!

Prep: 25 min, Total: 1 hour 15 min
Makes: 8 servings, 2 roll-ups each.

What you need:
1 egg, beaten
1 container Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Shredded Italian Three Cheese Blend
4 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce, divided
16 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Make it:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients until well blended.
Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish.
Spread each noodle with 3 Tbsp cheese mixture; roll up.
Place, seam-sides down, in dish.
Top with remaining sauce and Parmesan; cover.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until heated through, uncovering the last 10 minutes.
All done!
We added a side salad and it was dinner. I wish I would have had Heidi's bread stick recipe before I made this. :) It would have made another great side.

Make ahead tip: Assemble as directed; cover with heavy-duty foil. Refrigerate up to 24 hours, then bake, covered, 1 hour 5 minutes or until heated through, uncovering the last 10 minutes. Or freeze up to 1 month. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered, 1 hour 5 minutes or until heated through, uncovering the last 10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Easy Breadsticks

Thanks to the Kitchen Cafe blog I found this easy recipe for breadsticks and they are so good.

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp instant yeast
2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt

Put all the above ingredients into mixer and knead for 3 min. Let rest for 10 min. While resting grease a 11x13 cookie sheet (sheet cake size). Put the dough onto the pan and roll out until it has filled the pan. Cut into long rectangles with a pizza cutter. Put on any toppings you like.
I like garlic salt, a little rosemary, and parmesan cheese. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Let rise 30 min. Bake at 375 for 15-20 min. or until golden brown.

This is the dough in the cookie sheet getting ready to rise for 30 minutes.

Final product.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Veggie Lazagna

I posted this recently on my family blog, so my apologies if it's a repeat for some of you, but I thought maybe the others would like it, and I already had the pictures and recipe on my blog so it was easy to move it over!

This has become one of my favorite things to cook and serve. I made it up myself... and I've tried and tested it several times now and every time it comes out tasting delicious! You can add sausage if you don't like to go all vegetarian. Enjoy!


Fresh Veggies: squash, zucchini, onions, red and green bell pepper, fresh or jarred garlic. spinach Fresh or canned tomatoes... *important: if you don't have garden tomatoes use canned... don't try store bought, they are just nasty. They don't even taste like real tomatoes and you won't like it.* 1 can any spaghetti or marinara sauce, 1 small container of ricotta cheese or cottage cheese (I have used both, they both taste good. I always use the low fat variety.) Fresh grated Parmesan cheese, mozzarella or Italian blend shredded cheese, whole wheat lasagna noodles boiled, al dente.

Chop all veggies.

Start cooking, garlic and onions first, add squash, zucchini,pepper,etc. season with salt and pepper and a little dash of Mrs Dash original blend. I always start with just a tiny bit of olive oil and then pour a little bit of chicken stock to steam the veggies so they don't get all crispy and burned. They cook faster this way and it adds flavor.

When the veggies are still a bit firm, but mostly cooked (not soggy!) add spaghetti sauce.

Next I prepare the pan and the noodles. Starting with one layer of noodles, ricotta cheese on top, thin layer of spinach leaves, then sauce and a small amount of cheese. Reapeat. Top with spinach leaves and mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake it at about 350 until it looks and smells done! Sorry, I'm so terrible with cooking times, it's really about 30 minutes. Cover it with foil for the first half of cooking so the cheese doesn't brown too early and burn. Let stand for a few minutes, serve and enjoy! Eat your veggies! :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fuss-Free Fiesta Chicken

This is a recipe from Kenzie Richardson that most of us should have. I thought I would add it on this site for those that haven't tried it yet. It's a crock pot dish. I LOVE the crock pot and only wish I had more recipes so I could use it more often. It's so nice to be able to throw things together in the morning and not have to think about dinner the rest of the day. The hardest part is remembering to make it in the morning so there is enough time before dinner.
This is a yummy dish that makes a ton! Be prepared for leftovers.
Here are all the ingredients ready to cook.

And this is after 8 hours and after I shredded the chicken and added the refried beans.
Thanks to all of your suggestions, we tried those amazing uncooked tortillas. YUM!! Marty was in pure heaven. They reminded him of the tortillas he ate so much in Mexico on his mission. He told me I should buy these kind from now on. :)

Here is the recipe for the chicken:

3 chicken breasts (frozen or thawed)
1 can black beans with juice
1 can corn with 2/3 of juice
can mild green chilies with juices
1 cup salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can refried beans

In crockpot combine first 5 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Carefully remove chicken breasts and shred with 2 forks. Return shredded chicken to crockpot. Add refried beans and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

I also had purchased some avocados so we made some Guacamole and used Heidi Cole's recipe. BTW, thanks Heidi for sharing this recipe. We love it!! Brooklyn could drink the stuff.

2 avocados
2 Tbsp salsa
1-2 Tbsp fat free sour cream
dash garlic salt

Scrape out inside of avocados and smash up. Add salsa, sour cream, and garlic salt (to taste). Add more sour cream if you like it creamier.


I just had to say thanks to all of you for making this blog such a rockin' success so far. I love it when I open my blog and see a new post here at Valley Ridge Recipes! Thanks so much. I haven't been posting because I've been too busy making everyone else's recipes. Yum!!!! Keep it up!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sticky Chicken and Spinach Salad

I was watching Good Things Utah and they had this recipe on. It looked so yummy and so easy so I thought I would try it.

Sticky Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts
1 cup apricot jam
1 cup BBQ sauce
1 packet onion soup mix

Cut chicken breasts into strips. Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and begin browning the chicken. Mix together the remaining ingredients and then pour over the chicken. Let simmer until chicken is fully cooked and sauce is thick and bubbly. Serve over rice.

The chicken was so yummy! A nice sweet and sour twist to the classic chicken and rice. I paired it with my favorite spinach salad. No real recipe just ingredients.

Spinach Salad

Fresh spinach
hard boiled eggs
Good Seasonings Italian Dressing mixed according to package directions.

Sorry no pictures because my camera is MIA. I'll make it again soon at the request of my family and post pictures then.

Baked Ziti

This is Bailee's FAVORITE meal. She always asks me to make it. I made it last night and thought I'd share. It's another recipe with no meat, but I'm sure you could add some ground beef, chicken, pork, or whatever, to add a little more protein. I'm not a vegetarian by any means!!

8-12 oz package ziti noodles (also called Mostaccioli)
1 small container cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmessan cheese
1 Tbsp Parsley
1-2 tsp garlic salt
Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
1 Can of Hunts Spaghetti Sauce (26.5 oz, I use traditional)
1 Can of Tomato Sauce (8 oz)

While noodles are cooking, mix together cottage cheese, eggs, parmessan cheese, parsley, and garlic salt. (Can also use fresh pressed garlic).
Layer in baking dish: sauce, noodles, cheese mixture, and mozarella. (two layers of each). Top with extra sauce, mozzarella, and parmessan. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until all cheese on top is melted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This was another recipe submitted to Recipe Swap by SuAnn McFadden, but I changed it up a bit.
3-4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1/4 onion chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
1 can green chilies
12 corn tortillas (I used 8 big flour tortillas for the one in the picture)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese divided
Cook onion in pan with a little oil until transluscent. Mix with chicken, soup, broth, sour cream and chilies.
Cut tortillas into pieces.
At the bottom of 9x13 or other casserole dish place half of the tortillas on the bottom. Top with half the chicken mix and top with 1/2 the cheese. Repeat.
Bake at 350 for 30 min.
I add salsa and a dallop of sour cream to the top of mine. The kids add crunched up tortilla chips.