Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ghoulish Halloween Treats

It's always fun to celebrate Halloween.

We've had some great parties at my house with Vampire Coffins, Witches Brew, and Jason hanging around amongst the fog and the dry ice patches everywhere.  Great times also calls for festive food.

A special punch is a must.  The rest, can be themed or not, but should be autumn inspired and easy on the preparation so you are spending time tricking or treating instead of cooking.

This year to get in the mood for Halloween we went to the Rise of the Jack O' Lanterns.  A huge display at Descanso Gardens of about 5,000 professionally carved pumpkins. Amazing work, amazing creativity!  We are in the mood now.
Take a look at some of my favorites.

Now, back to the food...
Here are some of my favorite ideas to serve this Halloween.

Monster Mash  - This is my all time favorite snack to make for Halloween.  Everybody loves this stuff!  The colors and the flavors all screammmm Halloween!

Sloppy Guiseppe's  - An Italian spin on a standard Sloppy Joe.  An easy dish to put together before trick or treating. AND, the kids love em'!!

Crescent Roll Mummy Dogs - who wouldn't love to bite into this little mummy?  Another easy dish that tastes sooo good.

Mom's Beef Stew - I'm actually making a batch of this right now!  Imagine that!  There is nothing more perfect that this hearty beefy vegetable soup on a chilly night.  I like to serve this in a hollowed out pumpkin used as a tureen.  Perfect!

Baby Acorns - These are so cute and totally remind me of fall.  Simple to put together and a great project to have the kids help make.  A wonderful little dessert or snack.

Chocolately Hot Chocolate - Let's not forget the best drink after a night of trick or treating. This hot cocoa will warm you up with it's creamy sinful flavor.

Make sure to have a safe and devilishly, ghoulish, and spooky Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Soup - Slow Cooker heaven

Finally, Finally, F i n a l l y!!!!

The weather is starting to change and we got a burst of cool days.  We even got some dark looking clouds, but sadly no rain.  Here in Los Angeles we need rain....can anyone bring us some rain please?

So taking advantage of the nice cool weather I decided to get out my slow cooker and try a new soup recipe I found over at Gimme Some Oven.  Ali has a great food blog and I just fell in love with this easy soup recipe.  It features my favorite Mexican flavors.  What's better sounding than Chicken Enchilada Soup made in the Slow Cooker??? not much!

So out came my slow cooker, and I had all items already on hand in my pantry (love that) and some chicken from the freezer.  Most of the ingredients for this are ready made...but let me tell you what.  This soup's flavors are OFF THE HOOK!  No kidding.

One secret to this dish....good quality enchilada sauce.  Pick one you really really like.  You can also adjust the heat of the soup by the heat of the enchilada sauce.  I don't particularly like 'canned' enchilada sauce. The tinny taste bothers me.   I either use a good bottled one or strangely enough a package of sauce mix where you add tomato paste really tastes good.  My favorite bottled sauce is from Sprouts.  A new medium spiced sauce with great flavor.  

I just threw everything in the crock pot before leaving for work.  Turned it on low and let it cook for about 8 or 9 hours and when I got home....OH MY HEAVENS!  

Sinfully delishhhh!



It's perfect for fall.  Great for a weekend, or perfect for Halloween night.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

serves 4-6

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
2 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 1/4 cup red enchilada sauce, I used Sprouts brand
2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, peeled and diced thinly
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, tortilla strips

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Use two forks to shred the chicken.

Serve warm, with optional garnishes.

You can also refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days. Or freeze it for up to 3 months.

adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sloppy Guiseppe's

Even though it is fall it's still HOT around here.  We just can't seem to get a break. I'm missing the windy blustery days of October that remind me of football and Halloween. So to roll with the flow we are still grilling.  YEP we are.  

The other day I broke out a package of ground sirloin and we made some wonderful burgers and fries.  Whenever we do that I'm pressed to come up with something different to use the leftover ground sirloin.  I typically make a batch of goulash, or spaghetti sauce...but I was in the mood for something simple, yet delish!

Today's recipe is a twist on my Old School Sloppy Joes. Sloppy Guiseppe's is an Italian variation of the same satisfying sandwich.  Filled with Italian sauce, garlic and spices...oh and gooey melted cheese, these are hard to resist!  

They are the perfect game day meal.  Comforting, homey, and just messy enough to be fun.  Guys love them! Just serve them along with some chips and a salad or fruit and you have a wonderful hearty meal.  And...I think they will be the perfect meal to serve the kiddos prior to going trick or treating this Halloween!

What do you make with your leftover ground sirloin??


Sloppy Guiseppe's

serves 4

2 T olive oil
1/2 c diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb of ground sirloin
3 c jarred tomato basil spaghetti sauce - or your favorite variety
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 Kaiser rolls, toasted
1 c fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded

Add the olive oil to a large skillet.  Heat over medium heat. Add you dice onion and cook about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and ground sirloin.  Cook, stirring the meat to crumble it about 7-8 minutes or until no longer pink.

Add the spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and heat until bubbly and sauce starts to thicken. About 5-6 minutes.  

Divide the meat mixture among the 4 bottom toasted rolls. Add 1/4 cup of shredded cheese over the meat mixture and top with the top bun.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fall Flavor Profiles: Apples

It's apple season and I'm in heaven!

Always one of my favorite foods, apples are wonderful ingredients to many of our fall favorites.  I usually try to pick several new apples each year to try.  This year I've been eating a lot of Envy apples.  Nice, crisp, and sweet/tart.  I've also devoured my share of Jazz apples, and just recently bought several Honeycrisps.

Have you been apple picking?  This is something I want to do this year!  I've found a town outside of Los Angeles, that has many different farms that produce an array of apples. I'm on my way!

I've gathered some of my favorite apple recipes to share with you today to get you in the mood.  The mood for cooking with apples that is.  Or, the mood for fall...your pick!  (oops a pun, 'pick' apples...get it?)
Anyway, I hope you try a recipe or two and let me know what your favorite apple dish is.

Apple Cider Quick Bread - so moist an delicious.  One of my favorite fall breakfast dishes...or dessert...or with tea!

Crispy Chicken, Apple, and Spinach Salad - oh my this is a good salad.  A must try!

Fuji Apple Chicken Salad- another great salad that's very, very popular.  My version of Panera's salad by the same name (copycat recipe)

Apple Cider Iced Tea - boy do I love this tea.  Just a hint of apples makes this tea extra special.

Honey Apple Pancakes - one of the best comfort foods for breakfast!

Verna's Apple Crisp - a down home country favorite.  YUM YUM!

Happy picking!


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