Monday, October 28, 2013

Pizza Casserole

In the mood for pizza but want something lighter and easy to throw together? Well this recipe was shared with me from one of my son Nicholas' former teachers. Thank you Jode.

This recipe can be thrown together and just warmed in a crockpot on low for two hours or put in a 9 x 13 baking dish and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes. I will say having it sit in the crockpot lets the flavors intensify a bit and really nice for potlucks.

Pizza Casserole


1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 pkg of sliced pepperoni (chopped)
1 pkg of egg noodles ( I use No Yolk noodles extra wide)
2 jars of your favorite pizza sauce
Here is where you can get creative (Whatever you normally like on your pizza you can throw into the mix):
1 small onion (optional)
1 small green bell pepper (optional)
1/4 c chopped fresh mushrooms (optional)

1 sm can of sliced black olives (optional)
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 T of oregano or Italian seasoning


In a large skillet brown ground beef and Italian sausage, drain and set aside.

While the meat is browning, boil water in a dutch oven pan and cook egg noodles for about 7 minutes. Drain the water off noodles.

In the dutch oven pan add the ground meat, pepperoni, Italian seasoning and any other fixins you decided would be good on your "pizza". Mix together but be gentle not to destroy your noodles.

This is where you will decide which vessel to cook your casserole in. Whichever you choose, layer mixture by separating the two layers with 1/2 your mozzarella cheese. End with sprinkling the remainder mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese on top. If you cook in crock pot, cook on low for 2 hours. If you bake in oven in a 9 x 13 baking dish, bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. The cheese on top will have melted and will be a bit brown.

You can serve this with a nice side salad and some garlic bread. Such a nice tasty Italian meal.

Again, thank you Jode for sharing this tasty recipe.


Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Some of you might be tired of all the pumpkin recipes people are posting. I happen to enjoy pumpkin overload. It is a shame that many don't enjoy pumpkin dishes or desserts until the fall. I like them year round.

Here is a recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin cookies. I adapted the recipe from several recipes I have seen online as well as cooking shows over the weekend. After a trial run yesterday of making them, I tweaked the recipe a bit and I think I might be onto something.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


1 c all purpose flour
2/3 c old fashioned oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
3/4 c turbinado sugar (raw sugar) plus a bit more for sprinkling on cookies
3/4 c canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 T maple praline syrup (you can use pure maple syrup) * I like the extra nuttiness of the maple praline syrup.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and the allspice. blend them together well.

In a larger bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, oil, syrup, and vanilla and whisk it together.

Gradually add the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture (using a folding method so you don't over mix batter. Stir in the raisins.

Drop cookie batter mixture (will be sticky) by tablespoon full onto cookie sheets. spacing the cookie mounds about an inch apart. Mini cookie scoops or ice cream scoops come in handy for this.

Moisten your fingertips and flatten each cookie to about 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle a bit of the turbinado sugar on top of each cookie.

Bake the cookies until brown which is about 17-19 minutes depending on size of your cookie and its slight firmness. Transfer cookies to cooling rack and cool completely.

I must confess I am not much of a milk drinker but I enjoyed a nice glass of the moo juice with my cookie. Okay...cookies!

Enjoy giving these tasty cookies as a nice treat to teachers, neighbors, your clergy....Heck I bet your UPS or Fed Ex guy would love a nice treat!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chocolate did someone say Chocolate?

Oh my goodness, I have to confess I love the feeling I get inside when I indulge in something chocolate.
Not the cheap chocolate flavored candy...REAL chocolate or cocoa.

I love to read through other bloggers pages, especially those related to cooking. It is all due to my addiction to Pinterest. While looking through the vast number of blogs I follow, I ran across this recipe the other day.

It is for Skinny Chocolate Fudge Banana Muffins. Yes there is that "C" word...CHOCOLATE.

The recipe is from the blogger Sally's Baking Addiction. You should check her blog out sometime.

Let me just warn you, these muffins are kind of on the healthy side in regards to no oil being used in the recipe. It utilizes applesauce. That and they also have whole wheat flour in them. Don't run away I want sinful tasting muffins. These can't taste good. Well, I have to say they are DIVINE!

Give this recipe a try!

Chocolate Fudge Banana Muffins


3 large ripe bananas
2/3 c granulated sugar ( you can reduce to 1/2 c for less sweet of a muffin)
1 large egg
1/3 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c all purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips (I used the mini morsels)/have extra to top muffins


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tins with baking cups.

In a large bowl mash your bananas with a fork. Make sure no large lumps.

Stir in the sugar, egg and applesauce.

Now sift the flours,cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into wet ingredients. Mix together gently. Do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups. Fill to top. Sprinkle top with a few chocolate morsels. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until pick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to completely cool.

Muffins stay fresh up to 5 days in airtight container...but I must confess these will not last that long. Delicious!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Some say I am a bit corny.

In all the social circles I have been in, people often say I am a bit corny. Well, I don't think that is all that bad of a thing and I tend to embrace it.

So today I am going to go with it and share with you a recipe I tried last night for dinner.

Corn Casserole aka "Corny Casserole"

8 T butter
1 15.25oz can whole corn with liquid
1 14.75oz can creamed corn
8 1/2 oz box of Jiffy corn bread mix
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 c light sour cream
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Melt butter in 9 x 13 baking dish. Add corn and cornbread mix; mix with fork. Add eggs; mix with fork. Drop sour cream by tablespoon all over the top of the mixture. Fold in gently. Add salt and pepper blend into corn mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 35 minutes or until mixture is firm. Cool slightly before cutting into squares.
This is heavenly! I must confess, I could just make a meal of this.

What are some of your favorite "corny" recipes? Feel free to share as well as you can visit my Facebook page "Momma's Hungry Thoughts".

Have a great day!

Monday, October 14, 2013

It is National Dessert Day...

What dessert makes your mouth water just thinking about it? I have to say, I have been craving my Black Forest Trifle.

 This pic was taken a year or so ago. That was the last time I believe I indulged in this sweet and dreamy dessert. Such an easy dessert to make too.

Black Forest Trifle


2 pkg. chocolate fudge brownie mix (plus ingredients to make each batch)
2 regular size candy bars  milk chocolate
1 can (30 oz) cherry pie filling
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup cranberry cherry juice ( you can omit if you don't have this...I find it makes the cherry mixture too thin).
2 cups cold milk
2 pkgs. (3.3 oz.) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping thawed



1.        Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut two  8 1/2 square parchment paper squares and lay each in bottom of two square baking pans. Prepare brownie mix according to package, spread over bottom of the two baking pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center come out clean. cool completely. You can also just mix up both box mixes and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.
2.        Loosen brownies from sides of the baking pans and invert brownies onto cutting board. Cut brownies into 1 inch cubes set aside.Chop 1 1/2 of chocolate bars. Reserve remaining chocolate for garnishing.
3.        Combine cherry pie filling and almond extract in small bowl, remove 1/2 cup for garnishing and set aside. Stir the cranberry cherry juice into cherry pie filling that contains the almond extract.
4.        In a medium bowl, pour milk and whisk in pudding mixes until mixture begins to thicken. Fold in whipped topping.
5.        To assemble trifle, place half of the brownies in bottom of a trifle bowl. Layer half of the cherry pie filling mixture evenly over brownie cubes. Sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate; top with half of the pudding mixture, pressing lightly and repeat the layers.
6.        Garnish top of trifle with reserved cherry pie filling and chocolate curls made with reserved chocolate. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

* You can substitute devils food cake or your favorite chocolate cake for the brownies. I just enjoy the gooey brownies over devils food cake. Make the trifle your own and tweak it to your liking.

A little confession I have to make... When I have made this dessert for get togethers, I have doubled the cherry mixture and kept it in the fridge to have it as a snack with the whipped topping just so I could make sure I have a good taste of it if I didn't get any at the get together.

Life is too short...Eat Dessert First!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Soft Pretzel's almost like the ones your "Aunt" makes at her kiosk in the mall.

What is one thing you have always wanted to make but never have attempted to try? Well, I had never made soft pretzels. You know the ones like you get at your "Aunts" kiosk in the mall. Well my first attempt turned out pretty well. The pretzels turned out and were tasty. I would say give them a try. I will make them again once I get a new Kitchen Aid standup mixer. I blew mine up. Luckily I saved the dough from getting oil in it as it spewed from the mixer.

Soft pretzels


1 1/2 c warm (110 degrees F) water
1 T sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 c of all-purpose flour
4 T butter (melted)
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top.

Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Pray your mixer doesn't blow up and spew oil everywhere. lol

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place (I placed mine on counter in the sunlight) for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Take two sheet pans and line with parchment paper and lightly brush with the paper with vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart dutch oven.

While you are waiting for water to boil, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope of dough holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 at a time for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Confession... I didn't have pretzel salt so I just used kosher salt.

Bake until dark golden brown in color. I baked mine for 12 minutes.Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

You can dip in your favorite mustard or cheese sauce.

Oh and if you have a weakness for all things bread...make sure someone else is in the house to share them. I managed to eat three of these darn things before dinner. WOW I am miserably full!



October 11th was World Egg Day...How did you celebrate?

In celebration of World Egg Day, I tried making a vegetable quiche for dinner.

One important tip, make sure you squeeze as much of the water out of the thawed frozen spinach before incorporating into your egg mixture. It could cause you quiche to be a bit loose.

Overall the quiche had wonderful flavor and loaded with veggies! I decided to balance out the savory with sweet and baked it in a shortbread crust. My husband prefers the standard pastry crust but I have to say, I truly like the shortbread the best.

Vegetable Quiche


4 large eggs
1 1/2 c half n half
1 1/2 c shredded Swiss cheese
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach
1 pkg of dry vegetable soup mix (I used Knorr brand)
1/4 c shredded carrots
1/4 c fresh or thawed frozen peas
6 green onions chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Crust ingredients:
1 pkg Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
2 T butter melted
(You can just use a premade shortbread pie crust)


Preheat oven and baking sheet to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sized bowl beat eggs with a whisk. Then incorporate the rest of your ingredients (not the ingredients for pie crust).

Pour the egg mixture into a 9 inch shortbread deep dish pie dish. (Crush 1 pkg of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies and mix together 2 T butter- press mixture into pie dish).

Bake quiche on baking sheet for 50 minutes or until center is firm.
CONFESSION- I had to bake mine for 60 minutes due to not getting all the water squeezed out of spinach.

Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

Feel free to customize your quiche to what veggies you desire.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Caramel Apple Muffins

Who as a kid grew up loving caramel apples? We didn't mind the gooey mess at all when we were younger. Now as an adult, there are several ways to enjoy the sweet goodness of a caramel apple without the mess. You can slice the apple and dip it, you can slice up the caramel apple itself into individual slices, or you create those tasty flavors in a pie, cake or muffin.

Today I am going to share a recipe for caramel apple muffins. I am going to make them a bit on the healthier side by using whole wheat flour or oil! BONUS!

Whole Wheat Caramel Apple Muffins


  • 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (you can also substitute with 1/8 cup
    Stevia or Splenda and 1/8 cup granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (Splenda makes a brown sugar blend you can substitute)
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 2/3 cup diced peeled apples
  • 1/3 cup caramel bits


Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 10 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the whole wheat flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set that aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and applesauce together until no brown sugar lumps remain.
Add the beaten egg white until fully incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry until just combined. Do not over mix since this would cause a tough muffin. Fold in the tasty apples and caramel bits.
Divide the batter evenly between 10 muffin tins. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes. Muffins will be lightly golden in color and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean with the exception of some gooey caramel.

If you find that the caramel hardens up a bit in the muffins, warm them up a bit in the microwave for a few seconds. To be honest, warm muffins are better than cold muffins anyway.

This recipe was adapted from another blogger's recipe:

My little confession...the first time I made these muffins, I actually woke up in the middle of the night craving them!

Another idea you can do with this batter is bake it in a 8 x 8 pan then crumble it up and make a trifle or parfait with either your favorite ice cream or seasoned whip cream and MORE CARAMEL drizzled over the top!

Okay I am out of control aren't I!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sausage Hash Brown Skillet

Okay so my post this morning on my Facebook page Momma's Hungry Thoughts was asking you all what your favorite thing to fix for breakfast on the weekend is. Well my answer was sausage hash brown skillet. The recipe is more of a throw together type of arrangement. My dad used to make this frequently when I lived at home. You can either keep it pretty mild or kick it up a bit heat wise with some chili pepper.

Sausage Hash Brown Skillet

1 lb of your favorite ground sausage or pork (You can use Italian sausage or even chorizo if you are feeling a bit edgy.)

1 pkg frozen tater tot potatoes or you can use diced frozen potatoes

1/2 a green bell pepper diced

1/2 a red bell pepper diced

1 medium onion diced (I prefer sweet onion)

2 T cooking oil (I am now using grape seed oil and love it).

1 small cayenne pepper (finely diced if you want some added heat). If you don't have a fresh cayenne pepper you can always substitute dried cayenne pepper to taste (normally not more than an dash or two. That stuff is potent!

Salt and pepper to taste (I am a garlic pepper junky so I tend to use it in place of regular ground pepper).

My dad used to even add some Italian dried seasoning to the mixture at times too. Have fun with adding your own twist to the recipe.

In a a medium sauce pan I brown up my ground sausage until cooked through. I drain off the grease and then set aside.

In a large skillet I heat up my oil and pour in my whole package of tater tots. When they have been cooking for about 15 minutes, that is when I add the bell peppers and onion to the skillet. Let the tater tots, bell peppers and onion cook up and even start to brown up.

I like to break up my tater tots a bit so that they aren't in their original tot shape any longer. Once your tater mixture is close to being to the browned stage that you desire (I like it pretty the bit of crunch to some of the potatoes), add the sausage to the mixture.

This is when you would also add the cayenne pepper if you wanted to kick it up a bit.

Remove you Sausage Hash Brown Skillet from the burner. Dish up and enjoy. My husband enjoys adding a few splashes of hot pepper sauce to the dish. Of course I think he has an asbestos tongue.

You can add or take away ingredients depending on your or your families taste.

I little confession on my indulgence side of thing would be to top your Sausage Hash Brown Skillet with a fried egg. MMMMMmmmmmm.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Apple Crisp with a twist

I don't know about you, but I love the extra time on the weekends to sit and scroll through the enormous pins on Pinterest. That site is so addicting. It is no wonder why many businesses block that site from their employees from their work computers.

Well I woke up Sunday morning and made my husband his coffee. While waiting for it to brew I glanced over to see I had a bowl of apples just screaming for attention. I didn't have anything planned for breakfast yet so the first thing that popped into my head was apple crisp. It would be nice and warm on this crisp (no pun intended) morning.

I went to the pantry and was disappointed that I didn't have any oats on hand. I did however have some shredded mini wheat cereal. Oh that would add quite the crunch factor and my little boy loves all things crunchy. I searched the internet for recipes that might actually use shredded wheat or like there of for a crisp. There were a few to my surprise. So why not give it a shot I thought.

Here is my take on Apple Crisp using shredded wheat for topping.

Apple Crisp

5-6 c peeled apple slice
1/2 c packed light brown sugar (divided)
2 T lemon juice
1 1/2 T tapioca (you can substitute cornstarch)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 c. Shredded Mini Wheat Cereal (finely crushed)
1/4 c (1/2 stick of butter) melted (you can use more if your mixture is still too dry)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix apples, 1/4 c brown sugar, lemon juice, tapioca and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set to the side for 5-10 minutes
  • Now for the topping, take crushed cereal (I crushed it by putting it in a ziploc baggy and crushing it my hand (rolling pin will work too), remaining 1/4 c brown sugar and butter and mix well until it is blended.
  • Pour apples into a non-greased 1 1/2 quart (I even used at 9x 13 baking dish and it worked). Sprinkle the apple mixture with the cereal topping.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until topping is browned and apples are nice and tender.

This is really best when still warm in temperature but if you need to store it, but in a covered container in the fridge and warm up later in the microwave. This would truly be delicious with ice cream on top but since I was serving it for breakfast, I didn't want my 2 year old to think it was okay to have ice cream for breakfast.

My little confession though... if I was the only one home, I would have had it with ice cream!

Hope you take the time to make this and share with the ones you love.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Hey Pumpkin...Orange you glad it is Fall!

Okay please don't click off this blog from my title.

Mom always said I got my sick sense of humor from my dad. Love ya Dad!

Well I have to share with you one of my favorite go to cakes. You can make it really easy by using a box cake mix.

What I plan to share with you is a recipe for Pumpkin Orange Spice Cake.

Pumpkin Orange Spice Cake 

This is what you will need to gather up for this recipe:

For the cake-
1 boxed Spice Cake mix
1 15 oz can of Pure Pumpkin
1 orange for juice and zest (I prefer to use naval oranges)


For the glaze-
1 c. Confectioners Sugar (powdered sugar)
1 orange for juice and zest (I prefer to use naval oranges)

Okay here it goes...

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or you can use butter. 

Let me give you a hint. It is easier to zest your orange before trying to cut it and squeeze the juice out of it. Believe me, I have gotten side tracked and cut the orange before I zested. Not pretty.Take your handy zester and zest one of your oranges finely (not pretty strips). Set to the side.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together cake mix, pumpkin, and the juice of one orange along with 1/2 T fine zest. Mixture will be thick. I mix by hand with spoon. No need to dirty up your Kitchenaid mixture for this.

Spoon the cake mixture into the bundt pan. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes (Ovens will vary). If you decide to bake in a regular cake pan refer to the cake mix box for cooking times. Stick the cake with a pick. The pick should come out clean when done.

Let the cake sit in the pan for about 5 minutes then invert onto your serving plate. Nothing like hearing the nice plop sound of the cake nicely releasing from your pan.

Okay so while the cake is cooling a bit. It is time to make the glaze.

Take your zester out again and make pretty strips out of second orange rind this time and set to the side for garnishing. In a small to medium bowl, mix together Confectioners sugar and the juice of the second orange.

Another hint, sift your confectioners sugar as you put it in the bowl. It will help keep your glaze smooth without lumps.

Now the creative part of the recipe, you get to drizzle the glaze over the warm cake. Once you have the amount of coverage you desire, sprinkle the beautiful orange zest strips you made over the top for a decorative touch. 

*Now if you don't care for spice cake, you can substitute about any other cake mix and it will work. I have done chocolate, yellow and even banana cake mix and it turned out delicious.

Warm someone's heart by sharing a piece of this cake with them. 

My little confession...
It is really tasty with some seasoned whipped cream on it (season your whipped cream with some mulling spice).