Pumpkin Waffles

I think I have mentioned before that Tim loves pumpkin!  When I stumbled upon this recipe for pumpkin waffles, I knew I had to give them a try.  They were perfect for a chilly November morning.  In fact, we loved them so much that after we finished eating, I prepared another batch to freeze.

Not to go all Sandra Lee on you, but I wanted to address the “semi-homemade” tag that I use.  If a recipe calls for a baking mix, pre-made dough, or other prepared ingredient, etc… I tag it semi-homemade.  Examples of these items include:  Bisquick {used in this recipe}, cake and brownie mixes, canned biscuits and crescent rolls, canned/jarred sauces, etc.  I do try to make as many recipes from scratch as possible, but I think using the occasional short cut is totally fine.  Making it semi-homemade is still better than totally store-bought or restaurant take-out in my opinion.

Pumpkin Waffles

{source: Erin’s Eats}

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2-1/3 cups Bisquick Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • 1/2 cup Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1-1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger



 Heat waffle iron and coat with non-stick spray if needed.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir/whisk ingredients until well blended.  Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto center of hot waffle iron. Close lid of waffle iron.

Cook about 4-6 minutes or until steaming stops {or whatever your iron recommends}.  Carefully remove waffles.  Repeat with additional batter.

Serve with butter and syrup.

Menu 11-22-09


Obviously Thanksgiving is this week, so I’ll only be cooking regular meals on Monday and Tuesday.  While I do prep work on Wednesday, we’ll probably just munch on something really simple like sandwiches.

foil pack chicken



Thanksgiving Prep 2009

Here’s my prep list/schedule for Thanksgiving.   I hope it is helpful to you!

At least one week in advance {the earlier the better}, I start off by planning the menu and then look up all the recipes that I will need.  I hosted Thanksgiving last year, so I’m pretty much repeating that.  Once I have all of the recipes pulled, I survey what ingredients I have on hand and make my grocery list.  Then I decide what bowls, pans, etc I will need and make a list of them.  A couple of days before Thanksgiving, I pull out all of the dishes that will be used and wash them, set the table, label platters, etc…

We are hosting my parents and one set of my grandparents {6 people total}.  I’ll tell them to arrive anytime around/after 11:00.  We plan to eat at one o’clock.  Thankfully I have the day before Thanksgiving off of work. Unfortunately, I have to work the day after and on Saturday.  Kill.me.now.



stuffing/dressing {Will not be cooked inside the bird}

corn casserole

2nd vegetable dish – green bean casserole or whiskey glazed carrots

mashed potatoes


cranberry sauce


dinner rolls

dessert – 2 homemade pies, one pumpkin and one pecan

apple cider punch and other beverages


My Thanksgiving game plan:

  • My Grandma is bringing a pecan pie.

My Mom is bringing the following:

  • dinner rolls
  • corn casserole {picture and recipe might be posted later?}
  • salad of some kind
  • cranberry sauce
  • possibly sweet potatoes?
  • electric carving knife

I’m providing:

  • beer, wine, and other assorted cold drinks
  • coffee
  • hot apple cider punch in crock pot {recipe will be posted later}
  • ice – start stocking up from our ice maker about 4 days ahead.  Ice will be needed for storing turkey in the brine overnight in cooler as well as serving drinks.
  • turkey – probably 15-20 lbs max.  Make brine 2 days ahead, cool and refrigerate until needed.  Place turkey in brine the night before {needs to brine at least 8 hours}.  Place slices of compound butter under skin right before roasting – make several days ahead and freeze.  {Method, directions, and pictures of turkey prep/cooking hopefully coming later}
  • gravy
  • mashed potatoes – I’ll probably scale back on the linked recipe.  Make 1 day ahead and refrigerate overnight, pull out of fridge approximately 2 hours before baking.
  • small green bean casserole – We could do without this, but Tim loves it.  I plan to bake it in my toaster oven. {recipe will be posted later}  OR, if Tim can survive without green bean casserole, I will make whiskey glazed carrots.
  • stuffing – Make cornbread 2 days ahead.  Cut into cubes and dry out cornbread and store-bought french bread 1 day before.  Chop onion and celery in the morning, place in Ziploc bag in fridge until needed.
  • pumpkin pie – Make pie dough several days ahead and freeze.  Make pie 1 day ahead.
  • appetizers – I’m not completely sure here, we won’t need much for the 2 hours between when guest arrive and dinner is served.  I’m afraid the meal may hit the table a little late though {it always does right? Right?!?}, so I want to have a few things on hand – cheese spread and crackers, assorted olives and pickles, fruit and veggie tray.  I also want to set the apps out again several hours after the meal {approx 5 or 6:00} if guest are still there and feel snacky for some lighter fare.

Things I need to wash/iron/set out/etc:

charge camera battery

cloth napkins & rings


wine glasses and other nice drinking glasses


formal silverware

large clear glass pitcher for ice water

coffee carafe

Heirloom china

butter dish

2 tier decorative pie holder

basket(s) for rolls

pie server/knife

serving bowls, platters, casserole dishes for stuffing and green bean casserole, divided appetizer dishes, cheese spreaders, appetizer forks

snack plates and matching cups for dessert {I have this set}

mugs for coffee, sugar bowl and cream pitcher set

crock pot for cider

extra chairs

put 2 leaves in table

ice bucket and tongs

bag to brine

containers to send leftovers home with guests

clean the house

Grocery list

meat thermometer



apple cider – 2 gallons, one for brine and one for drinking

1 loaf of french bread for stuffing/dressing

assorted cheese for appetizer plate

3 cream cheese blocks, one for mashed potatoes and 1 or 2 for cheese spread or other appetizer dips

wine and beer



carrots – only need if I decide to make whiskey glazed carrots

veggies and fruit for appetizer plate, definitely oranges to garnish punch and grapes

lemon for lemon juice in punch

Is anyone still reading this?

I already have on hand:


chicken stock

ingredients for pumpkin pie and crust

canned green beans, condensed soup, and French’s fried onion rings for green bean casserole

appetizers – crackers, pickles and olives

dried spices and seasonings for everything that requires them {cider, pie, brine, stuffing}

ingredients for corn bread

That’s all folks!

Am I forgetting anything really obvious? ? ?

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I had a craving for buffalo chicken wings the other night, but also was dying to try out the new pizza crust yeast by Fleischmann’s that I just bought.  So I combined the two ideas and made a buffalo chicken pizza that was the bomb diggity.

Seriously, this was a great pizza.   As we were eating, Tim told me “you know you’re going to have to make this again soon, right?”   It was so good and easy to make.  I made it on the weekend, but it will definitely be something that I make on busy weeknights in the future.  The pizza dough doesn’t require rising, so it is super fast and easy to work with.

Sadly, I forgot to buy a red onion and blue cheese, so I had to skip those ingredients.  I’ll definitely make sure to include them next time, since they were missed.

Even if this recipe doesn’t appeal to you, I encourage you to at least try the pizza crust and use different toppings.  Homemade pizza crust is so good!


Buffalo Chicken Pizza

{source:  loosely adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles}


1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded (about 12 oz) – or leftover roasted chicken

¼ cup Frank’s hot sauce or wing sauce of your choice

3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup Ranch dressing {enough to thinly cover the crust}

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled  – I omitted

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced

¼ cup red onion or scallions, diced very fine – I omitted

prepared pizza dough for one regular 12″ crust {recipe below}


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare the dough as instructed below and roll it into a 12″ circle.  Place it on a pizza pan that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.

Spread the Ranch dressing over the dough.

Combine the shredded chicken with the hot sauce and evenly place it over the crust.

Top with cheese, and then peppers and onions if you are using them.

Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes on the bottom rack.  Pizza is done when the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is browned.

Let the pizza rest about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.


Pizza Crust


1 envelope Fleischmann’s Pizza Yeast

1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour {I used a little less than 2 cups total}

1-1/2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup very warm water (120 degrees – 130 degrees)

3 tablespoons oil


Combine one cup of flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Add water and oil.  Mix together until well blended, about one minute.

Gradually add 1/2 cup of flour until soft dough is formed; will be slightly sticky.  Add additional flour if necessary to form the dough into a ball.

Knead on a floured surface, adding more flour if needed, until smooth and elastic; about 4 minutes.

Roll dough out into a 12″ circle and transfer to pizza pan.

Top as desired.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Banana Muffins

Just the other day, one of the friends that I have had since childhood reminded me of how often my Mom made banana bread when we were in school together.  I loved it so much as a kid.  My friend could not believe I didn’t have it on the blog yet.  My reason for that is when I bake it in a regular loaf pan, the middle never cooks through and sinks down.  {Any ideas why?}  That never happened with my Mom’s bread…

Anyway, I have been thinking about banana bread since that conversation.  So today, I baked some – dividing the batter into 6 jumbo muffin tins and one mini loaf.


Banana Bread or Muffins

{Source:  my Mom}


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed {approx 1 cup}

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg – optional, cinnamon can be substituted

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup chopped nuts – optional {I omitted them today}


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray baking pans with nonstick spray or line muffin cups with paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda together. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in bowl of stand mixer.  Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla, then the mashed bananas.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture.  Scrape the sides of bowl.  Stir in the nuts by hand.  Spoon or pour batter into baking pans.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes if using muffin pans.  Bake for about 40 minutes if using loaf pans.  Check frequently to prevent over browning, cover with foil if top browns too much before center is done.  They are done when toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool on wire racks.


Copy Cat Recipe: Red Lobster Biscuits

Yummm…these biscuits are delish!  Not quite exactly like the ones they serve at Red Lobster, but pretty darn close.


Red Lobster Biscuits

{source:  one of my Mom’s friends}


2 cups Bisquick buttermilk baking mix

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 tsp {or more} garlic powder


Preheat oven to 45o degrees.

Combine the baking mix, cheese, and milk in a bowl with a wooden spoon until soft dough forms.  Don’t over mix.

Drop batter by rounded tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Mix melted butter and garlic powder together and brush on biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yield:  12 buscuits

Menu 11-15-09


French onion soup



Chicken Parm

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

leftovers for 2 nights

Other things I plan to make:

chocolate dessert of some sort

Sausage and Lentil Stew

This is another recipe that calls for an ingredient that I have never worked with before.  This time it was lentils, last time it was leeks and oddly enough, leeks are present in this recipe too.  I have wanted to try lentils for quite a while, but just never got around to it.  I’m glad I finally cooked with them.  We really liked this stew.  It has an earthy taste, but in a good way.

Due to poor planning on my part, I made this dish on a day that temps were near 70 degrees.  Who would have thought that would be the case in November?!  Especially when it was freezing in September this year! Anyway, it tasted great but would be better suited for a cold night.

I cut the recipe in half (approximately – I tend to wing it.) and the list below reflects my measurements.  I would say that my version serves 6.  Click the link for the full recipe if needed.


Sausage and Lentil Stew

{source:  Smellslikehome, originally from Ina Garten; Barefoot in Paris}


  • 1/2 pound lentils
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 medium diced celery stalks {I’ll probably use 3 stalks next time}
  • 3 medium diced carrots
  • 32 oz. chicken stock or broth
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound kielbasa, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar  {I used the vinegar}
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a large stock pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender.
  3. Knock over the bottle of olive oil.  Watch in horror as it crashes to the floor in slow motion.  Cuss profusely for 60 seconds!
  4. Compose yourself and add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings.
  6. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot.
  7. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.



Shrimp and Penne

This is such a favorite of ours! I could not believe I hadn’t put it on the blog already!


Penne a la Betsy {named after her sister}

{Source: The Pioneer Woman}

  • ¾ pound Penne Pasta {or other short pasta, I used gemelli}
  • 1 pound Shrimp
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ½ cup White Wine (or To Taste)
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Parsley – to Taste
  • Fresh Basil – to Taste
  • Salt – To Taste
  • Pepper – To Taste
Preparation Instructions

Cook the penne pasta until al dente.

Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).

Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.

Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve in warmed bowls.


Broccoli Cheese Soup

I have been on a soup kick lately, making a batch at least once a week.  It is sooo much better than soup from a can and it is hard to screw up.  You can usually make substitutes and fudge on measurements and still get great results.

I strayed from the original recipe a little bit to use what I had on hand.  Overall, I thought this tasted fantastic!  Leftover soup was not as good as fresh, but was still okay.


Broccoli Cheese Soup

{source:  adapted from Sweet Tea in Texas}


1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup flour

1 can evaporated milk plus enough milk to equal 4 cups {original recipe calls for 1/2 and 1/2}

1 can chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion, chopped

1 cup carrot, chopped very small {about 3 medium carrots}

1 box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained

8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

dash of paprika

salt and pepper


In a large skillet, sauté onion in 1 T. butter for a minute or two, then add the carrots and continue to saute until soft.

Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven or stock pot, cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.   Stir constantly and slowly add the milk.  Then add the chicken stock. When it is thick and bubbly, add the broccoli, carrots and onions. {It will thicken more when you add the cheese.}  Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.

Add salt and pepper, nutmeg and paprika.

Then stir in the shredded cheese.  Mix until well combined.


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