Recipe Review: Glazed Apple Streusel Muffins

So I whipped up a batch of these the other day for no particular reason and they were a huge hit.  My husband, who really isn’t much of a sweets person, ate three of these in one sitting.  This recipe is from Taste of Home.

Glazed Apple Streusel Muffins

Glazed Apple Streusel Muffins

Serves: Makes 6 muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package (6-1/2 ounces) apple cinnamon muffin mix
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

GLAZE:

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare muffin mix according to package directions; fold in apple. Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, flour and butter; sprinkle over batter.
  2. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over warm muffins. Serve warm.

THOUGHTS

  • Everyone who ate these muffins said the same thing – the center is so moist!  People raved.
  • I used a nonstick muffin pan and did not grease the cups or use paper liners.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Cream of Tomato Soup

One of my husbands favorite comfort food meals is grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.  I’d been on a search for a good, creamy tomato soup recipe that would satisfy him and this one from Taste of Home definitely does the trick!

cream of tomato soup

Cream of Tomato Soup

Serves: 9 (really more like 6 large bowls)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Philadelphia® Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped coarsely (1” x 1” pieces, approximately)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cans (11-1/2 ounces each) V8 juice
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

DIRECTIONS

  1. (note: I have adapted the original Taste of Home directions) In a food processor, combine coarsely chopped onion and garlic cloves – pulse until onion is finely chopped and has almost a gritty consistency.
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in butter.
  3. While onion and garlic are sautéing, combine stewed tomatoes and cream cheese in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Once onion and garlic are soft and a slightly golden color, whisk in tomato soup and V8 until blended. Gradually stir in the cream cheese mixture, cream and basil. Cook and stir until heated through (do not boil).

THOUGHTS

  • This tastes like the kind of tomato soup most people grew up eating – Campbells condensed tomato soup… it’s just a bit more grown up.
  • I did not make the seasoned oyster crackers that are listed on the Taste of Home website as an accompaniment to this soup but they sure sound tasty!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Asian Spaghetti

I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time successfully cooking Asian food for some reason.  I have no idea why, but that ability eludes me frequently.  However, the other night I made this dish from Taste of Home and it was delicious.

asian spaghetti

Asian Spaghetti

Serves:  5 (haha, yeah right – more like 2 to 3 if you’re eating this as your only side like we did)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, snow peas, carrots and onions in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar and cayenne. Drain pasta. Add pasta and soy sauce mixture to skillet and toss to coat. Heat through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

THOUGHTS

  • I purchased presliced mushrooms and matchstick carrots which meant the only thing I had to chop was 4 scallions – this dish came together in a flash!  Great for a quick weeknight meal.  We served this with chicken marinated in a 30-minute Asian marinade I found near the salad dressings and BBQ sauce at our local grocery store.
  • This dish is a bit strong in the soy sauce department in my opinion but my husband disagrees.  I am not a huge lover of soy sauce like he is however.  I think next time I’ll use ½ soy sauce and ½ water or perhaps try tamari sauce which is supposedly a less salty, richer tasting type of soy sauce.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Easy Minestrone

It’s no secret that I love me some soup.  I’m especially a fan of soups that are chock-full of veggie goodness and beans and take practically zero time to prepare like this one from Taste of Home

Easy Minestrone

Easy Minestrone

Serves:  10 (or so it says, I think closer to 4-5 if you’re serving this as the main course)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni  the recipe calls for this, but I don’t include it (see the ‘thoughts’ section for more info)
  • 5 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 11 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Just before serving, stir in macaroni and heat through. Serve with cheese.

THOUGHTS

  • This soup is delicious.  I especially love it topped with parmesan cheese.
  • I prefer this soup without the noodles because they have a tendency to get soggy and smushy.  I’m not a fan of either so I just leave the noodles out. 
  • To speed things up, I chop my tomatoes, carrots and celery in the food processor. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Vegetarian White Bean Soup

As I mentioned yesterday I’ve been eating this soup practically every other day and I’m gotta tell you… I’m hooked.  I love a good brothy soup and this soup is just mmm mmm good.  It’s ANOTHER Taste of Home recipe (you’d think I’m a rep for them or something with the consistency in which I review their recipes but I’m not… although that’d be cool). 

vegetarian white bean soup

Vegetarian White Bean Soup

Serves:  7

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup each chopped onion, celery and carrot
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan, sauté the zucchini, onion, celery and carrot in oil for 5-7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 

THOUGHTS

  • Top this with a little mozzarella cheese and you have a match made in heaven.
  • I know some people don’t like tomatoes and if you’re one of ‘em, you should still like this soup.  The flavor of the tomatoes practically disappears. 
  • This is a great vegetarian dish if you’re a fan of Meatless Mondays!

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

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Recipe Review: Lentil Vegetable Soup

Prior to cooking this soup I’d never eaten lentils.  Since I’m a rather picky eater I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit nervous about making this soup but it turned out wonderful.  I’m happily eating this soup at lunch every other day of the week (alternating with the soup I’ll be sharing with you tomorrow).  This is, yet again, another Taste of Home recipe

lentil vegetable soup

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1 can (5-1/2 ounces) spicy hot V8 juice
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium tomato, cubed
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery rib, sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the potato, tomato, carrot and celery; cover and simmer 30 minutes longer or until rice and vegetables are tender.

THOUGHTS

  • Just like the Easy Hamburger Soup I told you about on Friday I placed my potato, tomato, carrot, and celery in my food processor and used that to cut down on my chopping time. 
  • I’ve made this dish as directed using the ½ cup tomato juice + 5-1/2 ounces spicy V8 and I’ve also made it just using the same quantities, but all spicy V8.  I honestly couldn’t tell a difference.  If you don’t keep plain tomato juice on hand and don’t want to buy it, just use the spicy V8. 
  • This dish is filling and makes a great healthy lunch. 

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

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Recipe Review: Easy Hamburger Soup

In typical boy fashion, my husband is a big fan of dead animals… in the sense that he likes to eat them.  So, when I make soup, I usually try to throw in a soup that contains meat just for him (since I don’t like meat in my soup).  This time around, I made another Taste of Home recipe called Easy Hamburger Soup.  My husband has already eaten all of it.  Guess he liked it. 

easy hamburger soup

Easy Hamburger Soup

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces, each) beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 4 large carrots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup quick-cooking barley
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, broth and water. Add celery and carrots.
  2. Place peppercorns on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to beef mixture. Stir in thyme and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Return to a boil. Stir in barley. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until barley is tender. Remove from the heat; stir in parsley. Let stand for 5 minutes. Discard spice bag.

THOUGHTS

  • This is a great soup for cold weather.  It’s got some ‘stick’ with the meat and the barley.  The men in your family (and women too!) will love this one.
  • I did things the lazy easy way and chose to place my onion, celery and carrots in my food processor instead of chopping them by hand.  This saved me a ton of time and trust me, my husband couldn’t tell the difference (and wouldn’t have cared regardless). 
  • I didn’t have cheesecloth so I just added a ½ teaspoon of black pepper in lieu of the peppercorns. 
  • I also didn’t have quick-cooking barley so I just used regular barley (I love it when I’m prepared).  So, instead of adding the barley for the last 10-12 minutes I read the instructions on the back of the barley box that said that it needed to cook for 45 minutes… so that’s what I did.  I plopped the barley in with 45 minutes left to spare on the timer and it cooked up just fine. 

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

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Recipe Review: French Onion Pan Rolls

Did you grow up eating bread with nearly every dinner meal?  I’m fairly certain this is a regional thing but here in the south it seems as though a lot of families serve some sort of bread with dinner.  My family, however, was not that way.  My husbands family though is a different story.  When we first got together he would come over several nights a week and I would cook dinner.  I remember him asking a few times ‘where’s the bread?’ and I kept thinking ‘what bread?’  I finally told him that my family didn’t serve bread with every dinner unless it was Italian food – that almost always came with garlic bread.

Occasionally I’ll try to incorporate bread into whatever I’m cooking for dinner but usually only if it calls for it.  Spaghetti with garlic bread, chili with cornbread, etc.

The other day I mentioned that I made Bean and Pasta Soup (which was delish) and I decided to serve these nifty rolls to go alongside.  It was a great pairing!

You can view the original source of the recipe here.

French Onion Pan Rolls

Yield:  20 rolls

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • ½ cup butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Divide the bread dough into 20 portions; shape each into a ball (note: grease wax paper or foil to ease sticking).  In a shallow bowl, combine cheese and soup mix.  Place butter in another shallow bowl.
  2. Roll each ball in butter, then in the cheese mixture.  Arrange in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  3. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from dish to wire rack.  Serve warm.

THOUGHTS

  • You definitely want to put your parmesan cheese and onion soup in a food processor and pulse until ground up.  You get a much more even coating this way.  (Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor you can double bag in a sandwich bag, squeeze out the air, then beat it with a meat tenderizing hammer).
  • If you’re not a baker (ahem, mom) you can still totally make these since you’re using pre-made dough.  All you have to do is allow enough time for your frozen bread to thaw.  Check the packaging!  It takes about 5 hours so this is super important!
  • These cook up nice and soft with this cheesy crust on the outside.  Absolutely delicious!  They were just as good the next day wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven for a few minutes.  Husband is already asking when we can have these again!

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

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Recipe Review: Bean and Pasta Soup

So surprise, surprise, this is another recipe from Taste of Home.  You can view the original source of this recipe here.  I’m fairly certain I’ve purchased several Taste of Home magazines while standing in the checkout line and that’s where I get all these other Taste of Home recipes from.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for strategic marketing.

Bean and Pasta Soup

Serves 5

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked small pasta (elbows, shells, orzo, etc)
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet sauté the celery, carrots, onion and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the water, tomatoes, broth, basil, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  3. Drain pasta; stir into vegetable mixture.  Add the beans; heat through.  Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

THOUGHTS

  • I served this as a dinner meal on a chilly night with some delicious French Onion Pan Rolls that I’ll be sharing with you later.  It was mmm mmm good!  This soup is absolutely PACKED with good-for-you veggies and the flavor is really light – not overpowering in the least.  It makes a great healthy dinner!
  • I’ve made this soup before and used whole-grain shells but this time I used orzo because it’s what I had on hand.  You can really use anything.  If all you have on hand is spaghetti noodles just cut them up into 1” pieces and use those.  Anything works.  You can also use whole-grain pasta for added fiber and health benefits over white-flour pasta.
  • Due to the noodles this recipe does not freeze particularly well – they will disintegrate over time and it causes a strange texture.  So, I recommend eating all of the soup within a day or two and not freezing it.
  • If you use vegetable broth this dish is vegetarian.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

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Delightful Order
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Recipe Review: Pizza Pasta Soup

I know I’ve told you guys a zillion times that I love soup and with fall decending upon us I have to tell you – I’m stoked.  It’s finally soup season!  Although – I’ll eat soup when it’s 100 degrees outside so I guess I should say that it’s finally soup season for the rest of you not-crazy people.  🙂

I got this recipe here.

I want to preface (so you’re not confused later) by saying that there’s nothing ‘pizza-ish’ about this soup, so I’ve renamed it.  Ha!

Pasta Pizza Soup  Italian Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Servings: 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms (I used ‘white’ or ‘button’ mushrooms)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked tricolor spiral pasta

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat cook the beef, mushrooms, onion and celery until meat is no longer pink.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Drain.
  2. Stir in the water, tomatoes, carrots, bouillon, bay leaf and oregano. 
  3. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Stir in pasta; heat through.  Discard bay leaf. 

THOUGHTS

  • This is definitely a hearty soup.  A big steaming bowl of this soup with some crusty bread for dipping and you’ve got yourself a wonderful chilly weather meal. 
  • I used the type of spiral pasta that is part grain and part vegi (similar to this).  Doing so makes this dish even healthier and I promise that no one in your family will know the difference. 
  • My husband HATES mushrooms (which I love) and I chopped mine up really fine and guess what?  He never even knew they were in there!  Score!
  • If you use the vegi/grain pasta AND super-duper low fat meat this is a crazy healthy meal.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:


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