Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Apple Cider Glaze


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Soft Pumpkin Cookies With Apple Cider Glaze

I was in the mood for a cookie this weekend and was inspired by the flavors of fall, so this is what I came up with!  The cookies are incredibly soft, almost cake-like, and the apple cider glaze adds a nice hit of sweetness.  I hope you enjoy these as much as my nephews did!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Apple Cider Glaze
Yield:  3 to 4 dozen cookies
Time:  15 minutes prep, 15 minutes baking per batch

For the pumpkin cookies:
2½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups sugar
½ butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup of canned 100% pure pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the apple cider glaze:
1¾ to 2½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp. melted butter
¾ tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
¼ cup apple cider

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar.  Stir in the egg, vanilla, and puréed pumpkin.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until well blended.  Drop heaping teaspoons of batter onto the greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the tops of the cookies spring back when pressed gently.  Cool at room temperature.
  6. Whisk together all of the glaze ingredients.  Start by using only 1¾ cups of the confectioner’s sugar, gradually adding more until you get the desired consistency.  The glaze should be just runny enough that it’ll spill down the sides of the cookies.  Top each cookie with about half of a tablespoon of glaze.  Allow cookies to fully set (30+ minutes at room temperature) before wrapping them up.

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Chicken Enchiladas



Chicken Enchiladas

For me, there’s no better comfort food than enchiladas!  This recipe is sort of slimmed down (especially compared to the restaurant version), so eat up without the guilt!

Chicken Enchiladas
Yield: 4 servings (8 enchiladas total)
Time: 30 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking, 45 minutes total

1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
½ tsp. cumin
1½ tsp. chili powder
4½ oz. can diced green chilies
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
¾ cup frozen corn (or fresh)
1 cup cubed or shredded cooked chicken
15 oz. small white beans
19 oz. can mild red enchilada sauce*
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
8 medium sized tortillas

For garnish (optional):
2 avocados
juice of ¼ to ½ a lime
pinch of salt
½ cup sour cream
1 bunch scallions, chopped

  1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF.  Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, combine the peppers, onion, garlic, and EVOO.  Cook over medium heat until the veggies are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cumin, chili powder, green chilies, and chipotle peppers with adobo sauce.  Continue to cook over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the corn, chicken, and white beans.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for the next 5-10 minutes as you prepare the tortillas.
  4. Place the entire stack of 8 tortillas on a plate and microwave for 30 seconds to soften.
  5. Pour roughly 4 tbsp. of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Spread evenly so the entire surface is covered in a thin layer of sauce.  Pour about ¼ of the remaining sauce into a shallow bowl.  Dip both sides of a tortilla into the sauce, then fill the tortilla with the prepared veggies/chicken mixture by placing a generous line of filling along the middle of the tortilla, extending all the way to the edges.  Wrap the sides of the tortilla up to form the enchilada, and place it seam-side down in the prepared baking dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas, using all of the filling.
  6. Once all of the tortillas are filled and in the baking dish, drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, spreading evenly.  Cover with the shredded cheddar cheese.  Heat at 375ºF for 15 minutes, until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare a quick guacamole for garnish:  mash the two avocados together with the lime juice and salt.
  8. Garnish with guacamole, sour cream, scallions, and/or salsa.  Enjoy!!

Chicken Enchiladas
* I prefer to use mild enchilada sauce because I add enough heat with hot salsa, green chilies, and adobo peppers!  Feel free to use medium or hot enchilada sauce to kick up the heat even more!

Enchiladas are traditionally served with rice and beans, but I found that these were filling enough that I didn’t need to add the extra calories!

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Ham, Apple and Brie Quesadilla



Ham, Apple and Brie Quesadilla

Who doesn’t love a good quesadilla?  To me, the combo of gooey cheese and a crispy tortilla is the ultimate comfort food!  This spin on the classic food makes the perfect lunch or dinner!

Ham, Apple and Brie Quesadilla
Yield:  1 serving
Time: 15-20 minutes total

1 large flour tortilla
1½ tbsp. strawberry jam
1 oz. brie, thinly sliced
1 oz. shredded Gouda
1 oz. shredded pepper jack cheese
4 slices of deli ham, diced up
½ tsp. dried rosemary
¼ of an apple, very thinly sliced (I used a Honeycrisp, but use whatever you like!)

  1. Spread the strawberry jam over the entire top surface of the tortilla.  Arrange the slices of brie and shredded pepper jack across half of the tortilla.  Top with the slices of apple and deli ham.  Sprinkle with rosemary and Gouda.
  2. Transfer the tortilla, still open (with toppings covering half of it) to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, then fold the tortilla in half.  Continue cooking over medium heat until the bottom of the tortilla begins to get golden brown and slightly crispy (about 3-4 minutes).  Flip the quesadilla over to brown the other side of the tortilla.  Once both sides are golden brown, remove from the skillet and cut into thirds.
  3. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Bowtie Pasta



Cauliflower Bowtie Pasta

Do you know somebody who won’t eat their veggies?  Here’s a great way to sneak extra nutrients into your picky kiddos’ (or husband’s!) dinner.  The cauliflower helps to bulk up this pasta dish, but it isn’t easily discernible.  It’s color helps it blend into the pasta, too!  Cauliflower is chock full of vitamins C, K, B-6, and folate.  It’s also a source of calcium, iron, fiber, choline, magnesium, potassium, and even protein!  But most importantly, this dinner is delicious and full of flavor!

Cauliflower Bowtie Pasta
Yield:  8 servings
Time: About 40 minutes total

2 medium sized heads of cauliflower, chopped into ½-inch pieces
About ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) total
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it!)
1 lb. bowtie pasta
1 large handful fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
½ cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat the oven to 425ºF.  Spread the chopped cauliflower onto a large, greased baking sheet.  Drizzle with 2 tbsp. of the olive oil.  Sprinkle with ½ tsp. of the salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.  Roast until tender and the cauliflower begins to brown slightly, about 25 minutes.  (I often broil on high for an additional 5 minutes toward the end because I like a really roasty flavor!)
  2. Meanwhile, begin to boil water for the pasta.  Cook the bowtie pasta according to the package instructions.  Be sure to reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water before draining it!
  3. Combine the breadcrumbs with 2 to 4 tbsp. EVOO in a large skillet.  Heat over medium heat until slightly toasted and golden in color, roughly 5 minutes.  Set aside.
  4. Place the chopped onion, shallot, and garlic in the skillet.  Add 1 tbsp. EVOO, the remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook over medium-low heat until the onions and shallots become translucent and softened, roughly 7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Stir together the drained pasta, roasted cauliflower, and sautéed onions and shallots.  Mix in the toasted breadcrumbs.  Gently stir in about 1 cup of the reserved pasta water, adding more if needed to bring all of the ingredients together and make pseudo sauce.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley and shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese.

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Loaded Baked Potatoes


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Loaded Baked Potato

I absolutely love baked potatoes with all the fixings!  By the time I load up my potato with all the toppings I crave, it’s a full on meal—-no measly side dish.  Enjoy these however you like: as the main dish, or a side.

Loaded Baked Potatoes
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 20 minutes active, 60-75 minutes total

4 large russet potatoes (or sweet potatoes…my personal fave!)
salt and pepper
6 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
6 slices bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
¼ cup diced scallions
¼ cup diced chives
sour cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 385°F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes with a brush.  Pat dry.  Poke with a fork all over, to allow for steam to escape during baking.  Drizzle with olive oil and rub in with your fingers.  Sprinkle each potato liberally with salt and pepper.  Place on a sheet of foil in the oven, and cook at 385°F for about 60 minutes, until fork-tender.  (Note: if you cook more than 4 potatoes at once, you may need to increase the cooking time by 15-20 minutes.  Sweet potatoes tend to cook slightly faster than russet potatoes, so check on the sweet potatoes after about 50 minutes of baking.)
  3. Meanwhile, prepare all of the toppings:  Grate the cheese.  Cook and cut or crumble the bacon.  Dice the scallions and chives.
  4. Once the potatoes are done cooking, remove them from the oven using tongs (they’ll be HOT!)  Slice in half and load on those toppings!

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