Monthly Archives: October 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

It is Halloween weekend and it is snowing outside! Crazy! Since when does DC get snow in October? My little sister, Gabrielle, and dog, Phoenix, are visiting me this weekend and are proving to be great assistants in the kitchen while Melissa is out of town. Gabrielle is a great taste tester, and Phoenix makes sure that no crumbs go uneaten! Gabrielle’s favorite fall snack is Pumpkin Break so without further adieu, Pumpkin Muffins. These make a great snack while having a pumpkin carving contest (which of course I won).


Pumpkin Muffins
Yields approximately 20 delicious muffins.

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 can of pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup of raisins
3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup of chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 tin muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Place raisins in a small bowl, add hot water and cover with moist paper towel. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, and baking soda). Create a well in the center of the bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients (eggs, pumpkin, vegetable oil, and applesauce). Mix.
  5. Drain raisins and fold in raisins, chocolate chips, and pecans. Be careful not to over mix.
  6. Spoon into muffin tins filling approximately 3/4 full. These muffins to not rise very much.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Halloween & Muffins
H&M

pumpkin8

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Beer Macaroni and Cheese

The problem with being mostly wine/margarita drinkers is that sometimes your beer skunks before you get around to drinking it. So if you are like us, and don’t frequently drink beer, make sure that your beer is not skunked before attempting this Beer Macaroni and Cheese dish. We used Bud Light the first time we made it and while it tasted delicious we thought it might have tasted better if we used a heavier wheat beer like Blue Moon.

Beer Macaroni and Cheese
Original recipe yields 8 servings.

6 tablespoons of margarine (divided)
¼ cup of flour
1 ½ cups milk
28 oz of beer (or 2 ½ cans)
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
1 cup softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
4 ounces bread (or 2 slices)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 pound elbow macaroni pasta, cooked until al dente and drained

  1. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Fill a stock pot with 4 cups of water and 12 oz of beer (1 can). Bring to a boil over high heat and cook pasta until al dente (8-10 minutes) and drain. Add to prepared pan.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of margarine. Whisk in the flour removing all the clumps. Cook for 3 minutes. Add 16 ounces of beer (1 ½ cans), milk, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Whisking constantly for 5 minutes, or until thickened.
  4. Add cream cheese and 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese.
  5. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and mix.
  6. Melt remaining butter and add to torn up bread crumbs.
  7. Sprinkle bread crumbs and remaining cheese over top of pasta.
  8. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Hearty Macaroni

H &M

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Chicken Marcela

After a month of schlepping between hotels and a temporary apartment, our complex has finally set us up with a mold-and-flood-free new apartment! We move in three days. You would think that with two meeting planners we would have everything together, unfortunately for us, we have procrastinated packing. In order to get us in the packing mood we decided to make a big Italian dinner, Chicken Marcela! When we went to the grocery store this week we had difficulty finding a nice Marcela wine to make this dish, so instead we are substituting it for a Cabernet Sauvignon which should provide a nice body for the sauce. This is one of our favorite dishes because not only does it pair perfectly with wine, it is integral for the sauce!

Chicken Marcela
Original recipe yields 3-4 servings.

3 large chicken breasts
1 pound of spaghetti noodles
5 oz of sliced baby portabella mushrooms
¾ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
¾ cup of fresh spinach
3 slices of prosciutto
Freshly ground sea salt, nutmeg, and black pepper (for seasoning)
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
1 ½ cups of chicken broth
½ cup of Marcela wine (or substitute with a heavy red)
2 tablespoons of flour
4 tablespoons of margarine

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.
  2. Chop baby portabella mushrooms and add to skillet, sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Put mushrooms aside in bowl.
  3. Butterfly cut 3 large chicken breasts.
  4. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken breast. Add one slice of prosciutto to each chicken breast. Chop spinach and sprinkle over chicken.
  5. Fold chicken breast shut. Season with sea salt, nutmeg and black pepper.
  6. Add remaining butter and 1 tablespoons of olive oil to warm skillet. Add chicken to skillet and panfry for 5 minutes on each side. Allowing each side to lightly brown.
  7. Remove chicken from pan and place in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
  8. In a large stock pot bring 6 cups of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente (7-10 minutes).
  9. Deglaze skillet with wine and chicken broth. Add garlic and allow to simmer.
  10. Return mushrooms to skillet and mix.
  11. Plate chicken and pasta and cover with mushroom Marcela sauce.

Too bad I still don’t really feel like packing!

Hectic Monday
H&M

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