Chicken, Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

I always thought making chowder would take forever. Why did I think that? This meal was so quick and easy I didn't even have to plan ahead. Just ran by the store on my way home to pick up a few ingredients, and had it made within 30 minutes of arriving home! It was delicious too, and unique since it had sweet potatoes instead of regular and a hint of cumin. Very yummy and a perfect fall meal to warm you up from the inside out. We served it with large rolls, toasted with melted cheese under the broiler. It would also be great in a bread bowl.

Chicken, Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

3 cups whole milk
1 cup yellow corn muffin mix
2 T. butter
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 " cubes
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
3 cups frozen corn (not thawed)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix milk and muffin mix in bowl until well combined. Meanwhile, heat butter in large pot over medium heat until foaming. Add onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, chicken and sweet potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sweet potatoes are just tender, about 8 minutes.

Stir in milk and muffin mixture and simmer until soup thickens, about 10 minutes. Add cheese and corn and cook until cheese begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.

This would easily serve 10 people. We halved it and had leftovers for a few days.

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe.


Special K Treats

Special K Treats are like Rice Krispie Treats, but wayyyyy better. They're Rice Krispie Treats on steroids. They are more gooey and have a nutty, brown-sugary taste that is just divine. Don't be alarmed when you see how much butter is in them. Just take deep breaths and embrace it. You'll be so happy when you taste them. These are really great and so easy to throw together. Try them. I bet you can't eat just one!

Special K Treats

1 lb butter (yes, that's FOUR cubes - gasp!)
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 16 oz bag mini marshmallows
1 package slivered almonds (around 10 oz)
1 tsp vanilla
1 16 oz box Special K

Combine butter and sugars in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for about 30-60 seconds. Add marshmallows, remove from heat, stir constantly to melt. (If they don't melt, put the pan back on the stove on low heat and continue stirring.) Add 1 tsp vanilla, stir in. Fold in the Special K and almonds. Spread in 9 x 13 pan.

Recipe from Kaylene Harding. (My husband's wonderful mom.)


Pumpkin Pancakes

So maybe I'm a little obsessed with pumpkin lately. Embrace it, it's Autumn! These pancakes were soft and fluffy and delicious with a hint of spice and pumpkin flavor. They were a perfect weekend morning breakfast. Delicious with maple syrup, and maybe a dollop of whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 ⅔ cups buttermilk
¾ cup canned solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
more butter for griddle

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium. Mix first 9 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Whisk buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter in medium bowl until well blended. Add to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Melt butter in skillet or griddle. Working in batches, drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto skillet or griddle. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top and bottoms are golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Keep cooked pancakes warm until ready to serve by piling on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.

Serves 6-8.


Pumpkin Cookies

It's that time of year, folks. Nothing says "autumn" like a big warm pumpkin cookie with chocolate and butterscotch chips. These are really good. I made another recipe for pumpkin cookies last week, and these ones blew those first ones out of the water. So make these! While you're at it, make some pumpkin hot cocoa to go with it. Then cosy up on the couch with a blanket and a good book and bask in the glory that is fall.

Hop Scotch Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (extract will work just fine)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, milk, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add vanilla and chips. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Recipe and photo from Abbie (love her), originally found on My Baking Addiction.

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

We don't have hot cocoa mix, so we got a little creative. But this little concoction turned out just like a dream. Delicious! Try it out.

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

1 mug of milk (2% or whole preferred)
a good long squeeze from a bottle of chocolate syrup
1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tsp powdered sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbs canned pumpkin

Stir the chocolate syrup into the milk, then microwave for a minute or so, to desired heat. Stir in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin. Add more of each ingredient as needed, to taste. Add marshmallows, curl up on couch, and sip luxuriously. ;)

And just look how much happiness and joy it will bring to your loved ones when you make it for them.


Pork Barbacoa (Cafe Rio Sweet Pork)

There are a lot of restaurants in NYC (that was the understatement of the year), but we have yet to find something that tastes like good old Cafe Rio back home. This recipe for shredded sweet pork is ridiculously easy and comes strikingly close to the real thing. It's a perfect meal for Sunday since you can put it in a little before church and it'll be ready when you get home. It's delicious in tacos, salad, enchiladas, burritos, you name it. You can go all out and heat up some black beans and cook some rice with lime and cilantro. Below I've also posted the closest recipe I've found to their signature dressing. It's not perfect, but it's very close.

Cafe Rio Pork Barbacoa

2 ½ lbs. pork roast
⅓ cup water
1 clove garlic, minced {or ⅛ teaspoon garlic salt}
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 cup canned green enchilada sauce {or salsa verde}
1 cup brown sugar

Put pork, water, garlic, salt and pepper in crock pot on high for 4 hours. Drain, shred pork with two forks. Stir together green enchilada sauce and brown sugar, pour over pork and stir in. Serve in burritos, tacos, salad, etc.

Tomatillo Cilantro Ranch Dressing

3 large tomatillos
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
½ cup mayo
½ cup sour cream
1 envelope buttermilk ranch dressing mix
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno {half it if you don't like the heat}

Remove Husks from tomatillos, wash, quarter and broil until soft, about 7 minutes. Combine everything in blender until smooth. Chill for at least one hour for flavors to blend.


Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh my gosh, these are seriously some of the best cupcakes I've ever had, anywhere. I'm not kidding people. These are incredible. Do yourself a favor and go make them right now. The frosting has this amazing flavor, and how could it not, I mean come on, are you kidding me? White chocolate raspberry cream cheese? Yes, please! These are also incredibly cute and would be just perfect for a little girls' birthday party or baby shower, or bridal shower, for that matter. But even if it's not a special occasion, make them, you'll be so glad you did!

Chocolate Cupcakes:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup oil (I use canola)
2 cups hot water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything in a bowl until you get a thin batter. Pour the batter into muffin tins with cupcake liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. {Ours baked for about 19 minutes.}

White Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
6 ounces melted white chocolate {we used white chocolate chips}
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons raspberry extract
4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar {we liked less, about 3 1/2-4}
a tiny bit of red food coloring

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, or in microwave on low setting, stirring frequently and being careful not to overheat. Once the chocolate is melted, set aside to cool slightly. Beat cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy, gradually add in melted white chocolate and beat until smooth. Beat in butter, vanilla and raspberry extracts. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated and smooth. Beat in as much food coloring as you need for desired color.

Frost the cupcakes and if desired, garnish with white and semi sweet chocolate chips! So cute!

Makes 20-24 cupcakes. And just look how thrilled it will make you to eat them:

Recipe found via Abbie, on My Baking Addiction.