Alley's Recipe Book
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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - total time 35 minutes

Happy Halloween!  All those pumpkins you used as decorations or for carving can be turned into a tasty and healthy snack.  Pumpkin seeds are full of protein, vitamin B & E, and fiber... and they are super easy to make!

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scoop out the insides of the pumpkin into a colander.  Wash all of the pumpkin off the seeds.  Boil seeds for ten minutes, then pat dry with towel.
2.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and mix in spices (chili powder and paprika), salt, and pepper.  Spread dried pumpkin seeds on baking tray and drizzle butter mixture over top.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Mini Pumpkin Pies - total time 50 minutes

I love the idea of bite-sized desserts.  You don't have to worry about cutting servings and you can eat one at a time until you've had enough.  Since pumpkin pie is a favorite for this time of year (and we had a pumpkin carving contest at work), but you could make little apple pies too.  They are so cute, people will gobble them up!

1 large can of pumpkin puree
1 can condensed milk
12 oz cream cheese
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
.5 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 pre-made pie crusts (to make things easier)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Soften cream cheese in microwave.  Mix pumpkin, cream cheese, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
2.  Cut out small circles of pie dough using a cookie cutter or top of a cup.  Spray oil over mini muffin cups and carefully create mini pie crust with the pie circles.  You will likely have to make a couple small folds on the edge.
3.  Pour pumpkin pie mixture into each crust.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top.

Fried Green Tomatoes - total time 20 minutes

There was a light dusting of snow on the garden this morning after superstorm Sandy and a cold front collided and stalled out over Ohio.  We had several warm days last week, so some of my summer veggies were still hanging on despite a couple frosts already (some old plastic drop cloths protecting them slightly).  If you look closely at the picture below, you can see some slush on the tomatoes I brought in!  

So, since I had to pick all my green tomatoes, we had fried green tomatoes tonight!  You can either make them with fry batter (flour and water) or bread them.

green tomatoes
.5 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
italian herbs
salt & pepper

1.  Cut tomatoes into half inch or smaller slices.  Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on one dish.  Mix Bread crumbs and herbs together on another dish. Coat the tomatoes with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
2.  Pan fry each tomato slice for four minutes each side.  Serve with some fresh grated parm.

Creamy Baked Spaghetti - total time 40 minutes

This recipe is so easy... my husband could make it!  I can't remember the last time I had spaghetti, pretty much because it is boring.  But this one is different... and creamy!

.5 box a spaghetti noddles
1 pound ground turkey
1 jar of marinara sauce
8 oz cream cheese
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper
parm cheese
panko bread crumbs

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook ground turkey in pan.  Add chopped peppers, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to turkey and cook for five minutes.  Add marinara sauce and cook another five minutes.
2.  Spoon a quarter of the meat sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish.  Add noodles and spread warmed cream cheese over the noodles.  Spoon out remaining meat sauce on top.  Sprinkle parm and panko on top.
3.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie - total time 40 minutes

If you're like me, you've been burned by chicken pot pies in the past... literally, your mouth (roof, tongue, throat) was burned you thought you may never be able to taste flavors again.  Well, here is an easy (and colorful) solution.  Prepare the veggies with biscuits on top... so tasty!

1 pound chicken
1 container of biscuits
.5 cup cream
1 cup vegetable stock
variety of vegetables
salt & pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook chicken (add cut carrots half way through to cook).  Steam green beans and corn.
2.  Combine broth, cream, salt, and pepper in mixing bowl and stir.  Add in veggies and chicken to the bowl.  Dump contents into a casserole dish.  Place raw biscuit dough on top and bake for 20 minutes.  Each biscuit section is one serving.


Weekly Menu

A cold front coming through Ohio is making it unseasonably cold.  With Sandy making landfall soon, this week's menu includes a couple soups to keep us warm (including one of our favorite soups ever).

chicken parm w/ spaghetti squash
baked potato soup
chicken pot pie
baked speghetti
tortellini soup

Creamy Chicken Pinwheels - total time 30 minutes

I love chicken salad croissants, especially the buttery, flakey croissants.  Yum!  But they are so messy.  No matter how carefully you put them together, half of the chicken salad ends up spilling out of the sandwich.  Baking a pinwheel version of this tasty sandwich makes a quick, clean lunch for several people.  Also, I never thought of heating a chicken salad croissant sandwich, but I liked it better right out of the oven!

.5 lb chicken, chopped
.333 cream cheese, softened
.25 ricotta
chopped greens (swiss chard or spinach)
salt & pepper
Pillsbury crescent sheet

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook chicken.  Soften cream cheese in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Stir in ricotta, greens, salt, and pepper.  Add chicken.
2.  Roll out crescent sheet and spread chicken mixture evenly.  Roll sheet carefully, then cut about 1 to 1.5 inch sections.  Sprinkle some parm cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes.

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice - total time 7 hours (20 minutes of work)

Chicken, steamed broccoli, and rice seems like the epitome of a low lat, plain jane meal.  Spice up the ordinary with this creamy variety made in a crockpot.  Definitely much more flavorful!

1 head of broccoli
1 pound of chicken
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup sour cream (or creme fraiche)
.5 cup fresh mozzarella
salt & pepper

1.  Cook chicken in chicken broth, salt, and pepper in your crockpot on low for six hours.  Shred the chicken with forks and add back to the crockpot.  Add chopped broccoli, sour cream, and mozzarella and continue to cook.
2.  Prepare rice according to package.  Check on chicken and broccoli; if soupy, add some flour.  Once mixture has thickened, serve on top of rice and enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs - total time 1 hour

It is squash season!  Put a twist on the classic spaghetti and meatballs by using spaghetti squash instead of noodles.  It is so simple, I wish I would have tried this earlier!

1 spaghetti squash
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
.25 cup parm, grated
herbs, salt & pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut squash in half and bake for 45 minutes.
2.  Combine meat, egg, half of the breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, and spices and mix together.  Form balls slightly bigger than ping pong balls.  Roll meatballs in remaining bread crumbs.
3.  Sear meatballs in a hot pan.  Turn every few minutes.  After all sides are seared, put pan in oven for 20 minutes to finish cooking meatballs all the way through.
4.  Run a fork through the cooked squash to make 'spaghetti' and scoop onto plate.  Add your meatballs and some sauce and enjoy!


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