Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

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My favorite season is upon us and all things pumpkin are en vogue. From pumpkin picking, to pumpkin carving, to pumpkin eating, we are abuzz with excitement over the beautiful seasonal vegetable. When trying to decide how to make the perfect seasonal dessert with pumpkin, I always look for a dish that’s also pleasing to the eye. Years ago I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle and the rest has been history. It’s a beautiful dish, but most importantly, it tastes fantastic! I give you Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle:

You will need:

2 (14 ounce) packages of gingerbread mix

1 (5.1 ounce) box cook and serve vanilla pudding mix

1 (30 ounce) can pumpkin pie filling

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 tsp cinnamon

1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping

1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Directions:

  1. Bake the gingerbread according to the directions on the box and allow it to cool completely. I usually do this in the morning and just leave it to cool until I’m ready to make the trifle in the afternoon.
  2. Prepare the vanilla pudding and set it aside to cool. It’s a good idea to make this while the gingerbread is baking and then leave it in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to complete the trifle.
  3. When the gingerbread has cooled and the pudding has chilled, stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cinnamon into the pudding.
  4. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl.
  5. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread.
  6. Add a layer of whipped topping.
  7. Repeat the pattern with the remaining gingerbread, pudding and whipped topping.
  8. Sprinkle the top of the trifle with crushed or whole gingersnaps for decoration.

Allow the trifle to cool in the refrigerator overnight. It will be ready to enjoy the next day. Each time I’ve made this for a party or family gathering, it has received rave reviews. It has the perfect fall taste and is a dish that’s pretty enough to take anywhere. I hope you enjoy!

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Boneless Marinated Pork Chops

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before and I’m sure I’ll mention it again: I hate cooking! Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil. Therefore, when I cook a meal, I want it to be easy. I’ve been known to use my slow cooker for most of the meals I cook; it’s rare for me to just use my oven. That said, the recipe I’m sharing today is for a meal that’s made in the oven, and it’s super easy! Trust me, if I can make it and be happy with it, so can you. My husband and I really enjoyed this and I’m planning on making it again later this week.
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INGREDIENTS:
4 boneless pork chops
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs yellow mustard
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced and/or chopped

1. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper together.
IMG_48472. Take one pork chop, place it in the marinade, turn it over to ensure both sides are coated, then place it in a Ziploc bag. Repeat until all pork chops are in the bag. Once all of the pork chops are in the bag, pour the remaining marinade into the bag on top of the pork chops.
IMG_48483. Chop the garlic cloves, and slice or chop your onion and place on top of pork chops in Ziploc bag. Zip up the bag and give it a good shake to mix everything up.
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What it should look like once everything is shaken up together.

What it should look like once everything is shaken up together.

4. Place in the refrigerator. Any length of time is fine, the longer the better because it gives the pork chops time to really soak up the flavor of the marinade. I put mine in the refrigerator at noon and took it out to bake at 4:30PM.

5. Dump all ingredients into a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Before going into the oven.

Before going into the oven.

After baking for 30 minutes.

After baking.

All done! Serve and enjoy. We had ours with boiled potatoes, roasted broccoli, and corn. It was delicious!

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Steph’s Top Five Go-To Dinner Recipes

The other day, I was perusing the internet for dinner ideas when I thought, “I just want somebody to give me some quick and easy go-to dinners. I just want a list.” I felt like there was so much to look at and so many recipes out there, that it was just information overload. My next thought was, “Okay. Maybe I should do a post with a few of my favorite dinner recipes.” So that’s what this is; my top five go-to dinner recipes.

Favorite Number One: Classic Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilafhttp://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/228044/classic-rice-pilaf

Don’t let the name throw you. This is basically just rice that you bake in the oven. Everyone in my house loves it. Even Declan picks out the veggies and eats them. It makes a wonderful side dish and we’ve even been known to use the leftovers for a stir-fry the next day. We especially love it with fish. I leave out the saffron and pepper and add peas and carrots to sneak some veggies in, but it’s all personal preference.

Favorite Number Two: Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steakhttp://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Salisbury-Steak

First, let me say that I have never been a big fan of Salisbury Steak. It has always brought to mind tough meat with gelatinous gravy over it. But one day, when desperate for something new, I tried this recipe, and it is delicious. And it is really not very difficult at all. I leave out the mustard and double up on the gravy so that we have some for the mashed potatoes that I always make to go with this dish. It’s all about personal taste, though.

Favorite Number Three: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/five-ingredient-recipes/parmesan-crusted-tilapia

TilapiaThis is a crazy simple recipe with very few ingredients. I keep frozen tilapia in my freezer, but rarely have parsley and lemons unless I’ve specifically gone out for them. Even without those ingredients, though, this recipe works and is fantastic. Add a little Pam, salt, pepper, and then the cheese and paprika and after 10 minutes or so in the oven, it’s finished. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Favorite Number Four: Taco Soup

The beauty of this recipe is that you just open a bunch of cans, dump them into the pot, and let them go. It’s really that simple. Don’t drain anything and make any substitutes you want. You don’t have kidney beans? No problem. Use whatever kind you have. I have also thrown leftover chicken in, instead of the ground beef. I’ve also used half ground beef and half sausage. There is no way to mess this one up. I have no clue where this recipe originated, but it came to me from Colin’s mom. Below are the ingredients. Just dump them all into a pot and let them simmer together for a while. You can also put it all in a crock pot and let it warm that way.

  • 1 small onion, chopped and sautéed
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 can kernel corn
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • Season to taste with garlic, pepper, and Worchestershire sauce

Favorite Number Five: Broiled Pork Chops

This is quick and easy and came from a Weight Watcher cookbook about six years ago. In that recipe, you make your own barbecue sauce. In my world, I use Sweet Baby Ray’s. J I’ve used boneless pork chops, bone-in, thin sliced, and pretty much any other type you can imagine. They go great with a baked sweet potato.

  1. Set the oven to broil.
  2. Spray a boiler pan with Pam and lay the chops on it.
  3. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and cover with barbecue sauce.
  4. Place in the oven within a couple inches of the broiler.
  5. Remove every three minutes to brush with barbecue sauce.
  6. After six minutes, flip the pork chops and spread with barbecue sauce.
  7. Repeat this until the pork chops are done (usually six minutes per side for boneless).

I hope this helps some of you when planning dinner. If nothing else, it helped me to get my favorites in one place. 🙂 Happy eating everyone!

Banana Cake with Banana Cream Cheese Frosting

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Hello readers. As you know, my daughter’s first birthday was last week. I wanted to make a cake for the occasion and after much thought, I decided a banana cake would be perfect. She loves bananas and while not entirely healthy, it would be healthier than some other kinds of cake. I’ve made banana bread many, many times, but this is the first time I’ve made a banana cake and let me just say, it was delicious! So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Cake Ingredients

Cake Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 medium bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 pureed banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until well mixed and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. As always, I used my trusty hand mixer to do all of these things.
IMG_44632. Beat in mashed bananas (I pureed my bananas first, works just as well) and vanilla extract.
IMG_44643. Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl.
4. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to the creamed mixture and beat well after each addition.
IMG_44655. Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place cake into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. You can tell if it’s done by sticking a toothpick in the center; if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is finished.
IMG_4466 IMG_4467Now, for the banana cream cheese frosting:

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy and well combined.
IMG_44782. Mix in vanilla.
3. Beat in pureed banana. (Simply mashing a banana with a fork will probably work for this, but I pureed mine.)
4. Add powdered sugar until smooth.
IMG_44795. Spread over cake.
IMG_44806. Enjoy!
bananacake

Homemade Blueberry Jam

I recently posted a recipe for strawberry jam and black raspberry jam. My husband and I have discovered that we really enjoy canning jams. It’s a great way to use those in season berries and it’s something that we really love doing together. Plus, who doesn’t love having that sort of treat around!? More recently, we made blueberry jam. This one might just be my new favorite. This is the recipe if you’d like to try your hand at making your own:

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups blueberries, washed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 pouch (3 ounces) liquid fruit pectin
  • ~ 8 pint jars
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1. Begin by washing the berries and removing the stems.

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2. Pour blueberries into a dish and mash.

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3. Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice.

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4. Stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil which cannot be stirred down.

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5. Immediately add the pouch of fruit pectin. Stirring constantly, bring back to the boil and continue boiling for 1 minute.

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6. Skim off any excess foam that forms.

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7. Ladle the hot berry mixture into the jars. Wipe off any spills around the lid and then tighten the lids down.

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8. Gently place jars into a boiling bath. Be sure that the water is at least an inch above the lids. Boil for 10 minutes and then gently remove and place on a towel to dry and seal.

9. Leave the jars to cool and enjoy listening for the "pop" of the cans sealing.

9. Leave the jars to cool and enjoy listening for the “pop” of the cans sealing.

 

Making jams is rather easy and not very time consuming. Allow yourself an hour from start to finish and with just that short of time, you’ll have jam to enjoy for a year. It’s well worth the time and effort when you spread the treat onto a biscuit and enjoy!

I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as we do! As for me, I will see you all in two weeks. I’m vacationing next week and will be taking the week off from Three Ladies and Their Babies, but like always, you’ll be hearing from Ashley and Steph!

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Hi readers. Before today’s post, I’d like to announce that we have a new look to our site! Those are 3 of our combined 5 children in the image. Now, onto the recipe!

When I moved to England, something I really missed and couldn’t find a good version of was cinnamon rolls. I’ve never been good at making bread that required yeast, so I was too intimidated to try making my own. I found this recipe on SixSistersStuff.com for Cinnabon cinnamon roll cake and had to try it. It was delicious! It wasn’t a cinnamon roll, but it was close enough to fulfill my craving. They have since opened a Cinnabon store in the city centre, but I still enjoy making this cake from time to time.

INGREDIENTS
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbs. butter, melted
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. cinnamon

GLAZE INGREDIENTS
2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbs. milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, add flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla.

DSC05028Once those ingredients are added to the bowl, mix well. A hand mixer works well for this, or a stand mixer if you have one. I’m sure you could just use a fork as well, if that’s what you prefer.
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How it should look when the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla are all mixed together.

The next step is to melt 4 tablespoons of butter and stir it slowly into the mixture.

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Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.
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Now for the cinnamon part of the cake. Mix the butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl.

DSC05035Drop large,even tablespoons of the cinnamon mixture throughout the cake batter and then swirl it throughout the batter with a knife.

DSC05037DSC05038Bake cake for 25-30 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it’s slightly brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out almost clean.

DSC05041The next step is the glaze! Place the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk in a bowl. Whisk together until a smooth glaze is formed and drizzle this over the warm cake.

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cinnamonrcNothing left to do but enjoy! Check out SixSistersStuff.com as well as our recipes tab at the top of the page for more delicious recipes.

A Recipe for Roasted Broccoli

IMG_1549I don’t know about you, but I hate dieting. I’ve done all kinds of diets and I’ve always failed. I finally came to the decision that rather than dieting, I need to make permanent changes to my diet. The key to this is still eating things I enjoy so I don’t want to go back to my unhealthy habits. I still eat things I like, but I’ve found healthier things I like. I cut foods out of my diet in phases and I still allow myself to have those once every couple of weeks or something like that. For example, the first thing I did was cut out french fries. I used to eat french fries every single night with dinner. I knew that I couldn’t handle having them once or twice a week because then I’d want them all the time, so I found a veggie that I liked and I replaced them with that. What’s the vegetable that replaced my french fries? Roasted broccoli with onion powder. It’s incredibly easy and so delicious! I liked broccoli before, but I love it like this. This recipe keeps the broccoli crunchy while also not being dried out or burnt. It’s perfect.

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/2 cups Broccoli florets
1/2 T Oil (Use whichever type of oil you prefer. I’ve used sunflower oil today because that’s what I have on hand.)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Onion powder (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 390°F. You can use a lower temp if you want, just be sure to leave it in a little longer if you do.

2. Cut your broccoli florets into fairly even sized, small pieces (I use broccoli that’s already cut into florets because it’s cheaper, but I still have to cut those down smaller. If you’re using a head of broccoli, you can cut the stem into pieces and do those the same way, or just get rid of the stem after cutting off the florets). If they’re not similar in size, they’ll roast differently and some may burn by the time the others are fully roasted.

3. Spread them in a roasting pan. Take your tablespoon of oil and a brush and spread the oil over the broccoli so every piece has some on it. Alternatively, you can toss the broccoli in the oil.

4. Next, sprinkle salt, pepper, and onion powder (In my picture you see onion salt. If you use onion salt, no need to add salt as well, that would be extremely salty, unless that’s your thing.) to taste. I tend to use a lot of seasoning so I hate to give any kind of measurement here, just use the amount that you’re happy with.

Broccoli covered in oil, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Ready to go into the oven.

Broccoli covered in oil, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Ready to go into the oven.

Put it in the oven and roast for 6 minutes or until it’s just starting to brown. Remove, and enjoy!

broccoli

Blueberry Banana Bread

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I have a confession to make…I love banana bread. Seriously, it’s dangerous for me to be around it because I’m likely to eat the whole loaf. Not that that stops me from baking it. We have banana bread pretty regularly in this house. This is such an easy recipe to make, even if you’re not the best at baking. I decided to change it up this time and put some blueberries in it. It was pretty yummy. My husband liked it fresh from the oven, but I thought it tasted better the second day. I’ve added notes of what to do if you’d rather make banana bread without the blueberries as well.

  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas, mashed (4 bananas if you’re making banana bread without blueberries.)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 cup blueberries

First, preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. I used an electric hand mixer, which makes it a pretty easy job.

creambuttersugar

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Next step is to add the eggs and mashed bananas. Sometimes I mash the bananas with a fork and sometimes I use my blender. It’s quicker and less work for your hands to use the blender, of course. It’s up to you how you do it, it comes out great either way. (Note: If you want to make this without the blueberries, add a fourth banana to the mix at this point.)

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Now you need to combine the flour, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl. Next, you need to add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix those together. When that is done, add the vanilla and you can just use a spoon to mix that in.

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This is the mixture before I stirred the vanilla in.

This is the mixture before I stirred the vanilla in.

The final step is to add the blueberries, I also used a spoon for this step to be more gentle with the blueberries. I used a cup and I think that was the perfect amount, but really the amount you use depends on how much you like blueberries, which is why I said 1/2 cup to 1 cup in the ingredients. (Note: If you’re making the banana bread without blueberries, skip this step.)

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Once those are incorporated into the mixture, pour into a greased bread pan and put it in the oven to bake for 60 minutes.

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You can check that it’s baked through by sticking a toothpick into the highest point of the bread and if it comes out clean, it’s done.
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Nothing left to do but slice, eat, and enjoy! 😉

Grandma’s Chicken Casserole

One of my favorite things to do as a teenager was to spend a week with my Grandma and Grandpa Jacobs in the summer. I guess this might seem odd to some teenagers, but it was far from odd for me. I remember Grandma asking me each day what I wanted to do and suggesting different things like shopping or going to see a movie. She always thought there was no way I could be happy just sitting around the house with her and Grandpa all day. She was wrong. It was, and still is, a place of love, warmth, and happy memories. We’d play card games and chat. Grandpa and I would put puzzles together and joke around. She’d bake my favorite desserts and cook my favorite meals. Although my favorite part of these visits were the chats we’d have (I remember one in particular with my sister, sister-in-law, and a couple of my female cousins where we were up quite late into the night laughing over something silly one moment and talking about something very serious the next), the point of this post is the food.

My Grandma Jacobs is one of the best cooks I know. Everyone in the family has their favorite food and she seems to remember them all and she is sure to make them for us when we visit. For my sister and my dad, it’s always been chicken and dumplings, some of my cousins enjoy her fried chicken the most, while some others would do just about anything for some of her famous fudge. For years, my favorite meal of hers has been chicken casserole. I’m not sure where this recipe originated, but I’ll always think of it as Grandma’s chicken casserole. Since moving to England I’m not able to visit as often as I’d like, but we still talk on the phone regularly. When I do visit, she still makes chicken casserole and corn for me. Ever since I moved she’s tried to tell me how easy it is to make so I can make it myself and I won’t have to wait so long to have it again. I hate to cook so I never bothered to take her advice and try it until recently. Turns out she was right. This is probably the easiest dinner I’ve made and by far the tastiest. My husband says of all the meals I’ve made, this is his favorite. After persuading him to try a bite, even my extremely picky two year old son enjoys this. If I can make it successfully, I’m convinced anyone can!

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Although there is only one box of Stove Top pictured, you DO need to use two. I only had one box to use in the picture because I have to bring my Stove Top from America so I take them out of the box to save space in my suitcase!

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes of Stove Top chicken stuffing
  • 2 cans Campbell’s condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 5-10 ounces of water
  • 3 lbs. of chicken

Preheat your oven to 350°. The next thing you’re going to have to do is cook the chicken. I use a crock pot for this.  If you’re using a crock pot, put the defrosted chicken in the crock pot, cover it with water, and cook on high for 4 hours. I usually like to use chicken on the bone and then debone it when it’s done. You can do it that way or you can use boneless chicken breasts. I like the mix of dark and white meat which is why I usually use chicken on the bone, but when I made it this time I used a mix of both because it’s what I had available and that worked really well, too. It really just depends on which part of the chicken you prefer.

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Once the chicken is cooked, remove the skin and debone it, tear it into small pieces, and place the pieces in a layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

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The next layer is going to be the soup/water layer. Empty the two cans of soup into a bowl and then fill one of the empty cans about halfway with water and mix with the soup. The amount of water you use depends on how soupy you want the mixture to be. The original recipe calls for two cans of water or gruel from cooked chicken, but I found that using that much made the casserole far too soupy. Just over half a can works perfectly for me. Once that’s mixed together, pour it evenly over the chicken.

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Now you need to make the final layer, which is the stuffing. Prepare the stuffing according to the directions on the box and once it’s done spread it evenly on top of the chicken mixture.

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Bake the casserole at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes until the stuffing starts to brown slightly and the soup mixture starts bubbling through the stuffing.

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Serve and enjoy! We usually enjoy ours with mashed potatoes and corn, but it’s excellent on its own, too. As someone who is not very fond of leftovers, I have to say that usually this is even better on the second day, just stick it back in the oven long enough to warm it up.

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Why not make it a family theme night and make some of Mom’s Peanut Butter Fudge for dessert? 🙂