This week’s CEiMB recipe was chosen by Marthe of Culinary Delights. She chose Ellie’s easy chicken mushroom quesadillas. And let me tell you, they were easy. and so good!

These quesadillas included chicken, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese. I love meals like this because they’re easy to customize. I left the chicken off mine, the spinach off my husband’s, and the kid – well, he ate everything. I used a sharp white cheddar and it was beyond delicious. I’m seriously craving one of these now that I’m thinking about it.

I do have to say that I’m not a huge fan of making quesadillas in a pan. They always feel greasy to me, even if I just lightly spray oil on the pan. I prefer using my George Foreman grill and after I made this one in the pan, I used the grill to make the others. ;) So if you have a Foreman, please use it for all your quesadilla needs! No need for oil and you get those pretty grill marks.

Now go visit Culinary Delights to get the recipe!

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I know, I know. I just posted a pumpkin bread recipe a few days ago. But this one is actually supposed to be a bread and it’s full of walnuts, raisins, and dried cranberries which makes it that much better.

This bread was tender and stayed super moist for days after it was made. The nuts and dried fruit gave it a great texture and you get a little something different in each bite. My kid loved it and I’m pretty sure he ate half the loaf by himself and that is saying a lot because he’s having a picky month!

(The great big bonus of it all is that it’s actually healthy! No butter, no oil! I felt no guilt having this for breakfast!)

Pumpkin, Fruit, and Nut Bread

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and cloves; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture until blended. Fold in the walnuts, raisins and cranberries.
  2. Transfer to greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
http://fakeginger.com/pumpkin-fruit-and-nut-bread/

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I’m a huge fan of the heavier pasta dishes. You know, lasagna, baked ziti, manicotti, anything with ricotta and lots of cheese! But sometimes, especially in the summer, the idea of a heavy dish just doesn’t work. This dish turn out wonderfully light but still had that “cold weather” pasta feel.

The manicotti is stuffed with sweet turkey sausage in a white sauce, covered with pasta sauce and cheese, and then baked until the cheese is melty and delicious.

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Manicotti

Ingredients

1 box uncooked manicotti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet turkey Italian sausage
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
pepper
2 cups pasta sauce
1 cup mozzarella, shredded

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage and brown in oil, crumbling it as it cooks. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add milk, stirring with whisk. Return pan to heat; bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pepper to taste. Pour over sausage mixture and stir well.
  4. Preheat over to 350.
  5. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with spray oil. Spoon sausage mixture into manicotti and arrange in a single player in dish. Spread pasta sauce over top of manicotti and top with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
http://fakeginger.com/turkey-sausage-stuffed-manicotti/

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I have to tell you guys, the pumpkin shortage has me more than a little freaked out. I happened upon 4 cans at the store the other day and fought the urge to grab all 4 and run. I obviously couldn’t just walk away so I did buy 2 of them. ;) Unfortunately they are the big cans which means I use half for one recipe and then the rest of the can sits in the fridge taunting me. That’s how this pound cake came about.

This pound cake was excellent, although not really like a pound cake. The pumpkin made the it very dense and more like a quick bread than anything. I thought it was because I tried to halve the recipe but my friend Pam made it (on the same day I think. We Twitter’d all day about pumpkin that day) and she said the same thing. It makes a darn good pumpkin bread though!

(Like I said, I halved mine which is why it’s a loaf. The original recipe calls for a tube pan.)

Pumpkin Pound Cake

from Cooking Light

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. To prepare the cake, lightly coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Spread pumpkin over 2 layers of paper towels; cover with 2 additional layers of paper towels. Let stand about 10 minutes. Scrape drained pumpkin into a bowl.
  3. Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Lightly spoon 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.
http://fakeginger.com/pumpkin-pound-cake/

5

It’s been far too long since I covered my hands in flour and did some serious kneading! I can’t tell you how nice it felt to be back to bread making after a few weeks off.

I was not excited about this bread at all. I’ve mentioned many times that I’m not a huge fan of dried fruits in bread because they always end up tasting like rubber. Plus this recipe forced me to add lemon extract to my already overflowing cabinet of baking supplies.

The dough was easy peasy although it was REALLY wet even after adding only half the water the recipe called for. I would guess I added almost an entire cup of flour to the dough to get it to a good state.

It rose beautifully and had doubled in size after 2 hours.

Last time I made a braided bread I fell asleep and it ended up rising way too much and toppling over on itself. I made sure to watch this one closely after shaping. I decided somewhere along the way that I need to invest in a kitchen scale. Just look how much smaller the top portion is! I’d say a scale is a need, not a want, right? (Right husband?)

My whole house smells like walnuts and lemons right now and I can’t think of a better smell. The bread is delicious and not at all rubbery. The crust is nice and crunchy and the inside is so soft and lovely.

I was really not loving Bread Baker’s Apprentice but things seem to be picking up. Go visit the BBA page to see what the other bakers are up to!

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