Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Normally I'm not a fan of "cake" type cookies.  They just seem non-cookieish to me.  However, these pumpkin cookies are divine.  After eating too many dozen to count I had to ask my friend for her recipe.  I amped it up just a tish but the heart of the cookie is still there: PUMPKIN.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
15 oz pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together the sugar and the butter.  Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and the egg; mix until blended.  Add the flours, spices, baking powder and baking soda; mix until blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoon on to cookie sheet.  Bake at 350* for 12-15 min until done and lightly golden brown.
I used homemade pumpkin puree for these cookies, if you use pumpkin from the can your cookies will be a darker orange in color.  If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Enchiladas

I'm not sure why, but these are sooooo very good to me.  To everyone else they are good and they like them, but to me they are song worthy.  I love the smokey flavor with the melted cheese and creamy sauce.  Recently, I made these for a church function and everyone was shocked that there was pumpkin and asked for the recipe. 
Adapted from:

1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 diced poblano or anaheim pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cup chicken cooked and diced (see footnote)
1-4oz can green chilies, mild
1-15oz can pumpkin puree or fresh pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
dash of black pepper or to taste
10 oz queso fresco, crumbled
10 flour tortilla
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

In skillet saute the onions, garlic, and peppers until soft and tender.  Add in the chicken, chilies and 5oz of queso fresco.  In bowl mix pumpkin, milk, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.  Put 1/2 cup of pumpkin in with chicken and stir until all mixed together.  Coat bottom on 9X13" baking dish with about 1/3 cup of pumpkin mix.  Now assemble your enchilada.  Take one tortilla, spoon in the chicken mix and roll up; placing in prepared pan.  Continue until all tortillas and mix are gone.  Spread remaining pumpkin on top of tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 400* for 20-25 min.  Top with green onions and cilantro when removed from oven.  Enjoy!

Footnote:  A rotisserie chicken or home roasted chicken adds a depth of flavor that adds to the dish.  I put some chicken breasts and thighs in my crock pot with the following seasonings: 1 diced onion, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp dried rosemary (crushed slightly to bring out flavor), and 1/2 tsp chipolte powder.  Cook until done and then shred or dice for use.
If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Eggnog and Pumpkin.  These are two flavors of fall/winter in my house.  Summer has hardly started to loosen her grip on us when my boys start asking if eggnog is in the stores yet.  When the stuff hits the shelves in early October I'm sickened but the children and husband are in heaven.  Pumpkin just screams fall and is always in abundance in our food at this time of year.  I've made numerous batches of Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins and then there is the Pumpkin Soup and all sorts of pumpkiny treats.  I started these rolls by just thinking of eggnog and somehow pumpkin entered in.  After two tries a success was born and boy are they yummy.  They are even still good after three days.  This makes a double batch (24 rolls).

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups eggnog, warmed (no hotter than 115*F)
3 tablespoons yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Egg, beaten
6 cups flour, plus more if needed
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
 Mix first 8 ingredients as you would for bread.  Let rise until double.  When bread is doubled, in a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar; pumpkin; and cinnamon.  Split dough in half and roll one half into a rectangle as you would for cinnamon rolls (approx. 12"X20").  Spread 1/2 of the butter on dough.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the pumpkin mix and spread it out to cover dough.  Roll it up and cut into 12 rolls.  Place in greased 9X13" pan and let raise 20min.  Repeat with remaining dough and pumpkin.  Bake at 350*F for 15-20 or until golden brown and done.  Pour 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk over each pan of rolls and let cool or just eat.  Store any leftovers in the fridge.

If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Curried Chicken Salad

Today I have a luncheon/playdate and was asked to bring an awesome salad.  An awesome salad?  What in the world would that be?  I've been racking my brain trying to think of a new salad I could make that would be awesome.  I've hit gold!  This curried salad boasts crunchy and soft, sweet and savory.  With the warmth of curry, the crunch of celery, the sweetness of grapes, and the creamy softness of butternut squash your whole mouth gets a new sensation with every bite.  In essence it is fall food perfection.  I hope you take the time to try this salad, you may just find it to be awesome.

1 cup sliced celery
1 cup grapes, halved or quartered depending on size
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 cup roasted butternut squash, cubed
3 cup diced rotisserie chicken
1 cup light miracle whip
2 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp lime juice

Put celery, grapes, squash, chicken and 3/4 cup of almonds in bowl.  In separate bowl combine miracle whip, curry, honey and lime juice.  Pour dressing over chicken mixture and stir to coat.  Garnish with remaining almonds.  Serve as is or with crackers or as a sandwich.
For the chicken I just used chicken I roasted at home, but you can use what you like.
Linked to

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Butterfinger Crunch Cake

2 Cups Chopped Butterfinger Bars, set aside
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 sticks of Softened Butter
1 16 oz can Solid Pack Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Large Eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 – 8 oz packs Cream cheese
16 oz Marscapone (or Cream Cheese)*
2 sticks Softened Butter
1 lb powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease 2- 9" round cake pans.  Beat sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, scrapping down the bowl frequently.  Add in pumpkin and all the rest of the ingredients, except the eggs. Mix just until blended.  Add in the eggs, one at a time just until blended.  Divide batter equally into your 2 prepared cake pans, smooth it out and make it as even as possible in the pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow pans to cool about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire racks and allow to completely cool. 
When cool prepare the frosting.  First beat the cream cheese and marscapone together with the butter.  Add the extract and sugar.  Beat until fluffy.
Cut cakes in half so you will have 4 layers.  Spread frosting on bottom layer then top with cake and repeat until all layers are set.  Spread frosting on the outside of the cake.  Then take your chopped butterfinger and top cake and sides.
Not a cake for the faint of heart.

If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup eggnog
 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Buttered Rum Glaze
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp eggnog
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black) about 2-3 minutes. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the eggnog.  Pour into your bread making bowl. Add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof about 10 minutes. Then add the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.  Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20×12 inch rectangle.  Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.
To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, eggnog, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the bread.  Pull apart and enjoy!

If you choose to make your own puree, make sure you place it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for a couple of hours to get rid of the excess water, otherwise it will be too runny.

Creamy Chicken Pesto

This dish was from my sister.  It is super easy and delicious.  My children did not complain once about eating this meal and really that is saying something.

1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 lb uncooked noodles

Cook noodles according to directions.  Meanwhile, while the noodles cook, cook the chicken in fry pan seasoning with salt and pepper.  Drain the noodles.  Return to pan and stir in soup, milk and pesto.  Add in the cooked chicken and there you have dinner.
Talk about an easy meal.  For the noodles use ones that can hold onto the sauce.  I used big macaroni noodles, but penne or the like would work just as well.

Just typing this makes me want to eat some.