Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

I got this recipe from my s-i-l Cody and made some last night- delicious!

4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 1/2 - 2 c. pumpkin
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix together. Spread batter in ungreased 15x10x1 in. baking pan. (*I think the cookie sheet I used was bigger than that, but it worked.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. (*Since my pan was bigger, I only needed to bake it for 22 min.) Cool completely and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. softened butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese and butter with beaters first. Add vanilla and powdered sugar.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THE BEST pancakes you'll ever eat in your life.

Classic Buttermilk Pancakes

3 Tbs. unsalted butter; more for serving
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
Vegetable oil for the griddle
Pure maple syrup for serving

Heat the oven to 200°F. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove and set aside to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cooled melted butter and mix just until the batter is evenly moistened (there will be lumps). Let the batter rest while you heat the griddle.

Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat (or set an electric griddle to 375°F) until drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly oil the griddle. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Let cook undisturbed until bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Check the underside of each pancake to make sure it’s nicely browned; then flip. Cook until the second side is nicely browned, about 1 minute more. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you repeat with the remaining batter.

Excellent Pumpkin Soup

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
3 cups chicken broth
16-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (or squash)
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
Melt butter in a large saucepan, and sauté garlic and onions till golden brown. Add curry powder, salt, coriander, and cayenne pepper; simmer gently for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

Add pumpkin, stirring till smooth. Add evaporated milk. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes; don't allow soup to boil (but a simmer is OK).

In batches, transfer soup to blender or food processor. Process till very smooth. Serve hot. Yield: about 8 servings.

NOTES: I love to use shallots instead of onion in cream of vegetable soups. You can try both and decide which you like better.
If you don’t have evaporated milk, use 8 or 9 oz of milk and 3 of 4 oz of cream.
I like this better with roasted squash instead of canned pumpkin. I roasted an Uchiki squash the night before and used the cooled squash in the soup the next day. Everybody loved it. Look for Uchiki; it’s very smooth and quite flavorful.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Garlic & Mushroom Mashed Potatoes

6-8 potatoes (I can't remember how many I used. It was whatever was leftover from the prior night's dinner of baked potatoes)
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Butter (can't remember)
Light sour cream (however much I had left in the fridge. Maybe 1/2 cup? But I would've used more if I had it)
Milk (no idea how much)
White wine (maybe 1/2 cup?)
2 cloves garlic, minced (again, all I had. I totally would have at least doubled this. But I LOVE garlic.)
Rosemary (no idea how much)

Cook the potatoes, leaving the skins on. Mine were already baked, but you can boil them or microwave them as well.
Saute the mushrooms and garlic in some butter (I think I used 1 or 2 T.) in a skillet. After they're mostly ready, add in white wine and turn the heat way down. Let it simmer so you cook out all the alcohol. While that is simmering and smelling yummy...
Mash the potatoes (I use my hand mixer), add sour cream, butter, milk, whatever you like to make your mashed potatoes creamy. Just remember, they will be getting a little more liquid from the wine. Oh, and salt and pepper to taste.
Then add the mushroom mixture and a goodly amount of rosemary. Stir it all together. DO NOT prepare gravy. That would ruin it.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these. Sorry about the lack of amounts. That's just sort of the way I cook. But you can do it too!

Green Smoothie

1 ripe pear, quartered but leave skin on
1 banana, cut in thirds
1/2 can pineapple chunks + juice
6-8 oz. vanilla or lemon yogurt (we tried it both ways)
Ground flax seeds (probably about 2-3 T.)
Chopped spinach, as much as would fit in my blender
Ice cubes

I actually used more than the 1/2 can of the pineapples the first time, so it was less than 1/2 the second time and it seemed really thick (well, it was really thick both times, but it seemed too thick the second time), so I added some milk too. I have no idea how much.

I blended the fruit, yogurt, and flax seeds first and then added the spinach a little at a time. I don't know if it was just my blender, but I had to kind of push it down with a spoon to get it to chop in.

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

18 oz. white chocolate
1/4 C. milk
1 C. shortening
1 C. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
8 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. milk

Microwave chocolate and 1/4 C. milk on medium high for 1-2 min. Stir halfway through cooking time.Cream butter and shortening.  Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, beating well on medium after each addition. The frosting will seem really dry at this point.  Add 1/4 C. milk, beating at medium until light and fluffy.  Beat in chocolate.

I cut this recipe in half and I'd say it still made about 3 or 4 cups of frosting.

Chicken And Gnocchi Soup

First off, this is a recipe that is a composite of several others I found on-line.  Like all of my recipes, it's kind of shady when it comes to amounts and whatnot.  I'll do my best.

1/3 C. butter (margarine or olive oil, if you're going dairy-free)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 lbs. chicken, cubed (sometimes I cook it in the soup first and then cube it before serving.  No real reason, just whatever I'm in the mood for)
1 carrot, diced
1/2 or 1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 C. Spinach (this amount varies greatly depending on my mood and how much I have, and you can use fresh or frozen, I haven't noticed a difference)
1 tsp. thyme
Salt & Pepper (I actually don't add extra salt because I think there is enough from the chicken stock)
4 C. chicken stock
2 C. milk or half n' half (rice or almond milk work just fine)
16 oz. Gnocchi (I actually double this because my family love these little dumplings)
1-2 heaping T. flour
1/3 C. cold water

Melt butter and cook the chicken in it.  Add and saute onion, celery, garlic, and carrot until onion is clear.  Add chicken stock, milk, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi.  Gently boil 4 minutes, then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.

Whisk flour into cold water then stir into the pot to thicken the soup.  Add spinach.  Heat to boiling.  Once it has reached desired thickness, serve.

Sometimes this thickens up so much in the fridge overnight, I add more water to it before serving it the next day.  It's so flavorful it handles this just fine and still tastes just as delicious.  ENJOY!!!