Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bubble and Squeak

Another Halloween themed recipe, although in another country, Great Britian to be exact, the title isn't anything spooky. As far as I can tell this dish is the equivalent to our goulash. You know every family has their own version but they all showcase most of the same items. I got the idea from Jenny Mac's LipSmack only not at all in the same way as hers.

I loved this dish for so many reasons but probably the biggest reason was that it uses mostly leftovers. Love it! But I also love that is came together so quickly and tasted so good. Infact I am eating a bowl as I type this today for lunch. The only way it could have been any better is if it had been a rainy cold evening.

Baby Cakes gives this recipe a 10 out of 10 and said I could make this anytime I want. Well he doesn't need to worry because I certainly plan on making this recipe time and time again. (Do I always say that?)

Bubble and Squeak

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
6 slices bacon, chopped
3-4 cups mashed potatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen carrots
1 cup frozen brussel sprouts
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp hot sauce
sliced brisket, pre-cooked

In a pot over medium heat cook the bacon until lightly browned. Add in the onion and olive oil and cook until the onions are done.

Pour in 2 cups of chicken stock to deglaze the pan and then add the heavy cream and stir. Heat the liquids to a low simmer, add the mashed potatoes and stir until it becomes soupy. If needed add the additional 1/2 cup of chicken stock.

Add the carrots and brussel sprouts to the soup and heat through. Season with pepper and hot sauce (no need to salt due to the chicken stock and bacon). Once bubbling ladle into a serving bowl.

Heat the brisket however you would like to and float a few slices on top of the bowl of soup. Enjoy.

I would like to add that neither Baby Cakes or I had ever had brussel sprouts before last night. Baby Cakes said they are edible but he'd never ask for them and I say they are wonderful and how have I never had them before? Seriously?! Could it be that they are smothered in heavy cream and bacon fat? Who knows.

As you can tell from the recipe pictures and ingredient list this is basically a potato soup but it really is delish and would be a super cute Halloween supper.

Oh and lastly it certainly did bubble whilst cooking but I don't recall a squeak unless you count the sound of me after taking the first bite. Wink.

Boo Yum,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Popcorn Crispy Treats

I saw a recipe like this on Food Network one late night and filed the idea away in the back of my mind for later usage. Today is that later use. Baby Cakes and I decided yesterday that starting next year we will begin having an annual halloween carving party at our home for all the neices and nephews. Really for anyone we know who has children. Just because we don't have kids doesn't mean I have to sit and miss out on my favorite holiday of the year. So right now I am testing out ideas to serve next year. This is on of the tester recipes.

The idea of this is great. And as I take a bite I realize I can see kids loving this recipe, just add some gummy worms and it is on. Speaking of kids loving it Baby Cakes ate so much of this. lol. XOXO. (the funny thing about that sentence in that BCakes is my 30 year old husband to those who don't already know.)

Just make sure to spend an extra moment picking out the unpopped kernals. Can we say ouch? This has made it on the list for next year probably for the use of a party favor. Later this week I think I am going to try butter popcorn and candy coated peanut butter candies. Yum!

Halloween Popcorn Crispy Treats

1 bag kettle corn popcorn, popped
1/4 cup butter
2 cups marshmallows
1/4 cup candy corn
1/4 cup peanut butter covered candies
1/4 cup halloween colored jelly beans

Pop the popcorn in the microwave according to package directions. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter and marshmallows.

Once melted add in the popped popcorn, stir, and then the candy, stir.

Scoop into a prepared baking dish, spread and then press tightly into dish. Let cool, cut into squares and then enjoy!

Halloween has hit me with a force so strong this week and I am so excited about Sunday. Trick or Treaters are coming to my house! I so plan on being one of the cool ladies in the neighborhood so Baby Cakes and I bought ring pops and fundip to give out and not that little wimpy mini size either. Grin.

Happy Spooking Everyone,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Luscious Four-Layer Pumpkin Cake

Okay, I didn't make the recipe that I am about to share but Maggie did. If you follow my blog then you know that we just recently started sharing recipes. (Weird since we've been eating together my entire life, we're both food lovin' gals and talk almost daily (and the conversation always touches on food at some point.) Since she and I are so close (she's my Aunt too) what she makes is mine and vise versa so I'm sharing it in this post. Ha!

She made this this past weekend for the Girls Poker Party and it is divine! You guys it is light and airy with subtle pumpkin flavor. The filling is almost like a mousse. Mmmmmmm. It is amazing. I was already full from the snacks so I only wanted a small piece and then I looked down at this honking peice of cake on my plate and decided to share it with Vanessa, yeah almost didn't happen. At one point I looked at Ness and told her that she is going to have to get her own piece. Once you taste it you'll just keep shoveling it in your mouth. Sooooo gooood. But, my stomach got the better of me and I did infact share, but I didn't want to (pouting).

I've actually had my eye on this recipe for some time now. My co-worker, Sherry, emailed it to me a month or two back and we had ohh'd and ahh'd over it. Then Maggie told me she was making a pumkin cake for the girls night, who knew it would be the same cake? Very cool. Basically I got to eat something I've been wanting to eat and didn't have to bake it myself. Always wonderful.

I hoped to bring a slice or two (or four) home with me but it was late and I already had stuff to carry out (and I'm lazy, sometimes) so I didn't manage to get any home but Baby Cakes will give a review soon because I will be making this myself in the very near future (and I am willing to bet you will too).

Luscious Four-Layer Pumpkin Cake
recipe from Kraft Foods

What You Need

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans

Make It

HEAT oven to 350°F.

BEAT cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. spice in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round pans.

BAKE 28 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.

BEAT cream cheese in medium bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin and spice; mix well. Gently stir in COOL WHIP. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife; stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese filling between layers. (Do not frost top layer.) Drizzle with caramel topping just before serving; top with nuts. Refrigerate leftovers.

Like I said above this is a light and airy cake recipe. Everyone who eats it will be smitten, no I take that back, they will be smote with this dessert. This absolutley wonderful pumpkin layer cake.

Bravo Maggie, Bravo!

Yum and Boo Y'all,

Swamp Dip

Apparently I am in a dip mood. Also a Halloween mood. Enter swamp dip.

Just last week I was riding above the entire Lousiana swamp (In route to Georgia to welcome home my brother from Iraq! I am very proud of him so I had to share with my fellow bloggers.) watching out the window wishing/hoping to see an alligator. (They can't get me I am in a truck, geesh.) We did spot a few and it was everything I thought it would be, like looking out of the window and seeing an alligator. lol. Anyhow I paid attention to the swamp land and wondered what it would be like to live there. Probably creepy (I am a dry land girl through and through) and creepy goes with Halloween. Tada, swamp dip! (The entire thought process was much longer and drawn out but I'll spare you the inner workings of my mind.)

This recipe is a combo of many things. One of my aunts spinach dip recipes, queso flamedo (atleast my version of it), some various dip recipes I've seen/eaten/made over time and some things I had in my fridge. All of that produced this spinach dip. Think really gooey stringy cheese and spinach mixed together.

Baby Cakes didn't get to try this recipe (although I will be making it for him soon). Nope, it was made for the Girls Poker Night shindig and let me just tell you that every.single.person at the poker night raved about it. I heard mmmm's and yum's the entire time anyone was eating it. Infact I have to print this recipe out to give to some, that's how good it is. I would have to say that this is my new favorite dip recipe. I plan on taking this dip with me to every potluck, party and occasion from now on. (I told you it was good!)

Swamp Dip

1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, small chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 teaspoon hotsauce
8 ounce bag of mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat add the butter, onion and red pepper. Cook until almost softened and then add the garlic. Cook until done.

Stir in the flour and cook, while stirring, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and cream stirring nonstop, until the mixture is thickened.

Stir in the feta cheese, yogurt, spinach and hot pepper sauce until the mixture is heated through.

Remove from heat and then stir in the mozzarella cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread into an oven safe serving dish (sprayed with nonstick). Either serve now or cover and refrigerate until ready, up to 2 days.

If serving later preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 15 minutes.

I loved it with bagel chips but some say that they were too hard and hurt thier mouths so they preferred crackers. Whatever you choose to eat it with albeit veggies, chips, a spoon or just your hands, do it, just make this and eat it!

Boo Y'all,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Dip

When Baby Cakes and I first moved in together I was so excited to cook all the time. I would wake up early and make his breakfast, pack him a lunch and then come home from work and whip up a scrumptious dinner. (Not to mention keep the kitchen perfectly clean. Yeah, let's keep my housekeeping tendencies out of this.) Now he does his own breakfast and lunch. I do still cook dinner though. Shrug. So the point of sharing this is that I didn't start blogging until after we got married, (I know, scandalous) and because of this fact I haven't blogged some of my favorite things yet. Somewhere along the way I thought I had but when I went searching for the below recipe today I found that I hadn't even blogged it yet. Oooohhh y'all are in for a treat!

I have made this dip a million times, most of the time I make it for parties or potlucks. But, sometimes I make it just because I just want to eat it. Once I made this recipe just to have it while sitting on the front porch with my neighbor. A box of crackers between us and the dish perched on our knees. You will want to double this recipe, there is never enough.

Baby Cakes loves it, I love it, family loves it, neighbors love it, strangers love it, you'll love it. Infact, I have never taken this dip anywhere with me and returned home with some left in the dish. Never.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip
recipe adpated to my liking from an unknown source years ago

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 ounces pepperoni, chopped*
1/8 cup pepperoni, chopped*, reserved
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
2 ounces mozzarella cheese
1/4-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, reserved
crackers or bagel chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare a baking dish half sheet or round.

Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, pizza sauce and italian seasoning together in a bowl until smooth.

Stir in the pepperoni and green onions until well combined. Spread into prepared baking dish and bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled top with remaining cheese and pepperoni and cover with foil and put in fridge overnight or up to 3 days.

Before serving preheat the oven to 350 once more and bake off for 15 minutes. Serve.

*You could also use the mini pepperoni, which is what I used this go around, just omit the chopping.

(this picture is just so that you can see what the actual untopped dip looks like)

Now I know that it seems weird to make it and then let it sit around in the fridge for awhile but I promise it needs to. If you don't want to or think it would be better without that step be my guest, try it the first day you make it and then let it sit in the fridge overnight, reheat and then try it again. The flavors meld and work magic overnight.

Once you make this dish, if you like pepperoni, you WILL make it again and again. I have been asked for this dish on numerous occasions and will always ablige. Heck I ask for this recipe on numerous occasions. Yum!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brown Sugar Chicken

This one is another recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking. (I don't personally know her but I do know that she has a ton of slowcooker recipes, hence her blog name, lol and I plan on trying a ton of them. Not to mention that majority of her posts are entertaining.) I can certainly see why her family calls this recipe Candy Chicken.

Throughout the entire day the house smelled so yummy. Sweet and caramel like. (I have all the windows thrown open, the weather is wonderful and I am surprised that I don't have a million bees trying to get in.) It takes everything I have not to get up and do something with this recipe. Stir it or something but it's doing fine and I must just sit and drool all day long.

This is going to be made weekly in our house. after tasting it. Seriously, best chicken eva eva eva! The bowl you see below? I ate this whole thing plus some green beans. Baby Cakes says "I'm glad you finally learned how to cook." Ha ha ha. God love him.

Brown Sugar Chicken
revised from A Year of Slow Cooking

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, reserved
2 tablespoons brown sugar, reserved
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch, if desired
3-4 tablespoons cold water, if desired

Place the chicken into the crockpot and top with the brown sugar, pepper, chopped garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and soda.

Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours.

Right before serving put the chicken on a platter and set aside. Pour the cooking juices into a saucepan, add the butter and brown sugar and then bring to a boil. Either condense down to desired thickness or thicken with cornstarch dissolved in cold water.

Serve over rice and don't forget the sauce. No, do.not.forget.the.sauce!

This is an OMG recipe(yes I just used an acronym).


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pear & Gingerbread Upside Down Cupcakes

Today I was sitting around, scanning the blog world (I've been a little lazy in keeping up with everyone else's blogs) and I had a urge to bake something. I didn't have anything in mind exactly but I knew that there were some pears in my fridge that needed to be eaten or used in something. So I rummaged around in the cabinets and before I knew it I had an idea.

A box of gingerbread cake mix, some pears, pear juice? Pear and gingerbread? Pear and gingerbread? Pear and Gingerbread! THESE ARE WONDERFUL!! Divine! I can't even explain just how perfect all the ingredients work together. I could not be happier with this one. I will not be changeing a thing about them. Not one thing.

The topping, or bottom whilst baking, is gooey and buttery but not overly sweet. The pear is cooked to perfection, fork tender. The gingerbread isn't too heavy and despite the fact that gingerbread is a powerful cake in itself it doesn't steal the show. All the peices meld together to create something amazing.

Baby Cakes stood at the kitchen counter and ate all of them. Yes, all of them. lol. I think that means he likes them.

Pear & Gingerbread Upside Down Cupcakes

3-4 ripe pears, peeled and sliced
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 box gingerbread cake mix
1 1/4 cup pear juice
2 cupcake pans, 12 cakes per pan

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare the cake mix according to package directions using pear juice instead of water.

Spray the cupcake baking pans with nonstick.

Place 1 tbs brown sugar into each cupcake cup and top with 1 tbs melted butter. Place a peice of pear (I ended up cubing the slices) into each cupcake cup over the butter and brown sugar mixture.

Top with a scoop, 1/8 cup, of the prepared cake batter.

Bake 25 minutes or until done.

You won't even want to share them. They are so good,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Banana Apple Bread

There is something about the fall, it always make me feel like baking. So bake I will. (I make a point of pointing this fact out because you'll notice I don't bake very often. The funny thing is that everyone in my life thinks I love to bake. I loath it, unless I am in the mood to, which is pretty rare. But when I do feel like it watch out, everyone around me is about to gain 5 pounds. Grin.)

Growing up my Mom always made her banana bread which is wonderful. I always love it when she makes it. I adore her Banana Bread, there is never anything as good as the recipe you remember from childhood, and as I said above if someone else makes it it always tastes better. Now I'm not selling myself short, I created my own recipe for banana bread here and it was/is my favorite version in the whole wide world.

This recipe ranks pretty high on my list of sweet breads. The apples certainly add to the moistness. I like it and will be playing with it some more in the future. Baby Cakes said that it is wonderful but not sweet enough. (He likes his sweets but then again so do I.)

It originally called for fresh orange juice instead of apple cider but I had one and not the other. In regards to it being fresh apple cider, yea right!

Banana Apple Bread
slightly altered from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 apples, cored, peeled and cubed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the banana bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup apple cider
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 or 3)
1-2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Before you start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.

To make the apples:
Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To make the banana bread:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the cider and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the cider mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and dust the top with the coarse sugar.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further.

Serve slightly warm with a shmear of butter and perhaps some apple butter. Yum!

Banana Apple Bread
I can see why this would be a star recipe in a bakery.

Happy Fall Baking Y'all,

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