Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Apple Cider Sauce

First things first, this blog will be changing soon, sort of right now. My New Year’s resolution is no different from a million others this year. I am going to lose weight. The only thing is I can’t give up food (leaping for joy) so from now on I will be sharing recipe with the nutritional information as well. There will be few healthy recipes mixed in with a few not so healthy recipes.

Now I know at first sight this does not at all seem like a figure friendly recipe and if you leave now you’ll never know that is only has 383 calories per serving. Now I did serve this along with mashed potatoes (1/2 cup) (could have done better with brown rice) and green beans (2 cups) making my entire meal 569 calories per serving. For me that wasn’t a problem, I simply made sure I had the calories left to eat it. That being said, this is the best 383 calorie thing you will ever put in your mouth!

The gravy/sauce is amazingly flavorful thanks to the combination of apple cider and mustard. I could go on forever, it is so freakin’ good. I’ve never been happier to be on a diet.

Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Apple Cider Sauce
recipe from Family Circle, Nov. 2011, pg. 83

1 ½ lbs. pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Season the pork with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Place skillet in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until internal temperature registers 145 degrees F. Carefully remove from oven (handle will be hot), place meat on a serving platter and cover.

Stir flour into 1 cup of the broth until flour is dissolved; add to skillet. Add apple cider and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper; add mustard and simmer 1 minute. Add parsley.

Thinly slice pork and serve with sauce.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 383
Fat: 21.6
Saturated Fat: 9
Cholesterol: 119
Sodium: 762
Total Carbohydrates: 9.3
Fiber: 0.3
Sugar: 4.8
Protein: 35.5
Vitamin A: 6%
Vitamin C: 19%
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 11%

No joke? Everyone who comes to my house for dinner for the next year will be eating this for supper. I am in love with this recipe.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas...

Well, it's finally here. The season of all seasons, the crème de la crème, Christmas.

My hope for you this year is that you take time out from all the baking and cooking. The shopping and wrapping and tree trimming and just be for a moment. Enjoy your families, your life. Just pause. Sip some wassail, hot chocolate or eggnog. Maybe cozy up and watch a Christmas movie while snuggled under a blanket.

Be still and reflect on what this season is about, the birth of Jesus. Go to church and worship Him.

Yes, it finally Christmas. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Take care this holiday season.

Merry Christmas from my little family to yours,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Pork Ragu

Ah, my crock pot. I have a love affair with my crock pot. It might seem weird to use a crock pot during the winter, I mean an oven would warm the house. Not to mention that an oven would produce far superior depth of flavor right? Wrong. The crock pot can be and is a wonderful tool spring, summer, fall and winter. It can caramelize with the best of them.

When I first came across this recipe I wasn’t sure that Baby Cakes would be interested in trying it but (once every two weeks I sit down and pull out all the recipes I ripped out of magazines and pick 3 or 4 of them to make the following two weeks and) this was handpicked by the hubs.

Now, how would I score this recipe? On a score of 1 to 10 I would give it a big fat 10, Baby Cakes gives it a 9.5. With all the holiday cooking this recipe has been an easy way to feed my little family.

Slow Cooker Pork Ragu
recipe adapted from

1 can whole tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup baby carrots, cleaned
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
12 ounces pappardelle or other wide noodle
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, garlic, carrots, onion, chicken stock, oregano, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Add the pork to the slow cooker and cook, covered, until the pork is cooked through and easily pulls apart, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

Twenty minutes before serving, cook the pasta according to package directions. Using a fork, break the meat into smaller pieces, then stir it into its cooking liquid; fold in the parsley. Serve the pork over the pasta and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Make it ahead: Freeze the ragu for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a large saucepan, covered, over medium heat, about 10 minutes (if it starts to dry out, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or chicken broth).

I love it. Truly. It is wonderful. I know it doesn't look like much but this is one of those don't judge a book by it's cover recipes.

We froze half and ate the other. It will make a flavorful simple post holiday meal.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5-Flavor Pound Cake

I have made this recipe several times this past month but for some reason I have not shared the recipe with y’all yet. I don’t know what I am thinking. I blame it on the busy holiday season.

There aren’t words for how wonderful this cake is, dense, creamy, and I am in love with the combination of flavors. When I came across this recipe I noted that the post said “I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like this cake” and so far, after sharing it with many, I find that to be true. In fact everyone comments on how good it is. Who knew a simple pound cake would be the key to cooking adoration? I do now!

For Christmas this year I am making these for gifts for mine and Baby Cakes’ co-workers and bosses; easy, affordable gifts. I’m also making large bundt cakes to take to all the Christmas’ we have to attend this year. It doesn’t get easier than that. Okay, well maybe it does but for a Martha like me it doesn't.

5-Flavor Pound Cake
recipe lightly adapted from Sweet Pea

2 sticks butter
1/2 c vegetable shortening
3 c sugar
5 eggs, well beaten
3 c flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 c milk
1 teaspoon each coconut, butter, lemon, vanilla, and almond extract

Combine butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the well beaten eggs.

Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and add to the creamed mixture alternating with milk.

Stir in flavors.

Spoon into a well-greased bundt or loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Soak with glaze and let cool.

5-Flavor Glaze

1 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 teaspoon each above stated extract

Combine ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is melted. Pour over cake after removing from oven.

I can’t think of any way to make this better. Earlier this year I used raspberry extract in lieu of the coconut because I felt it was springier but for winter coconut just seems a more appropriate depth of flavor. I have also seen the recipe with rum extract instead of almond but I am an almond girl. Maybe use them all, a 7-flavor pound cake? Yum.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

White Bean, Sausage and Spinach Soup

I am sick, really, really sick. My husband’s lucky to be fed kind of sick. This soup works out for both of us. It’s easy to make, feeds him and warms me. Not to mention it is really good for you with all the veggies.

Please forgive the short sick post.

White Bean, Sausage and Spinach Soup
recipe from All You Magazine, Nov. 2011

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 ounce can corn kernals, drained
4 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper

In a pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 Tbsp. of fat from pot. Add carrots, onion, and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes.

Return sausage to pot and add chicken broth, water, corn and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in spinach until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

I must have paused and told Baby Cakes 'this is really good soup' a dozen times throughout the meal. It is hot and flavorful. Love it.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Eggnog Gingerbread Trifle

Okay you guys, get ready to wipe the drool off your chin! This trifle is amazing. Perhaps I am a bit biased as I love L.O.V.E. love eggnog. If you don’t you could use just a homemade vanilla custard or in lieu of gingerbread you could substitute spice cake. I can’t say enough about this rich, creamy, flavorful dessert. It is amazing. Heaven in a dish, you know, if gingerbread and eggnog were heaven. Grin.

I am always on the lookout for that next dessert, the one that will make everyone at the table hush and say yum. As you might know once a month my best friends and I get together and play poker, what I say is poker is actually hollywood rummy, but at these poker games each one of us has a different responsibility when it comes to eats. I am exclusively dessert although 2 years ago at this time Maggie took over the dessert and made a Luscious Four-Layer Pumpkin Cake which you might remember. As good as it was/is it doesn’t touch this baby.

One of my girlies doesn't care for gingerbread and another for eggnog but they both ate some. Some of the girls had seconds. I left with an empty dish.

This one is a keeper.

Eggnog Gingerbread Trifle
recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 (14.5 ounce) package gingerbread cake mix
3 cups eggnog
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
gingersnap cookie crumbs (optional)

Prepare gingerbread cake mix and bake according to package directions (any size pan). Cool completely.

Place the pudding mix in a large bowl. Pour in the eggnog and whisk for about 2 minutes. Refrigerate pudding until the gingerbread cake is cool and you are ready to assemble the trifle.

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in sugar and vanilla until peaks form.

Crumble 1/2 of the gingerbread into the bottom of a trifle bowl or a large glass bowl. Spread 1/2 of the eggnog pudding over the gingerbread, and then spread 1/2 of the whipped cream on top of the pudding. Repeat the layers with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped cream.

Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.

Sprinkle cookie crumbs before serving.

Makes around 10 cups of dessert so make sure your trifle bowl can hold that much.

Side note: you could make multiple layers as the directions above say but I only made one layer of each because I didn't want to tote my stemmed trifle dish. Also, I only used half of the gingerbread when I assembled as the entire thing would have been too much.

This trifle is so good that I am taking it to all of the families Christmas parties.

Eggnog Dreams and Gingerbread Spices,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mexican Style Turkey Corn Chowder

How has the fall season been here for over two months and I have not shared even one chowder, soup or chili recipe? I have lost my mind.

Ah leftover turkey. My normal go-to for leftover turkey or chicken as of late has been the Creamy Chicken Casserole Bake I shared awhile back. I made two after Thanksgiving and we have just polished off the last of it, one for now and one frozen for later, I am recently all about frozen meals I make myself. I haven’t really been looking for a leftover turkey recipe because we so enjoy the above casserole but then I came across this. I intentionally bought a turkey breast just to make this chowder.

I just know that Baby Cakes is crazy about this one! He ate 3 bowls. Of course it helps that he works outside in the cold all day so a hot bowl of slightly spicy chowder warms him to the bone. I too am crazy over this chowder. It has incredible flavor and the creaminess; I could eat it every day that’s for sure.

Mexican Style Turkey Corn Chowder
recipe slightly adapted from

1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken or turkey stock or broth
1 can green chilies, drained
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups shredded turkey
1 can corn, drained
3 teaspoons dried cilantro
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir in the chilies.

In a bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream, flour, salt, chili powder, cilantro and cumin. Increase heat to high and whisk cream mixture into the soup. Stir until thick and bubbly, about five minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add turkey, corn, and cheese; stir until cheese is melted and soup is hot, 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve along with some crusty bread or croutons.

I really can’t stress enough how delicious this chowder is. It does have a tiny bit of heat but if I can handle it everyone can handle it, I just stir in a bit of sour cream and that cuts it down a tiny bit. It’s right up there with Clam Chowder (my favorite) and warms just as well as giant bowl of chili (Baby Cakes’ favorite). Make it, you won’t be sorry.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snickerdoodle Pie

Something about cold weather put me in a pie frame of mind. I could happily eat pie all year around but I always tend to really think about them with the first cold snap. It also might have been the fact that I received an email chalked full of pie recipe from All You late last week.

So put together the facts that I love pie and the fact that my best friend and I were sitting on her couch chit-chatting Friday night discussing what I’ll be bringing to the girls poker party on Saturday and I remembered that her favorite cookie is a snickerdoodle and ta-da I knew exactly what I was making.

Now, let me explain the poor photos, it isn’t the prettiest pie. Although I am certain someone could or has taken a better photo of it. Let me also explain that it doesn’t quite taste like a snicker doodle, it’s more like a chess pie with some sweetness on top. When I make it again, because despite the fact that it wasn’t spot on snickerdoodle it was really good, I’ll be baking it without the cinnamon sugar on top and instead sprinkling that over after it’s baked. I might also try to come up with some sort of sugar cookie crust. I know that seems like a lot of changes but even without them the pie actually tasted very good like I said above. I brought home half from the party and there is only one piece left as of this writing. That either means it's really good or I am a cow, heck, let's go with both.

Snickerdoodle Pie
recipe from

1 frozen pie crust, thawed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Fit pie crust dough into a 9-inch pie pan and crimp edge decoratively. Place in refrigerator to chill while preparing filling.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Set a rack in lower third of oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and set it on oven rack.

In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and 1 Tbsp. sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, egg yolks, flour, vanilla, salt and remaining 1 cup sugar. Pour into chilled pie shell.

Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over custard.

Set pie on preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Without opening oven, reduce temperature to 325ºF and bake until pie is set, puffed and golden, about 20 minutes longer.

Let cool on a wire rack, then serve, or cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate to serve cold.

The girls said that it had a slight lemon taste which I am assuming is from the buttermilk. It actually reminded me of a pie that Baby Cakes’ Granny makes, incidently a lemon chess pie. I really did enjoy it.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Stroganoff-Style Spaghetti and Meatballs

Baby Cakes and I ate off this recipe for 3 meals. First, the night I cooked it then for a late lunch on Saturday and again for lunch on Sunday. 3 times, and I am not a leftover fan that alone should tell you how amazing I found this recipe to be.

Now you might notice that it is similar to my Aunt Maggie’s Beef Stroganoff that I shared when I first started blogging only better, so much better. I plan on recreating Aunt Maggie’s recipe with these ingredients sometime in the very near future.

To bring the cost down you could use ground meat, stew meat or even chicken, although frozen prepared meatballs do occasionally go on sale (that's how I got mine). Get creative.

Stroganoff-Style Spaghetti and Meatballs
recipe from Taste of Home Simple & Delicious magazine, January/February 2010, p27

1 lb. uncooked spaghetti
1 package (28 ounces) frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs, thawed
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans (10.75 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoon beef broth
1 tablespoon seasoning blend
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups sour cream

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the meatballs, onion and garlic in oil for 4-5 minutes or until meatballs are browned. Stir in the soup, milk, broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.

Gradually stir in sour cream; heat through but do not boil. Drain the spaghetti; stir into the skillet. Serve immediately.

So amahzing!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Smothered Pork Chops

Have I ever shared with you how much I love anything pickled? I am a pickle eater. In fact when I was younger my Mom and Dad would give me a giant jar of pickles for Christmas. At family functions the pickle tray is put out last minute because they know either I or my brother will get into them and they will be mostly gone before the supper takes place. I always order fried pickles if they have them on a menu. At night if I feel like having a snack it’s more than likely eating pickles from the jar until I can’t eat anymore. I’ve had pickled eggs, pickled corn, carrots, green beans, okra, sweet, spicy or dill, anything pickled. I have been on a search for the pickled coleslaw recipe that Baby Cakes and I had on our honeymoon since our, well, honeymoon, can’t find anything close by the way, perhaps a good reason to go back to the B&B we stayed at. My favorite snow cone flavor is pickle. Yeah, I love pickles. So you know that when I came across this recipe on $5 Dinners it was on like Donkey Kong. I had to try it.

Now her version is baked, as are a few others version I found online, but I am trying it in a large skillet like the original recipe calls for. Infact, here is the exact recipe borrowed from $5 Dinners blog.

It turned out really tasty and although it didn't actually taste like pickles it was very very good. Baby Cakes gave it a 9 and I give it 7. I would make it again though, overall it was a yummy and fairly simple dish to make.

Smothered Pork Chops
recipe from $5 Dinners

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 pork chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons pickle juice
1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow dish mix the flour, salt and pepper until combined. Dip the pork chops on both sides in the flour mixture to coat.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and brown the pork chops on both side. Turn the heat down to low.

Cover the browned pork chops with the onions, celery, pickle juice and water; cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour or until the onions are soft and meat is cooked through.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over buttered rice or mashed potatoes.

I think one of the best thing about this recipe is that it is from so long ago. I love things with history.

Nom Nom Nom,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Potato Kielbasa Skillet‏

Get your taste buds ready y’all, this dish is wonderful.

Until this recipe came along I was quite unhappy with the quality of Taste of Homes’ Simple & Delicious recipes. Their ideas were good, or I wouldn’t have made them in the first place, but they left a lot to be desired in way of taste. My opinion has officially changed and this recipe is to thank for that.

In the original recipe it only called for half of the sauce but regarding my love of flavor I doubled it. I am glad I did. It cooks down to a glaze of sorts and was fantastic. And one more small change, I used processed wild hog link sausage courtesy of my Father in Law's hog last season.

Baby Cakes and I both polished off the entire skillets worth. Yes, I admit to being a total oinker, that’s just how good this was.

Potato Kielbasa Skillet‏
recipe from Simple & Delicious, November/December 2008, p9

1 pound red potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons water
3/4 pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups fresh baby spinach
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.

In a large skillet, sauté kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add potatoes; sauté 3-5 minutes longer or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme and pepper; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add spinach and bacon; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

This meal will be served again and again in the Bennett household.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits

I have a little confession to make. I have never made certain, most, baked good from scratch. I have never made a pie crust, cookies, rolls or biscuits. I’ve always been intimidated by the rolling out and cutting process but today is the day that changes. I have pumpkin butter to share with loved ones and I need to send something to use along with it. Biscuits are perfect.

Every once in a while I receive emails with cooking tips. Have you guys seen them? I’ll be posting a few of them beginning with a microwave corn recipe in a day or two. Anyway, back to the sharing at hand, the email for the biscuits recipe was of a little old lady showing someone, the video taker, how she makes her families recipe. She made it look so easy. I had to try it.

Now some parts of the recipe are missing due to malfunctions with the video camera so I used my own judgment on measurements. Below are my measurements.

Buttermilk Biscuits
recipe lightly adapted from Gertrude Lindley

3 cups self rising flour
1 cup crisco, chilled
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Scoop a well into the middle of the flour. Put the shortening and buttermilk into the well. Using your hand, work the milk and crisco together until there are no large lumps of crisco. Slowly go around the bowl mixing the flour, little by little, into the milk and shortening mixture until combined. Once there is no raw flour left in the bowl and if the dough is still sticky add a bit more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, working it in until it is no longer sticky.

Turn out onto a floured board and roll to about 1 inch thick. Cut with a round cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place onto a greased cookie sheet.

If your going to freeze them bake for 7 minutes or until they rise and then take out of the oven, let cool and then freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen you can transfer to a freezer bag. When your ready to bake off just set on a cookie sheet and let thaw, then bake off in a 450 oven for about 12 minutes.

If your going to cook them now, brush the tops with melted butter and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden on top.

Once out of the oven, brush the tops again with melted butter.

They turned out just fantastic. I am just amazed that my first attempt at biscuits turned out to be so good.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter

So you saw the Crock Pot Pumpkin Puree right? Well so far I’ve used pumpkin puree in the Pumpkin Banana Bread and now I am going to use it to make pumpkin butter. This was super simple to do. The most difficult part being the stirring every once in a while, if you even call that difficult.

This makes for an incredibly sweet, thick pumpkin butter. It looks like apple butter, which the Bennett house loves, but after a finger in the mouth to taste it does not taste like apple butter. I’m okay with that though because it is so good.

Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter
recipe from Laura Williams’ Musings

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot and stir well to mix.

Cook on high for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, about every 30 minutes. Do not let it burn or stick.

After it is done, fill the pint jars or 1/2 pint jars, leaving ¼ inch head space and seal.

Now I skipped the canning process because it only made about 2 ½ cups worth and we were sharing with so many people that I just packaged it up and sent it along with a note and some biscuits to be eaten right away. The note did tell the recipients of the pumpkin butter that it could last about a month when stored in the icebox.

If you do care to can it you can find directions on how to do that over at Laura Williams’ Musings.

Both Baby Cakes and I loved this. It was really rich butter served sparingly over buttered biscuits it was delish.

Love, love, love,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Banana Strudel Sweet Bread

Y’all know I had to share a recipe featuring pumpkin, especially using pumpkin puree since I just made a crock pot version the other day. I love pumpkin pie but it’s too early for all that, for some reason I don’t really want pumpkin pie until Thanksgiving. So I was trying to figure out what to make with some of this puree. Well, luckily we are still in the in-between seasons here in Texas. It’s not cool enough to cast away summer foods just yet but then again it’s not our regular 100 degrees either so this is my attempt at marrying the seasons.

Pumpkin Banana Strudel Sweet Bread

3 medium overripe bananas
½ cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter flavored extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Spray smooth, dark coated bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas and pumpkin together until semi-smooth. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder until combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the sugars and butter with a whisk. Stir in the extracts. Add the eggs until blended. Add the mashed mix; mix 30 seconds. Stir in the dry ingredients until just moistened.

Pour half of the mixture into prepared pan. In a small bowl mix the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to combine and sprinkle on top of first layer or batter. Pour the remaining batter over the cinnamon mixture.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. About 50 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before slicing.

I can’t tell you how moist this bread is. If you ever made my banana bread then you have an idea but if you haven’t well, what are you waiting for? Get in that kitchen right now and make some, either one, just make one!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crock Pot Pumpkin Puree

So this year I have seen a ton of other bloggers making their own pumpkin puree and I decided I wanted to jump on that hay ride, for a couple of reasons. The top reason being flavor, I wanted to see for myself if fresh pumpkin puree was better than canned. The second reason being that canned pumpkin can get pricey at certain times of the year, although I do typically stock up during the sales. In regards to fresh pumpkin, stores are currently having sales on their pie pumpkins which is the type you want to cook with.

Crock Pot Pumpkin Puree
recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet

1 pie pumpkin, small enough to fit into your slow cooker

Wash the outside of the pumpkin; dry. Poke the pumpkin a few times with a fork and place in the slow cooker. (If your pumpkin doesn’t fit cut in half or quarters.)

Cook on low for 8 hours, or until the flesh easily pulls away from the skin; let cool.

Remove from the slow cooker and let cool.

Once cooled, scoop out the seeds and discard or roast, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and puree in a food processor or blender until well blended.

Measure by the cup full and store in plastic food storage bags. You can store in a freezer for up to 1 year, in a freezer storage bag. Use in recipes as desired.

After making it I am not sure that I'll make this my regular method as in homemade versus canned. It only made 2 cups worth of pumpkin puree, which is about a can and a half. The crock pot part was easy, the scooping, scraping and pureeing not so much. It wasn’t a headache per say but being all about convenience; well it’s harder than opening a can. However, ask me again once I use it to make pumpkin butter (don’t worry, I’ll post the recipe).


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Creamy Chicken Casserole Bake

It’s no secret that I like casseroles. I do. I love casseroles. They are just so simple to make and normally they are gooey and cheesy, that alone stops me in my tracks. I also love Google. If it hadn’t have been for Google I wouldn’t be sharing this delicious recipe with y’all today. I needed delicious and I needed to use leftover chicken from a Crock Pot Chicken I made once again the other night. I did say in the original post that I would sharing ways to use the leftover chicken so in keeping my word here is another leftover chicken recipe.

You can use leftover chicken of any kind; rotisserie’d, grilled, or fried. Heck, it so good I would intentionally cook some chicken just to make this casserole again.

I also want to point out before you begin making this dish that you can make one large pan or two smaller separate pans, one for freezing. If you make two, as I did, just make everything as it says in the recipe only when layering divide between two pans. When it comes time to bake just pop one in the oven and the other in the freezer, covered of course.

To bake the frozen one: The day before you want to bake just put it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight and then bake according to the recipe below. Forget to take it out of the freezer? Not a problem, bake covered at 350 degrees for one hour, then uncover and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

A note on the above photo: this is borrowed from the original website as I accidently deleted my photo of the top of the casserole.

Creamy Chicken Casserole Bake
recipe lightly adapted from

2 cups dry stuffing mix
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 cups chicken, cooked and diced into 1 inch cubes
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
seasoning blend to taste

In a bowl toss the stuffing mix, onion and celery together. Pour the 1/4 cup melted butter over the top and stir to combine. Pour into a 9x13" casserole dish or two smaller dishes.

Top with a layer of chicken and then a layer of mushrooms. Set aside.

In a large saucepan melt the 1/2 cup butter. Once melted add the flour, whisking out any lumps; cook for a few minutes until golden. Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and let cook for about three minutes. Turn off heat and stir in seasonings, salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and mushrooms in the casserole dish or dishes.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until bubbly.

Like I told you above this is the yummiest casserole I have had is so long. I love it. Baby Cakes loved it. And now I am just waiting to try it with leftover turkey. Come on Thanksgiving.


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