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.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

3 Years Ago Today...

I married the love of my life.

The man who happily gobbles up everything I bake, make and take-out. Wink.

Happy We've-Been-Married-Another-Year Day, Baby Cakes!

Boo Jell-O Cups (Creamsicle Cups)

While I was searching through Halloween recipes that I’ve had stored away for future use I came across this recipe. It looks delicious and although I always assumed I would wait until I had children to go all out every holiday I’ve decided not to wait. After all, Halloween is my favorite holiday.

These were simple enough to make and according to the recipe it makes 4 single servings and something tells me that our niece and nephew would enjoy having one this evening just as much as I would.

Boo Jell-O Cups
recipe from

3/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Orange Flavor Gelatin
2 cups ice cubes
2/3 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
8 miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Add boiling water to gelatin mix in large bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add ice; stir 3 to 5 min. or until gelatin is thickened. Remove any unmelted ice. Whisk in 1/2 cup COOL WHIP until well blended. Pour into dessert dishes.

Refrigerate 30 min. or until firm.

Drop or pipe remaining whipped topping onto desserts to resemble ghosts. Add chocolate chips for the eyes.

They turned out really cute. Taste wise they are like a creamsicle, you know those orange and vanilla popsicles? But on the cute factor alone I'll certainly be making them again.

These don't only have to be Halloween themed. Use your imagination, lemon with a peep on top for Easter or made without a topping for any night of the week. This recipe is easy to play with.

Sweet Boo Y'all,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ewww Meatball Stew

I cannot tell you why I printed this recipe. I can’t even tell you what possessed me to make this recipe other than it looks like the perfect Halloween stew. I am in the process of thinking up the perfect name.

It’s not very often that I post a recipe on a Saturday but for the first time in a long time, probably an entire year, we are actually home for a weekend. I started this recipe and off we went intentionally stopping at every garage sale we passed. It has been a lovely day and surprise of all surprises this soup actually turned out really well.

This is actually a mix of two recipes one being Monster Mash Meatball Soup and the other being Slow Cooker Meatball-Bean Stew.

Ewww Meatball Stew

½ medium onion, diced small
16 oz. can baked beans, undrained
14.5 oz. can stewed diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
12 oz. frozen cooked italian style meatballs
32 oz. beef stock
11 oz. Halloween shaped pasta
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced (2 cups)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

In a large slow cooker, mix the onions, baked beans, tomatoes, meatballs, broth and pasta.

Cover and cook on High for 5-6 hours.

Stir in the zucchini and mixed vegetables. Cover, and cook on High for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve with garlic bread or grilled cheese for dipping.

Gross factor? Check. Flavor? Check. It reminded me of a canned pasta with meatballs. I actually really liked it and Baby Cakes gave it 9.5. What does that say about us? lol.

Boo Y'all,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Slow Cooked Bar-B-Q Pinto Beans with Sausage

Beans, beans the magical fruit… I’ll leave the rest for you to finish. In our house we love beans. Baby Cakes would eat any kind at any time and me; I’ll eat all but baked beans. I prefer a hearty bean. This dish is a hearty bean dish.

Baby Cakes’ family is all about beans as well. When we were dating we ate many a meal at his parent’s house and they almost always had beans. Yum. We’ll it’s the same for The Cakes and I at our house. It might not be every night but its most nights and tonight is one of those nights.

We loved this dish. It is wonderful. It had tons of flavor and the beans were cooked to perfection. Just enough bite. Not to mention how cheap of a supper it is to make, and easy. I will make these again someday but next I’m going to be making his Mom and Dad’s version, coming someday soon.

Also, a side note or two. I used some of the homemade chicken stock from the crock pot chicken stock recipe I posted a week or so ago. Also, in the original recipe it called for 3 cups of water along with 3 cups of stock. It was a happy accident that I forgot the water because I didn't need it. Infact, the last hour with the lid off is what brought the liquid level down for me, before that I has too much liquid. So I wouldn't recommend putting the water in unless it is needed and even then only a little at a time.

Slow Cooked Bar-B-Q Pinto Beans with Sausage
recipe slightly adapted from Taste and Tell

3 cups chicken broth
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning blend
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound dry pinto beans, picked over and soaked overnight
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 small onion, quartered
1 1/2 pounds sausage, cut into coins
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

In the bottom of your slow cooker, whisk together the chicken broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, barbecue seasoning, clove and garlic. Add the beans. Tuck the onions into the beans and cook on high for about 8 hours.

Add the sausage and stir in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce; let the mixture continue cooking, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Beantastic Y’all,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Goblins Porridge (aka Potato and Chorizo Chili)

I cannot tell you what a perfect sunday this has been for chili, or ahem, Goblins Porridge. (As I was creating this I thought how I haven’t made any Halloween themed recipes yet this year and then how well the look of this dish would be for a Halloween supper which got me brainstorming names and ta-da Goblin Porridge was born.) It has been raining all day. Hallelujah y’all. Hallelujah. The good Lord can keep it coming for days and I would dance it in still. (For those who might think that happiness at the rain is strange, and who don't already know, Texas is in a major drought, the worst in over 100 years. We are -22 inches of rain.) Now that I’ve rejoiced and explained above said rejoicing, this rainy day is perfect for chili. Here is my newest chili recipe. Now please don’t think that this has to be a Halloween recipe, if you’d like to make it on some other occasion just call it by it's everyday name of Potato and Chorizo Chili.

The score 8.5 on the Baby Cakes scale and I concure.

Goblins Porridge (aka Potato and Chorizo Chili)

1 lb. chorizo
small onion, diced
14.5 ounce can ranch style beans with juice
14.5 ounce can kidney beans, drained
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
14.5 ounce can corn, drained
14.5 ounce can whole new potatoes, drained, halved and quartered
1 tbs. cumin
½ tbs. seasoning blend
½ tbs. garlic powder
½ tbs. dried parsley flakes
½ tbs. dried cilantro flakes
salt and pepper to taste

In a large deep skillet, or dutch oven, cook the chorizo and onion until onion is translucent. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes.

Serve over rice or fritos and/or with cheese and sour cream.

Get ready to “gobble” it up,

Friday, October 7, 2011

ACE BLT (Avocado, Cheese, Egg, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwich)

I have a one sided love affair with Beth’s Favorite Recipes. I tend to crush on other food bloggers hard sometimes even if only for a fleeting moment, short term love affairs, reminds me of elementary school. At the moment I love Beth. She has so many wonderful recipes (She shares multiple times a week! I can't keep up.) and the first one I am making is the one below. I mean just look at it, it’s gorgeous, if a sandwich can be gorgeous.

I rarely plan to make sandwiches for dinner but this looked delicious and boy oh boy was it ever. Oh, and I changed the name because I added cheese so from hence forth it will be known as an ACE BLT. At least in the Bennett house.

ACE BLT (Avocado, Cheese, Egg, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwich)
adapted from Beth’s Favorite Recipes

8 strips of bacon, cooked crisp
2 eggs, fried hard
2 slices cheese, any variety
½ avocado, sliced thin
1/2 tomato, sliced thin
2-4 lettuce leaves, rinsed
4 slices bread, toasted
mayo (or any condiment choice)

Foil a baking pan, lay the bacon on the pan vertically. Place the bacon in a cool oven and turn the heat on to 400 degrees. Let it cook for 25-30 minutes or until crisp. Place the bacon on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

Slice your tomato and avocado. Tear and rinse lettuce leaves. Set aside.

Toast your bread. Set aside.

Fry the eggs in a nonstick pan, or with 2 tablespoons butter, until the yolks are cooked through. Top the hot eggs with one 1 slice of cheese a piece. Set Aside.

Now assemble the sandwiches in any sequence with whatever condiments you would like.

I cannot tell you how delicious these are. Baby Cakes gave it a 9 and I give it a full fledged 10. You’ll just have to try it yourself.

Bon Appetite Y’all,

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