Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Non-Traditional Yams

I don't know about you but I get tired of the ever so sweet yam dishes that line the tables on Thanksgiving. It's enough to make me have no room for desert. Too much calories - too much sugar! My husband hates yams and sweet potatoes and especially will not eat them with sweet toppings on them.

A couple of years ago I created this for my husband and for our family Thanksgiving feast. He loved it! It was yummy and everyone appreciated it as an alternative to traditional yams. I like it much better and I hope you will too! Because yams are naturally sweet, salty flavors compliment them quite well. The last things you should do as add more sweet to sweet. Let me know what you think!

Non-Traditional Yams
  • 6-8 cooked yams, peeled and mashed
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 2 cups cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
  • dash of salt & pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan
Mix yams, butter, 1 cup bacon, onions, salt & pepper, 1 cup Parmesan and 1 cup of Mozzarella. Pour into a 13X9 inch casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese, bacon and extra green onions. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 23-35 minutes.

Harvest Hot Chocolate

I made this up for my kids and they loved it! It's a delicious sensation of cool chocolate mousse melting over warm pumpkin spice for a creamy treat!

Harvest Hot Chocolate
  • Stephens Instant Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
  • Milk
  • 1 large container of cool whip
  • 1 large box of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • orange and brown sprinkles
Mix milk and hot chocolate according to directions on can and as to how many servings you want. Mix cool whip and half of dry pudding mix together (can add more to attain thickness you like). Pour hot chocolate into mugs and top with chocolate whipped topping and sprinkles!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cocktail Salad

I created this on a whim. I gave it this name because of the cocktail onions and because it's a cocktail of great flavors! My kids hate onions but love this salad! It's a pleasant alternative to all the traditional and trendy salads that saturate your recipe books. It's very tangy and adds life to your taste buds!

Cocktail Salad

  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup red olives, pitted
  • 1-2 cups cocktail onions
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
Toss salad ingredients together in a bowl. Stir dressing ingredients together and toss into salad. Serve right away!

Pumpkin Pizza

I created this for a pumpkin contest but I never made it until yesterday. What a great way to serve pumpkin! It's so delicious and you can't detect the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pizza
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 10 breakfast sausage links cooked
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup red olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough
On a floured surface roll out pizza dough and shape onto round pizza pan. Mix pumpkin, garlic, salt and basil together. Spread over dough. Add seeds, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, spinach, olives and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Oh how I love pumpkin crunch cake! I had some extra pumpkin yesterday and decided to make this cake but this time I added chocolate chips. It was so delicious!! All I can say is pumpkin chocolate chip cookies meets pumpkin pie. A bottom layer of pumpkin pie and a top layer of buttery, crunchy crust - with a twist of creamy chocolate! It's a little rich so be sure to have this desert after a healthy meal!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Crunch Cake
  • 1 large can pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 13 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/2 sticks of melted butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed nuts
Mix together all ingredients except cake mix and pour into greased 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chocolate chips over top. Sprinkle yellow cake mix (dry) over pumpkin mixture. Pour melted butter over top. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and crushed nuts over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes until set. Enjoy warm or chilled. Top with real whipped cream.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider

For the first time in my entire life I finally experienced the caramel apple cider from Starbucks. I have heard about it for years and have always wanted to try it. The other night after ordering prescription medicine at the drive through window of a Walgreen's, I needed to kill some time while waiting for the prescription. I remembered that there was a Starbucks down the street and my husband had been saying all week that he was craving apple cider. So I went and picked some up. I was so sad that on the way home it tipped over and spilled all over the floor. It wasn't cheap so I didn't want to go back and get another. My husband loved the surprise even though there wasn't much left. The drink was so delicious, it tasted like liquid apple pie. I promised my kids I would recreate it and we'd have it all the time. So, I made it last night and everyone agreed it tasted exactly the same!

Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider
  • 1/2 gallon of Musselman's apple cider (must be cider not juice)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Vanilla Caramel Creamer (Coffee-mate brand)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Whipped Cream
Heat cider in a large saucepan (avoid boiling point). Add creamer and cinnamon, stir well. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and cinnamon!!

Restaurant Onion Rings

Mmmm! My husband made these last night to go with our burgers. We make them all the time and I think they are super easy and super delicious!

For a fabulous fry sauce. Mix about 1/2 cup of mayo with 2 Tbsp ketchup and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder.

Restaurant Onion Rings
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk, or as needed
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • seasoned salt to taste
  • 1 quart oil for frying, or as needed
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
Separate the onion slices into rings, and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Dip the onion slices into the flour mixture until they are all coated; set aside. Whisk the egg and milk into the flour mixture using a fork. Dip the floured rings into the batter to coat, then place on a wire rack to drain until the batter stops dripping. The wire rack may be placed over a sheet of aluminum foil for easier clean up. Spread the bread crumbs out on a plate or shallow dish. Place rings one at a time into the crumbs, and scoop the crumbs up over the ring to coat. Give it a hard tap as you remove it from the crumbs. The coating should cling very well. Repeat with remaining rings.

Deep fry the rings a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Season with seasoning salt, and serve.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vanilla Pear Butter

Oh how I love this! When I was younger my sister's friend had a pear tree and their family would make pear butter every year. We'd always get a jar and it was so yummy.

I found this recipe online and love it. It fabulous in toast but also is great as a sauce (like applesauce). It's smooth and velvety on the tongue!

Vanilla Pear Butter

  • About 15 medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water or apple juice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice to prevent browning
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 Tbsp real vanilla extract)
In a large saucepan combine pears, water or juice and ascorbic acid. Over medium heat cook pears about 20 minutes, until they begin to break up. Remove from heat and using a hand held blender, purée the mixture until totally smooth.

Add sugar and vanilla bean innards and return to heat. Cook on low, stirring often, until butter has reached desired consistency, or mounds on a spoon.

Fill 250ml sterilized jars, screw on lids and process in a boiling water for 10 minutes. Makes 5 to 7 jars.

Variation: substitute 1 cup of the sugar with a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and a 1/2 cup of maple syrup for a Maple Pear Butter.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Wontons

I had the privilege to participate in a pumpkin recipe contest. The only rule was - you had to make something you never made before. Well, the thought came to my mind to create pumpkin wontons. This recipe came to life in my mind pretty quickly and I think it was a hit.

I came up with a few other "pumpkin" recipes that I think you'll love. I'll make them next week.

What I love about this recipe is you can't really taste the pumpkin - so if you're a pumpkin hater, you're still going to be a lover of this recipe. The crispy fried wonton with the creamy, warm chicken center - infused with flavors of ginger, garlic and tangy teryaki and orange. You'll be in flavor heaven!

Pumpkin Wontons
  • 1 pkg wonton wrappers
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 small can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 box of chicken broth
  • 1 bottle Kikkoman's Teryaki glaze
  • 1 bottle orange marmalade
  • salt
  • 4-6 cups canola oil
In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add 1/4 tsp of garlic and 1/8 tsp ginger. Add chicken and cover. Boil chicken breasts until centers are white. About 20-30 minutes. You made need to add more stock or a little water if liquid gets low. Once breasts are cooked, shred them and simmer in liquid another 5-10 minutes.

Empty pumpkin puree in small bowl. Add remaining ginger, garlic and a tiny pinch of salt. Blend well. Heat oil to medium high.

Lay out wonton wrappers (about 8 at a time so they don't dry out) on counter. On each wrapper spread 1tsp of cream cheese, piece of shredded chicken and 1 tsp of pumpkin mixture. Fold sides up and press together so your wraps look like garlic bulbs.

When oil begins to sizzle and pop, add wontons. Cooks just a couple minutes until all sides are golden and crisp. Do not leave too long in oil or on one side or they'll burn and turn dark brown. Place them on a dish lines with paper towels so the oil drains off. Cover with a lid and keep warm.

In a small dish combine 1 cup of orange marmalade with 2-3 Tbsp of Teryaki glaze. Heat up on stove or in microwave. Serve warm with wontons!