Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Every Halloween I roast the seeds from the pumpkins that I carve.  This year I decided to kick it up a notch and try something different than just butter and salt.  I nibbled on these and drank hot cider while passing out Halloween candy kept me away from the candy bars!

2 cups pumpkin seeds - washed and lightly patted dry
2 TBS butter, melted
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

In a bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with butter and Worcestershire sauce.  Combine the sugar, salt, garlic powder and cayenne; sprinkle over seeds and toss to coat.  It doesn't look like there is enough coating for the seeds but it is plenty.

Line a 15x10x1 inch baking pan with foil; coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.  Spread the seeds in pan.  Bake at 250 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until seeds are dry and lightly browned, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 cups

Source:  Taste of Home's Halloween Party Favorites


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Frightening Fingers

Kids absolutely LOVE these goulish finger cookies.  They are a delicious buttery almond cookie.  They are so creepy!   

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Red decorating gel
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Divide dough into fourths. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into 1-in. balls. Shape balls into 3-in. x 1/2-in. fingers. Using the flat tip of a table knife, make an indentation on one end of each for fingernail. Gently squeeze and shape the finger to form a middle knuckle (makes them look a little arthritic).  With a knife, make three slashes on the knuckle.

Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 3 minutes. Squeeze a small amount of red gel on nail bed; press a sliced almond over gel for nail, allowing gel to ooze around nail. Remove to wire racks to cool. 

Makes about 40 fingers

Source:  Taste Of Home's Holiday & Celebration Cookbook, Annual 2001


Corn Puff Caramel Corn

Because you don't need to pop the corn or use a candy thermometer, this is faster and easier than more traditional caramel corn recipes. This caramel corn is so addicting!


1 pkg (8 oz) puffed corn snack
1 cup salted peanuts (optional)
1 cup butter, cubed
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

Place puffed corn and peanuts in a large roasting pan or 2 - 10x15 pans; set aside.  In a large heavy saucepan, bring the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring occasionally; cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add vanilla and baking soda; stir well (mixture will foam up).  Pour over corn snacks and toss well with a rubber spatula.  Make sure most of the caramel is off the bottom of the pan or it will get too brown.  Toss well to coat.

Place pan on middle rack of the oven and bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes (scraping caramel off the bottom of the pan each time).  Spread on waxed paper to cool.  Break apart and store in airtight containers. 

Makes about 10 cups

Source:  Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook, Annual 2002


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple Crumb Bars

Here's another great way to enjoy all those apples you picked at the apple orchard.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cup butter, divided
6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (I use Jonathan)
1 cup sugar
3 TBS cornstarch
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  In a bowl combine brown sugar, oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter.  Reserve 2 cups for topping; lightly pat remaining crumbs into a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Arrange apples on top of the crumbs; set aside. 

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water and remaining butter.  Bring to a boil and cook until thick; stir in vanilla and cinnamon.  Spread mixture over apples.  Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top of apples.  Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until top is lightly browned and apples are done.

Serves 18


Roasted Tomatoes

I grow plum tomatoes in my garden specifically to make these delicious and sweet roasted tomatoes.  You can add these to pasta dishes, casseroles or serve them as a side dish.  I freeze these tomatoes so I can enjoy them all winter long.

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer.  Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-45 minutes, until the tomatoes start to caramelize.  Remove the tomatoes from pan immediately after you take them out of the oven or they may stick to the pan.

Serves:  4-5

Source:  Barefoot Contessa-Back to the Basics - Ina Garten


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

Cake for breakfast, what could be better?

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pkg (18.5 oz) plain butter recipe golden cake mix, or plain yellow or vanilla cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
1 pkg (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 TBS milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly mist a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray, then dust it with flour.  Shake out the excess flour.  Sprinkle the pecans or walnuts in the bottom of the pan and set the pan aside.

Make the filling: Place the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir until combined.  Set the filling aside.

Make the cake:  Place the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water, eggs and 1 tsp of vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds.  Scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter for 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed.  The batter should look smooth and thick.  Pour one third of the batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Scatter half of the filling evenly over the batter.  Pour another third of the batter evenly over the filling.  Scatter the remaining filling over the batter.  Pour the remaining batter evenly over the top, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula.  Place the pan in the oven.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 55-60 minutes.  Transfer the bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes.  Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack.  Let the cake cool completely, 25-30 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, make the glaze:  Place the powdered sugar, milk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla in a small bowl and stir until smooth.  Slide the cake onto a serving plate and spoon the glaze over the top so that it drizzles down the sides, then slice and serve.

Serves:   12-16

Source:  The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!


Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

What a great fall dessert. The citrus in this apple crisp adds a fresh flavor.

5 pounds McIntosh apples
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 TBS freshly squeezed orange juice
2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter a 4 quart baking dish.

Peel, core and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar and spices. Pour into the dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for one hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

Serves 10

Source: Barefoot Contessa Parties! - Ina Garten


Pork and Peanut Burgers

Not your typical burger, but boy are these delicious.

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 TBS snipped fresh cilantro
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 pound lean ground pork
1 TBS sesame oil (not toasted)
1/3 cup Asian sweet chili sauce or chili sauce
1 TBS creamy peanut butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup baby spinach (or baby bok choy leaves)
Pita bread, rolls, or hamburger buns (split and toasted)
Chopped dry-roasted peanuts

In a medium bowl, combine onion, the 1/4 cup peanuts, cilantro, ginger, the three garlic cloves, salt and crushed red pepper.  Add ground pork; mix well.  Shape mixture into four 1/2-inch thick patties.  Brush patties with oil; set aside.

For sauce, in a small bowl, combine the chili sauce, peanut butter and the 1 clove garlic; set aside.

For a charcoal grill, grill patties on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 10-13 minutes or until done (160), turning once halfway through grilling.  (For a gas grill, preheat grill.  Reduce heat to medium.  Place patties on grill rack over heat.  Cover and grill as above.)

To serve, place some of the spinach on the pita bread or bun.  Top with the burger, sauce, additional peanuts and more spinach.

Makes 4 servings

Source:  Grill It! - Better Homes and Gardens Magazine


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

These muffins are delicious warm with a cup of coffee.

1 cup flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 TBS unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400.  Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt and spices.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, oil and one of the eggs until combined.  Add the other egg and whisk well.  Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla.  Stir in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk, just until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about two-thirds full and sprinkle the tops with the pumpkin seeds.  Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and remove from pan.  Enjoy warm or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Makes 12 muffins

Source:  The Food You Crave - Ellie Krieger


White Chocolate Macadamia Blondies

These blondies are so rich and delicious.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 2 quart (9x9) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until well combined.

Mix together flour and baking powder.  Gently stir flour mixture into creamed sugar until batter is free of lumps.

Fold white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts into the batter.  Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center has risen well.  Cool at least 1 hour on a wire rack before slicing.

Source:  Hot Recipes in Cool Dishes - Tara McConnell


Moist & Chewy Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

I love my cookies moist and chewy and this cookie really lives up to it's name.  Yum!

1 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup Crisco solid shortening
2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
6 TBS milk
3 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine peanut butter, Crisco, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl.
Beat at medium speed with mixer until well blended.
Add egg and beat just until blended.
In a separate bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda.
Add to creamed mixture and mix well with mixer on low speed.
Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Flatten slightly with a fork dipped in white sugar.
Lightly sprinkle tops of cookies with sugar.
Bake 7-9 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown.  Do not over bake.
Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing.
Store in airtight container.

Makes 6 dozen

* Optional:  May add 2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips

* I always line my cookie sheets with parchment paper.  The cookies don't get too dark on the bottom and they don't stick to the pan.  Cleanup is a breeze!