Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Swirl

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, but the leftovers are still hanging around our kitchen.

Funny how that happens.

Like a lot of other people, I made pumpkin pie for the big day. The pie was delicious and I had just enough pumpkin puree leftover--3/4 of a cup to be exact--to make a batch of pumpkin muffins a few days later. 

To make them extra special I swirled some cream cheese over the top before baking them.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Swirl
Makes 1 dozen

For the Muffins:

1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup canola oil

For the Cream Cheese Swirl:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese, sugar and egg together using an electric mixer until smooth. 
Set the mixture aside.

In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin and oil.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill the cups 3/4 full with the pumpkin batter. Spoon about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture over the top of the batter. Using a toothpick swirl the cream cheese over the top of the batter in a circular motion.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the muffins pass the toothpick test. Allow to cool in the pan before removing. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apple & Almond Salad with Pomegranate Citrus Dressing

 Pomegranates are very stubborn.

I'm stubborn, too, which is probably why I like them.

While a pomegranate may be stubborn, it's totally worth the time to juice your own.

To juice a pomegranate I recommend following these steps from Simply Recipes. I did and was able to extract enough juice to make a tasty salad dressing.

Mix together a few tablespoons of the pomegranate juice with a little squeeze of both a lemon and an orange. Mix in a splash of red wine vinegar. Whisk in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Drizzle just enough dressing to lightly coat the greens and gently toss it all together.

Add in some sliced apples and slivered almonds and toss again to mix. Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper over the top and serve.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Egg Salad


Growing up I thought egg salad sandwiches were gross.

Now, I really like them-- most likely because my version includes bacon.

Everything is better with bacon.

Egg Salad
Serves 4
(unless you like a lot of egg salad then it only serves 2)

4 hard boiled eggs
1 slice cooked bacon, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 green onion, chopped fine (white and green parts)
1/2 cup mayo

In a medium bowl mash the eggs with a potato masher. Add in the bacon, thyme, green onion and mayo and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so.

Spread the salad on toasted sandwich bread. Top with crispy lettuce and tomato slices.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big Bite Peanut Butter Brownies


 A "one bite" brownie just doesn't cut it in our house, which is why I make "Big Bite" Peanut Butter Brownies. Let's face it-- we all deserve a decadent treat, so if you're going to indulge you might as well go big. Forget about the store-bought mini versions, which are devoid of richness and can hardly be described as decadent. 

 Not only is there chocolate, but every bite includes a perfect amount of peanut butter-- one of chocolate's best friends, right? The only thing that can make the whole experience even better is a cold glass of milk to go with it. 

 In the time it takes to go to the store to buy the "one bite" version you can make my "big bite" version. Only 45 minutes stands between you and these decadent delights.

So, what are you waiting for?

Big Bite Peanut Butter Brownies
Makes 9 large brownies or 12 medium brownies

1/2 cup of butter, melted
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla.

In a seperate bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt. Then stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips.

If want large brownies (recommended) fill nine of the muffin compartments halfway with batter. Fill (about a 1/4 of the way) the remaining compartments with water so that everything bakes evenly. If you want medium-sized brownies fill all 12 compartments about 1/4 of the way.

Top each brownie with about a tablespoon of peanut butter and then, using a toothpick, swirl the peanut butter around the top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test. Allow to cool a bit in the pan before moving them to a wire rack.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup with Spinach Pesto Cream


Whoever came up with the name "squash"? I mean, the name really doesn't do the veggie justice-- it just doesn't sound delicious.

It's sad because squash is delicious and I really think it deserves a better name.

It's especially delicious when it's roasted with some olive oil to bring out it's natural sweetness.

I could eat it just like this...

Even better than eating it like that is making it into a soup that warms the soul.

I think it's new name should be "deliciousness".

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup with Spinach Pesto Cream
Serves 4-6

2 medium acorn squash
1 medium onion. diced
32 ounces chicken or veggie stock
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut both squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Rub them with olive oil and salt and pepper (a few pinches of each). Roast on a baking sheet, face down, for about 20 minutes. Flip them over and continue roasting for another 20 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once the squash is cooled scoop out the flesh and discard the skins. 

In a blender combine the spinach, garlic, pine nuts and cheese. Begin blending and pour the olive oil in. Continue blending until the mixture is very smooth. Add in the cream and blend together. Set aside.

In a large pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until they are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the squash and the chicken stock. Using an immersion blender, blend the onions, stock and squash together until smooth. Or use a normal blender and then transfer the soup back to the pot.

Bring the soup to a soft boil and then reduce the heat. Stir in the chopped rosemary. Allow the soup to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of the spinach pesto cream over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Morning Scramble

During the week mornings are rushed. After snoozing several times I barely have time to get ready and take a few sips of coffee before searching for the keys and getting myself to work. It's definitely a morning scramble.

Weekends are a different story.

Ah, the weekend, when the only pressing matter is to decide what to make for breakfast while lingering over a cup, or two, of coffee. It's a wonderful feeling.

Eggs are the only thing scrambling at our house on the weekends.

Saute some green onions, baby 'bellas and roasted red pepper in a couple of tablespoons of butter before adding in the eggs. Maybe add in some fresh herbs-- I used thyme Scramble them all together and top it all off with some shredded gruyere cheese.

Serve it over a piece of toast.

This is my kind of morning scramble.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Savory Hand Pies

There are two groups of people in this world-- those who like football and those who don't. I fall into the latter group having never really been a fan. Oh, sure, I have been known to cheer and wear a shirt bearing the logo of my "favorite" team, but, at the end of the day, I can honestly say that if football was banned from the earth I wouldn't think twice about it.

Except, if football was banned from the earth I would definitely miss the food. The foods that I associate with football are some of my favorites. I will happily sit through an entire game if there is a spread of tasty snacks. If someone invites me to watch a game at their house the first question I ask is, "will there be food?" and the answer to that question rates heavily in my decision to attend. And, yes, I am that person who asks if there will be food.

So, while I might not take the game seriously, I do hold the food in high regard. I've hosted and attended many game day gatherings and, while I may not remember which team won or what the critical plays were, I always remember the food.

I think these pizza pockets are a great game day offering-- they're easy to make and even easier to serve. This recipe makes four hand pies, but you can easily double or triple the recipe.

Savory Hand Pies
Serves 2

9 inch pie crust
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 baby portabello mushroom caps, chopped
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Romano cheese, shredded
(mix the three cheese together in a small bowl)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 baby portabello mushroom caps
2 handfuls of spinach

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pan cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon fat and allow to cook until softened.

Add in the mushrooms and continuing cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in the tomato sauce and the cooked bacon.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the pie crust into quarters. Place approximately two tablespoons of the mushroom mixture on one of the pieces.

Top the mixture with some cheese.

Fold the crust over to make a triangle and, using a fork, crimp the edges together. Cut some slits in the top to allow steam to escape during baking.

Once all for hand pies are made place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle some Romano cheese over the tops.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Transfer them to a rack and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...