Friday, December 14, 2007

Candy Cane Cookies

I always like candy cane cookies as a kid but made them my own as an adult by making sure they not only look cute but also TASTE good.

I start out with the Rich Rolled butter cookie dough from my mom's Joy of COoking (they changed the recipe in mine so I have the old recipe written in). I usually make a double batch of the dough and put half aside for cut outs and the remaining half gets tweaked for the candy canes.
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
Beat well.
Add: 1 large egg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla (I make it 2 because I like the added flavor).
Stir in 2.5 cups of flour until well-mixed and smooth.
Add 1.5 tsp peppermint extract and mix well. Separate half the dough out and wrap and put in the fridge. Add red (and / or green) food coloring to the remaining dough, beat well, and wrap and refridgerate both for 20-30 min.
Divide each color into about 6 pieces and roll each into a long snake, all the same length. Place them next to each other, touching, alternating colors. When all the dough is laid out, roll over them wiht a rolling pin until about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thich and even. Optional: Top dough with crushed candy canes (I run them through the food processor)
Cut dough into long thin strips on the diagonal. Place on greased cookie sheet andcurve into shape. Bake at 350 degrees, 8 to 10 min.
Yummy - buttery and minty without being too overpowering.

Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Every year at Christmas I try to make at least one new cookie in addition to the regulars. This year I was unsure what I wanted to make and had not found a recipe that grabbed me. Ryan asked "Is it too late to make cookie requests?" and suggested something with coffee in it.

So after searching all the usual suspect websites for coffee and cookies I found this one on I found myself reading through about 15 pages of reviews and realized that yes I wanted to try this cookie. It is a more complicated recipe complete with melting chocolate over a double burner and whipping eggs but the results were fabulous. Many reviewers had trouble with a runny batter but I realized from a) the other reviews and b) the recipe that the key was in whipping those eggs enough. I whipped longer than the recoomended 3 min, just to be sure. Treat the whipping like you are beating eggs whites for a meringue - going in with that perspective I think helped me reach the right thickness. Contrary to the reviews, my batter was QUITE thick, with no additional flour or refridgeration.

The only thing I learned while doing was that my initial cookies were too big and were not cooking properly as a result. In subsequent batches I played with the cookie size and bake time and found that a smaller cookie was just right with the times specified. Plus these are RICH so smaller cookies just make more sense!


3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I used the Ghiradelli 60% Cacoa chips mmm)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans, such as Italian-roast (I used SBux French Roast freshly ground)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 teaspoon baking powder (Glad I have that 'odd' measuring spoon set!)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup walnuts (subbed white chocolate chips instead - dont like walnuts and was out of hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 large heavy baking sheets.
In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup chocolate chips, and butter, stirring until smooth, and remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat.
Note: I used the whisk attachment
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar, and ground coffee on high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes (took me 10+, given I doubled the recipe. Err on the side of beating more, should be very thick and pale), and beat in chocolate mixture. Into mixture sift in flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips and walnuts.
Drop batter by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets and bake in batches in middle of oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top. Cool cookies in baking sheets 1 minute and transfer to racks to cool completely.

Chicken Tenders Parmesan

Another fabulous success of a recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food mag. YUM!

I am not generally a big fan of parmesan chicken/etc but this recipe was nice and cheesy and with a good sauce... yum. I will definitely make this again, and soon. Love how quick and easy it was too!

salt and pepper (to taste)

2 eggs

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs

1.5 pounds chicken (in tenders-cut)

1 3/4 cups tomato sauce (I got the small - 8 oz I think - Jar of Rao's marinara and it was just the right amt, and so yummy since I am picky with sauce)

4 oz shredded mozzarella (approx 1 cup)

Heat broiler, rack 4 inches from heat.

Whisk eggs in a bowl, and in another bowl combine grated parmesan (I just used the pre bought shredded kind) and plain dried breadcrumbs.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dip the tenders in the eggs and then in the parmesan mixture to coat well. Place on rimmed baking sheet and broil until golden, 2 to 4 min per side.

Preheat the oven to 450 (it will need to cool down not heat up!). Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce inhte bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Top with the chicken tenders and then the remaining sauce and finally the mozzarella.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

SO SO SO good!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pina Colada Cupcakes

We went to a get together with some friends (including other Steelers fans... in CT!!!) to watch the Steelers Patriots game last weekend. Since I am a steelers fan by marriage, I decided to make cupcakes to bring that were festive for the occasion. :)

1 box white cake mix
1 small (4oz) vanilla pudding mix

1/4 c canola oil

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup light rum

4 eggs

1 8oz can crushed pineapple (with juices)

1 cup shredded coconut

Makes 24 cupcakes

Bake at:

Rummy Frosting (from the Joy of Cooking):

"Quick White Icing I" pg 1006 - adapted

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons vanilla
pinch salt

add more liquid or dry ingredients as needed for desired consistency

Thanksgiving on a Bun

My friends and I had a small christmas party and it was pot luck. Since when the plans were made, I was in a thanksgiving mood, I decided to make mini turkey burgers with a thanksgiving twist - topped with gravy (from a jar) and cranberry sauce (homemade).

To make the burgers, i mixed 3 pounds (yeah we always like to have too much food I know!) of ground turkey meat with 1 onion, diced and about 2/3 a bag of Pepperidge farm herbed stuffing, dry. I formed it into smallish patties and put them on baking sheets. To save time since we have a long drive to get there, I just broiled the burgers on the sheets - maybe 3-4 minutes per side or until starting to look a little brown and crispy on top.

Served on store bought rolls sliced in half, with cranberry sauce underneath and gravy drizzled on top. YUM! Excellent leftover. I was really glad to see that the stuffing flavor (and smell mmmm) really did come through.

Neiman Marcus Cookies

This recipe is from the big urban legend of baking. It isnt a true story, but the cookie recipe is still fabulous!

Read the story on Snopes, here.

Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

(Recipe may be halved):

2 cups butter

4 cups flour

2 tsp. soda

2 cups sugar

5 cups blended oatmeal**

24 oz. chocolate chips

2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice) (omitted)

** Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.


One of Ryan's favorite christmas cookies... I made a triple batch of this recipe from the Better Home & Garden Cookie Special Magazine. Yum!!
Note: I tripled the recipe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Beat butter in a mixture 30 seconds, until soft and fluffy. Add sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and beat. Beat in egg and vanilla to combine. Add flour in slowly. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll to cover completely in cinn-sugar. place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on wire racks.

Banana Coconut Lime Rum Bread

I saw this recipe and immediately thought of my friend Suzanne who has been dreaming of a banana bread earlier that would have coconut and lime in it. So for our christmas party I made two loaves to give away. I havent had any myself since I made the risky move of giving away something as a gift I had not tried myself. But I am told it was yummy and it sure LOOKED and smelled fab!

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze (Adapted from CL)
For the bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all-purpose if desired)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut, divided
For the topping
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
To make the bread
Preheat oven to 350
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, rum and vanilla - mix until blended. Pour in the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in 1/2 cup coconut.
Scoop the mixture into a 9" x 5" loaf pan coated with nonstick spray. Scatter the batter with the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake until a toothpick placed in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, about 55 to 65 minutes. Remove and let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Turn the bread out onto a wire rack, top side up.
To make the topping
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and juice - drizzle over warm bread. Let sit on the wire rack to cool completely.

Mom's Pumpkin Bread

This recipe is a tradition in our family - it MUST be served at Thanksgiving because its just so darn good. I made this recipe to give laves of bread to some friends, and I actually added a 1/3 to it since the recipe normally makes 3 loaves and I needed 4. It freezes well too! I dont have any cut-into photos since the loaves were all gifts, though.
Beat: 3 c sugar, 1 c canola oil, 4 eggs(1 at a time) and 2 1/2 c canned pumpkin.
Mix in: 3 1/2 c flour (I always use whole wheat), 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp allspice.
Add dry above alternately w/ 2/3 c water
OPTIONAL: Add 2 c raisins and 1 c nuts. Or a total of 3 cups of other add-ins like blueberries, cranberries, or chocolate chips. I will often make a plain loaf and a loaf with cranberries and a loaf with nuts, just put one cup of add-ins per loaf.
Bake 1 hour at 350 in 3 greased AND floured loaf pans - toothpick test works for doneness

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sweet and Sour Green Beans

Yet another Everyday Food recipe. I was hoping to try this for thanksgiving but we went with a different veggie-friendly recipe instead, so I made this at home a week later. Not the healthiest way to get your veggies and sorta complicated for a random tuesday, but it was so good - try it for company sometime!

Serves 4
4 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. With tongs, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate (reserve skillet with pan drippings).

Add onion to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to brown,3 to 5 minutes. Add green beans and 1/4 cup water; cook, tossing occasionally, until beans are bright green and tender, about 10 minutes.
Crumble bacon into skillet; add vinegar and sugar. Cook until a syrupy sauce forms, 2 minutes, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.

Lighter Sesame Chicken

This recipe is from Everyday Food (my fav cooking mag hands down) and is basically a lighter and healthier take on the chinese dish Chicken and Brocolli. And I think it is yummier than the stuff from chinese places personally! VERY good!

Serves 4
3/4 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed with a garlic press
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower (I used canola)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced (I skipped the stems and used more of the heads)

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, and fill with 1 inch water; set aside for broccoli. Cook rice according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and chicken. Return all the chicken to skillet; add reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat.
Meanwhile, place saucepan with steamer basket over high heat; bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve sesame chicken with broccoli and rice.

Candy Cane Brownie Kisses

Last year with the advent (or at least advent to me) of the Candy Cane kisses I was inspired to bake something with them similar to the PB kisses. I threw these together and love them, and they are really easy, espcially for christmas cookies! And so festive looking. :)

I just used a box of brownie mix for time's sale but you can use whatever your fav brownie recipe is. A box that makes a large pan (11x13? something like that) will make about 2 to 3 dozen bites. A box or recipe that only makes an 8x8 or 9x9 will make 2 dozen.

Take your favorite mix or recipe and mix according to recipe. I recommend the Ghiradelli mixes for a really fab tasting mix. spray mini muffin pans with nonstick spray and add spoonfuls of batter to each muffin. Fill 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Bake at 325 for about 10-15 min until the tops dont look wet in the center anymore.

While baking, 'peel' enough candy cane kisses for the brownies. As soon as you pull them from the oven, pop a kiss in hte center of each, pushing down slightly.

Let cool in the pan until set enough to twist the muffins out (too hot and they will rip and too cool and they will stick. Ill bet mini muffin lifers would be helpful)

Let cool completely before packing (so the kisses are hardened) They also taste awesome still warm :)
PS Check out my gorgeous Christmas Tree China by Spode :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Taste of the Tropics Shrimp

I found this recipe on the Paved with Good Intentions Blog and thought it looked yummy - I love fruit with seafood! It was very yummy!! The only thing I would change it I would use much less onion in the marinade- it was very strong. The Mango tempered it though :)
Broiled Shrimp
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup basil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp creole mustard (couldnt find this so I used southwestern instead)
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1) Combine all ingredients in ziplock bag, refrigerate one hour.2) Heat broiler. Broil shrimp 4 minutes, turning over half way through.

Mango Salsa
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 jalepeno seeded and chopped
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ripe mango, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/6 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp light brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1) Combine all ingredients but salt and pepper.2) Place in fridge for 30 minutes to let the salsa do the flavor tango.3) Season with salt and pepper
I served it with jasmine rice, and cooked the remaining marinade in a saucepan until slightly reduced and the onions were softened (and the raw seafood was cooked!) and mixed that with the rice, it was great!

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

I was planning to try my hand at pumpkin cheesecake for thanksgiving but made a last minute executive decision to switch to vanilla bean (since I realized that pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake would be a bit redundant!)
This recipe comes from Bon Appetit by way of Epicurious. I ommitted the cranberry topping due to time. My vanilla beans were pretty old and not so strong anymore, and the store was OUT of them, so I used them plus a couple generous tsp of vanilla extract to make sure it have a nice strong vanilla flavor - which it dod (but not too much either, perfect!). I also cooked it in a water bath. My first cheesecake came out eh and I think that was from a lack of water bath. This one, with water bath, cooked PERFECTLY - no cracks or anything!

It was SO GOOD.

12 vanilla sandwich cookies (such as Vienna Fingers; 6 1/2 ounces), broken into pieces (I used a whole pkg to have enough for the sides too, and added extra butter to compensate)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar


2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature (3 pkgs)

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

4 large eggs


1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail, thawed

1/4 cup water


For Crust: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Wrap outside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with foil. Blend cookies, butter and sugar in processor until crumbs stick together. Press crumbs on bottom and halfway up sides of prepared pan. Bake crust 10 minutes. Set aside. Maintain oven temperature.

For Filling: Using tip of small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla beans into small saucepan; add beans. Add cream. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Set aside uncovered, and cool to room temperature. Discard beans.
Blend cheese, sugar and salt in processor until very smooth, stopping often to scrape down sides of work bowl. Add vanilla cream and blend. Add eggs; process 5 seconds. Scrape down sides of work bowl; process just until blended, about 5 seconds. Transfer filling to crust.
Bake cake until sides puff slightly and center is just set, about 50 minutes. Place uncovered hot cheesecake directly into refrigerator and chill thoroughly, at least 6 hours or overnight.

For Topping: Stir all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil 3 minutes. Press mixture through sieve set over large bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Spoon warm topping over cold cake; spread evenly. Chill until topping is set, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

I am not a big pumpkin pie person but this recipe is so yummy! The filling is from William Sonoma and I stuck with the tried and true Joy of Cooking Rich Buttery Crust recipe.

Crust - Deluxe Butter Flaky Dough/Baked Flaky Pastry Crust, (this is cut in half from the original for only one non-covered pie) and adapted:
Page 862/866 the Joy of Cooking

I made this in the food processor - makes crust-making a breeze!
1.25 cups flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter.
Run food processor so mixture resemples crumbs pea sized or smaller.
Drizzle 1/6 cup ice water over mixture and run processor briefly so evenly moistened. If the dough wont hold together add another 1-2 tablespoons of ice water. If it is too wet, add more flour. Press dough into a disk (should not be sticky) and wrap in plastic. Refridgerate for 30 min, minimum.

Roll dough out and put in pie pan. Heat oven to 400 and place rack in lower third of oven. push foil shiney side down and sprayed into crust and fill with rice, beans or pie weights. Bake 20 minutes. Remove frmo oven and remove weights, and foil. Prick bottom of crust and bake 5-10 minutes more until golden brown.
Brush inside of crust with a combination of 1 large yolk and a pinch of salt, beaten. Replace in oven until glaze sets and then fill immediately.
For the filling:

16 oz. fresh or canned pumpkin puree

3 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground mace (omitted, didnt have any)

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

(sorry - no pretty slice pics - didnt have time at dinner and we were all too full after dinner when I took these photos for anyone to take one for the team and eat more! :) )

To make the filling, in a large heatproof bowl (I used a double boiler), whisk together the pumpkin and eggs. In another bowl, combine the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, allspice, cloves and sugar and stir to blend. Whisk into the pumpkin mixture, then whisk in the half-and-half and evaporated milk. Gently stir in the cream. Set the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan and cook the filling, stirring constantly, until very warm (not hot) to the touch, 4 to 6 minutes.Transfer the filling to the pie shell and bake until the filling is just set in the center, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with homemade whipped cream - YUM!

Cheddar Apple Pie

Another fool-proof William Sonoma recipe! I have made this one once before, and it turned out well so I volunteered to make the apple pie this year too. There is a decent amount of cheddar cheese in the crust - I used extra sharp white in a block and hand shredded it. I dont think you would get enough sharpness from teh pre-shredded kind. I also always add extra apples to my apple pie since I prefer it tall and full, and alot of times the apples shrink during baking and you are left with a too-thin pie. There were so many apples in this that I had a hard time stacking them all in the pan without falling! It is nice too, when you eat the pie you get a nice hint of cheddar aftertaste, not overpowering at all. CHeddar and apple is such a yummy combo!

For the dough:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. sugar

6 oz. white cheddar cheese, finely grated

16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

For the filling:

2 lb. Braeburn apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick

1 1/2 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick (I used granny smith only and 4+ pounds total)

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

3 Tbs. cornstarch

2 Tbs. heavy cream

To make the dough, in a bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar and cheese, breaking apart any large clumps of cheese. Put the butter in a separate bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 10 minutes. In a food processor, pulse the flour mixture until the ingredients are combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 15 to 20 pulses. Add 1/3 cup of the ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 Tbs. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (I made the dough the day before)

To make the filling, in a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, remove 1 of the dough disks from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Place the dough between 2 sheets of lightly floured waxed paper and roll out into a 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick. Brush off the excess flour. Transfer to a pie dish and press the dough into the dish. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (I didnt bother)

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Pour the apples into a sieve set over a small saucepan, then transfer the apples to a large bowl. Set the saucepan with the juices over medium-high heat, add the butter and cook until reduced to 1/3 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the apples and toss to combine, then stir in the reduced juices. Transfer the apples to the pie shell. Roll out the remaining dough disk into a 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick. Drape the dough over the apples and press gently to eliminate any air pockets. Trim the dough flush with the rim of the dish. Fold the bottom crust over the top crust and crimp to form a decorative edge. Cut 4 slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the crust with the cream. Bake for 20 minutes. Cover the edges and top with aluminum foil if they begin to get too dark. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until the apples are easily pierced with a knife, 65 to 70 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours before serving. Serves 8 to 12.

Orange-Cranberry Sauce

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving the first time 2 years ago and it has quickly become a favorite! Very easy and the cranberry and orange and apples meld so well together. Perfect on Turkey! This recipe is by William Sonoma and comes out perfect every time!

Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce

1/2 orange

2 cups water

1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, pippin or McIntosh

3 cups fresh cranberries

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Squeeze the juice from the orange and set the juice aside. Remove and discard the membrane from inside the orange rind and cut the rind into small dice. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauceboat and pass at the table. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups.

This is a dish that you can easily make a few days ahead - oh so important for Thanksgiving menu planning!

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series,Thanksgiving & Christmas,by Chuck Williams (Time-Life Books, 1993).

Corn Muffins

Two weeks ago, we had my sis and bro over for dinner and served chili (we were out of our stock in the freezer!) and what goes better with chili than corn muffins? I saw this recipe in Gillians Goodies blog and it looked easy and not too terribly unhealthy, and incorporates kernals of corn, which I like. They were super quick and easy to make (which was important since I was also making 2 kinds of chili) and very yummy!

Yield: 12 muffins


2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (the sharper the cheese, the better the flavour!)

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (I was out so I subbed cream for this... oh well!)

1/4 cup chopped onion (subbed for the original recipe's green onions) (I used a little extra)

1 (8 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn

Dash of hot sauce (omitted)

1 large egg, beaten

Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next four ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine cheese and remaining ingredients (except cooking spray) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add the cheese mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

3. Coat the muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among the cups of the muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in cups 2 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan. The recipe says to let them cool completely but they are so yummy served warm!

Reference:The original recipe can be found in the October 2007 issue of Cooking Light magazine. Corn Bread Bites.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

I had the idea to make apple cinnamon cupcakes all fall and when we were invited to a Halloween Party, I used that opportunity to make them. I thought they were great!

1 box yellow cake mix (I was going to make from scratch but no time, and it was yummy this way) Make batter according to directions. Add 2 apples, peeled, diced and 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1 tsp nutmeg. Mix to combine and bake according to instructions.

I made a quick cream cheese frosting from Joy of cooking, plus of course halloween decor. I didnt think to take a photo of the cupcake broken into but trust me that it was great!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I saw this recipe by Cara's Cravings floating around the cooking board that I frequent and the first opportunity I had I made them (for our local get together for the troops!). I doubled the recipe for a crowd and made it in a 9x13 pan so they were still nice and thick. When I started making them I realized I was short eggs if I needed to double it so I just made them short and kept my fingers crossed. They came out very well and I made them again for a Halloween party, this time with the correct number of eggs. Ryan and I prefered them with less eggs as they were a fudgier consistency so that is the recipe I am writing here (see the link above for the original). They are fabulous!


1.5 cups butter, melted

2 cup sugar

2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

4 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Batter

12 oz cream cheese, softened

1 egg

2/3 cup sugar

4 tbsp flour

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 9x13" square metal baking pan. Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. In separate bowl, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients. Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving.

Oh My Darlin' Clementine Salmon

I saw this recipe on the Good Things Catered Blog and used it as a jumping off point for a new salmon recipe. I am really picky with salmon - I have 2 recipes (one of which is just lemon juice and olive oil heehee) that I love and well nothing else seems to ever measure up. This was really good though - elevates my basic lemon salmon. For the original recipe, see the link. The main things I changed were the type of salsa (since we dont really care for cucumber salsa) and the cooking method (I finished in the pan instead of oven).


2 salmon filets
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/8 tsp orange zest (I did zest of 2 clementines)
1/8 tsp lemon ( I just did zest of 1 lemon)
1 small garlic clove, minced
salt and ground rainbow peppercorns

1 tomato, chopped fine
2 clementines, sections cut in thirds
1/3 a red onion, finely chopped


Heat heavy saute pan over medium high heat .

Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add salmon, to hot pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.

Season top of salmon with zests, garlic, and salt and ground pepper. (I combined it in a bowl and them mixed and spooned onto
Flip steak in pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove skin from bottom of steak and discard (I used skinless).

In the meantime, mix tomato, chopped clementine, red onion, in a small bowl and set aside.

Add white wine to pan and swirl to coat. Flip salmon steak in pan and swirl to pick up bowned bits in pan halfway through. Cook till salmon is done through. Top fish with fresh tomato mixture and serve.

Honey Roasted Parsnips

I have never had parsnips (as far as I know at least) but I saw a recipe for this in teh new December Everyday Food and it looked interesting. I hit the stores and saw parsnips everywhere so figured, why not. They look like white carrots so I was expecting a more mild carrot flavor but its more like a mild version of sweet potatos, BUT they crisped up in the over much better than the sweet potatos do. This was fabulous and easy, and is definitely added to the veggie side rotation! YUM!

(orig recipe serves 4 - I halved it and it was perfect for Ryan and me)

1 package parsnips (1 pound), peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 2 inch lengths on the diagonal

toss with EVOO and kosher salt

Roast at 450 in rimmed baking sheet until brown (about 30 min) tossing halfway.

After pulling from oven drizzle a little honey (1 tsp at most) over the parsnips and toss to coat. Really good - if you want to try a new veggie this is the one! Very mild for picky eaters and so yummy.

Sweet Brown Butternut Rice

I was always scared of rice because I hated it growing up but I have recently learned more about it (thanks Alton Brown!) and have become a big fan of rice with stuff in it. Still don't much like it plain or the boring white/brown varieties. But different kinda of rice are fun! I went to WHole Foods a while back and they can be very expensive for some things. They had cereal-type dispensers set up wiht about 20 different kids of rice, and unique ones. I bought a bunch of different kinds (nice, at the grocery store you have to buy 5 pounds at a time - ugh!). One was "sweet brown rice" a short brown rice. I decided to try it out on a whim. SO good. YUM. I loved it!

1 cup sweet brown rice


Add both to medium pot over medium high and stir often to toast teh rice a bit. Add:

1 onion, diced

1 (small) or 1/2 a butternut squash, in bite sized pieces (I buy the pre-peeled kind since my upper body strength is lacking, and it is needed to get the hard rind off)

cook another couple minutes, stirring, until onion is softened.

Add about 2 cups of stock. Let simmer, stirring frequently. I think I added another 1/2-3/4 cup of stock - as needed (taste the rice when the stock is soaked up to see if it is soft enough or not).

Towards the end but before totally done, add 1 medium tomato, chopped and about 1 cup of frozen corn. Add a pinch of salt, a few tsp of cinnamon and ginger, a dash of nutmeg, and a tsp of white pepper (more mellow and suble than black I think).

SO good! Nice and creamy texture and a sweetness from the rice, squash and spices.

Red Pepper Fennel Soup

I got this recipe from Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine. It was really yummy! My grocery store did not have fresh fennel so I threw in about 2 T of fennel seeds instead and it still had a nice strong flavor. Very good, very easy!

2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise (I used 3)

*to roast peppers: I sliced them and put them all skin down on a foil lined baking sheet and broiled them a few minutes until getting dark spots then flipped them all and cooked until black spots on the skin.
6 tablespoons butter, melted (I used olive oil)
1 leek (white part only), thinly sliced crosswise (I used an onion)
1 small bulb fennel with fronds, bulb finely chopped and fronds chopped for garnish (as mentionned, I couldnt find it in the store so I just used approx 2 T of fennel seeds instead)
1 potato (1/2 pound)—peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
2 pitas, split and cut into wedges (I omitted)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used a little less just enough to make it creamy but it would probably also be good omitted)
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°. Reserve 4 strips of roasted red pepper and set aside. In a medium pot, place 4 tablespoons melted butter over medium heat. Add the leek and chopped fennel bulb and cook until lightly golden, about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining roasted red peppers, the potato, broth, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the pitas on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle with some of the fennel fronds and salt; toast in the oven, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

Using an immersion or standing blender, working in batches if necessary, blend the potato mixture until smooth. If desired, place a sieve over a large pot and strain the soup. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup hot or cold with the pita chips. Dollop with sour cream, if desired, and top with the reserved roasted red pepper strips and more fennel fronds.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pumpkin Corn Chowdah

For this round of homegrown gourmet, I chose the challenge to be SOUP. And what better way to make a soup representative of New England than to make a chowder (something enw for me too!) I ahve no interest in dealing with clams so I thought I would put my own twist on it... I added corn, since corn chowder is a classic, and 1/2 a local pumpkin, some bacon and local tomato for color. I topped it with lobster, and Ryan and I had a fabulous, albeit not so healthy, meal!

Pumpkin Corn Chowder

6 oz bacon, cooked in soup pot, removed and crumbled (leave the fat)

1 large onion, diced (add to pot on med high with bacon fat, stirring)

1/2 a smallish pumpkin, peeled, seeded, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

4 ears of corn, kernals cut off

3-4 med to large red potatos, chopped into bite sized pieces

Let cook, stirring, about 5 min. Add 3-4 cups of stock (more for a thinner broth, less for thicker) and let the soup come to a boil. Cook until the pumpkin and potatos are cooked through. Add 1 cup of half and half, 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme, and the bacon. Chop up 2 small tomatos into small pieces and stir in about 5 minutes in. Let simmer until thickens slightly (about 5 more min). Serve, topping with Lobster meat (optional)

Homegrown Gourmet 2 Wrap-up - SOUP

I had the pleasure of hosting this round of homegrown gourmet and chose the challenge to be soup - it is october after all!

There were some great entries... Kate from Paved with Good Intentions is from Orange County (the REAL OC ;) ) and put together pumpkin for the season with Orange, in honor of her home county. This sounds like a really unique flavor combo! Though I personally think she should try to make an avocado soup... a cold one would be perfect for the warm weather there!

Carrie of Carrie's Cooking Creations made a wild rice soup since Northern Wild Rice is native to Minnesota - I never knew that! Her soup looksthick and creamy - perfect for those cold Northern nights!

Erika from Bean's Bistro, our founder, made a Haddock Chowder. A soup, as she put it, perfect for watching the Sox, up in chilly Maine. Understandably... the traditional lobster didnt make the menu but I like a good twist myself!

My entry was another Chowder - I am also a New Englander after all! Mine was a corn chowder with pumpkin and bacon, topped with a little bit of lobster. The corn, pumpkin, potatos and tomatos were all local, and Im sure the lobster did not travel far.

And finally my choice for our winner:

Becke from Columbus Foodie made a Butternut Bisque made from totally local ingredients! I have lately been so inspired by the book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" that this approach totally appeals to me. Everything from the butter to the stock to the vegetables and goat cheese garnish were from her home state and area, and the result looks fabulous! Congrats! Becke's challenge, should she choose to accept it, is to pick the next round's challenge and judge the results!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Autumnal Breakfast for Dinner

Who doesnt love breakfast for dinner? Not us, we love it every so often. And who doesnt love apples and pumpkin stuff? I sure do! Last weekend I tried to make pumpkin pancakes and it was a huge disaster. I should have taken pics to illustrate their terribleness. Burned on the outside... raw on teh inside... yummm. ;)

ANYHOW. This week I saw a recipe for pumpkin pancakes on Confections of a Foodie Bride and the accompanying pics looked great - not burned and not raw :)

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar

1 1/8 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used various spices - cinn, allspice, ginger, nutmeg - instead)

1 eggs

1 cup buttermilk* (I added extra milk since the batter seemed kind of thick for pancakes)

1/8 cup melted butter (I used Canola instead)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin (i used 1/2 a can)
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sift together dry ingredients in medium bowl. Beat the eggs, buttermilk together and stream in melted butter while whisking. Whisk in the canned pumpkin - taste for pumpkin-ness and adjust pumpkin pie spice/pumpkin as desired.
Whisk the dry and the wet ingredients - batter will be lumpy but do not over-mix. Ladle 1/3 cup of batter onto the skillet and cook until the bubbles pop and the top of the pancake loses the “wet look” (about 2-3 minutes). Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more.
Top the stack of pancakes with a pat of butter and serve with syrup and a garnish of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
Yields 6-8 pancakes, depending on size. (mine made about 12 smallish ones)
*I was out of buttermilk (go figure) so I “made” some: 1 cup milk, minus 1 Tbsp. And then I added 1 Tbsp white vinegar (can use lemon juice) and let sit on the cabinet for a few minutes while I was measuring the dry ingredients and melting butter. Whisk together and voila! Buttermilk! ***I did the same but with lemon***

The pancakes were PERFECT. Fluffy, soft, pumkiny and not at all burned/raw. Well actually... one got away and burned but that was just user-error!

Apple Cheddar Scramble

This one was of my own creation. At first I thought I would do an omelet but then I remembered that 1) I cant make omelets 2) even if I could our pans kinda suck right now and 2) I dont really like omlelets anyhow and much prefer scrambles so why on earth was I making my life too complicated!

I sauteed 1 large apple (peeled, cored, sliced to 1/4 inch and then in 1/4s) with a little butter until soft and browning, on med high stirring occassionally. Added 5 eggs beat with milk and cook until almost done. Add cubes of good cheddar and let melt and serve. We all know (and if you dont, try it, so good) that apples and cheddar are an amazing combo and they were so good in eggs that I think this is a new favorite scramble for me!

Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots

I wanted to make some savory dishes this week with the apples we picked at Granby's Bushy Hill Orchard. The first dish that came to mind was the natural paring; pork and apples. A quick search on some of my favorite cooking sites and I found this recipe that looked simple, quick, easy, healthy and yummy. And it proved to be all three! Recipe by Martha Stewart.

I only made two large bone-in chops but the same amt of apple/shallot mixture

2 tablespoons butter (I used veggie oil instead)
1/2 pound medium shallots, halved or quartered lengthwise (pieces should be about 3/4 inch thick)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths (I used 3 empires)
1/2 cup white wine
4 pork rib chops (each 1/2 inch thick and 6 to 8 ounces)
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Heat broiler; set rack 4 inches from heat. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Cover pan; reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes more.
Add apples and wine; cover, and cook until apples are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and apples are tender, 2 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
While apples are cooking, season pork chops generously with salt and pepper; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. To serve, spoon warm apple mixture over chops.

This was SO good and I will definitely make it again. I am not normally a huge fan of pork chops but wow, they are often paired with apples for a reason... yum! And of course, ryan loved it too :)

Apple Crumble

I made this the same way as all my other crumbles but yummm was it good with apples! I sliced up 4 smallish apples, peeled, cored and sliced to a 1/4 inch. Throw that in a loaf pan, and top with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon (you dont need to bother tossing it, it will mingle when cooking), a thin layer of oatmeal, a layer of brown sugar, and top with slices of butter. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until top it golden and apples are just cooked through.

I truly love this easy dessert!

Garlic Brocolli, v2

I got this method from my mom and I tried it when I couldnt do my normal roasting since my oven was being used. Basically, in a small pan heat up a little olive oil and 4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed. let it heat up over med-low. In the meantime, boil 1 inch of water in a pot and add the broccoli, covering. Cook until JUST done and green, and then add the broc to the pan with hte oil and garlic and toss, cooking for another couple minutes. So nice and garlicky and yummy, and QUICK!

Butternut Fries

To make these, I cut into a butternut squash and seeded it and cut off the peel. Then I cut it into fry-sized pieces (yeah... I got a workout just from cutting - ooff!!). Tossed with olive oil, kosher salt and a decent amt of cumin. Roasted at 450 for about 25 min, turning 1/2 way. Sqeeze lime juice over it and serve.

The end result was a little softer than I would have liked but regardless, was SO good. The cumin really went well with the squash, and gave it a nice little kick. I think next time I will broil it at the end to crisp it up a bit (ryan's suggestion :) )

Cranberry Orange Bread

I used this recipe which worked so well with apples, and gets raves with raisins too with teh zest of one large orange and about 2 cups of fresh Cranberries. I also added about 2 tsp of nutmeg to the batter, because it goes so well with orange. It was very yummy!

Butternut Gnocchi with BBB Sauce

Because I am SO into seasonal foods lately, I decided to make butternut squash gnocci. I found various recipes online and since they were all basically the same and I used my own twists, I am claiming this one as my own.


2 cups whole wheat flour

2 eggs

1 small butternut squash

salt and white pepper

nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice

Slice squash in half and coat cut side with EVOO and season with salt and white pepper. Roast, cut side down, until soft through. (I did it at 450 degrees and it took about 30 minutes but depends on the size of the squash). Let squash cool enough to handle, and then peel, deseed, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Let squash cont to cool to room temp (I just stuck it in the fridge for a few) and add flour, eggs, spices. Mix with hands. Add more flour as needed so the it becomes adough mixture. Roll small amts off a spoon into a pot of boiling water (about walnut sized) and let cook 2-3 minutes after floating. Remove with slotted spoon and toss with sauce.

Note: this makes a TON for 2 ppl so I cooked up half the dough and the other half is wrapped in saran in the freezer to cook up at a later date.

Balsamic Brown Butter

I used this recipe for the sauce from Emeril.

Balsamic Brown Butter:

2 sticks unsalted butter (i just used one but with the same amt of other ingred)

1/4 cup minced shallots

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons chiffonade fresh sage


I also added some loosely chopped chanterelle mushrooms right before taking the sauce from the heat. They really went well with the dish.

For the Balsamic Brown Butter: In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat until brown bits form and it has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the shallots, balsamic vinegar, and sage. Stir well. Adjust seasoning, to taste.

Overall it was really good! Ryan isnt a big fan of mushrooms... but he really liked it. I am not a big fan of gnocchi... but I really liked it. Normally, gnocchi seems kind of doughy and flavorless to me, but this was healthy (well minus the sauce) and flavorful! I served it alongside filet... what a decadent meal!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Stuffed Mushrooms

I hvae never made these before, but had the ingredients other than the 'shrooms on hard so I tried them for our neighborhood block party. They were SHOCKINGLY easy and disappeared quicker than any other appetizers! Yahoo!

Olive oil, for baking sheet
3 slices white sandwich bread
1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 log (5 ounces) soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Coarse salt
2 packages (10 ounces each) white button mushrooms, stems removed (I used mini portobellas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 1/2 cup aside. To food processor, add goat cheese, parsley, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt, and pulse filling until combined.
Spoon filling into each mushroom, and roll filled side in reserved breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; bake until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes

His and Hers Chili

So Ryan is a big Chili fan and me... eh. I thought I would try my hand at it and was inspired to make a chili that *I* might like... in other words... not at all spicy, healthy, and with less of an obvious tomato-chili taste. My bargain was, I would make a very spicy traditional chili for Ryan a few nights later when i was going to dinner with friends.

I absolutely LOVED my chili... and Ryan says that his was great too! Ill have to take his word for it; it was way too spicy for me to handle!

There are plenty of leftovers, serving sizes frozen - what a good dinner they will be later when the cold weather hits!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

inspired by Whole Foods recipe

Besides adding a sweet nuttiness, pumpkin's ready source of Vitamin A boosts the nutrition content of this offbeat chili recipe. Garnish each portion with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.
Serves 6
2 tablespoons olive oil (eyeballed)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (I used red since its what I had on hand)
2 jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed and minced (omitted)

1 Honey crisp apple - peeled, cored, diced (my addition)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey (used about 1.25 of white since its what they had)
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin
1 cup water (I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup apple cider)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
I also added: cinnamon (a decent amt), a pinch of nutmeg and a touch of ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

kernals from 1 eat of putter and sugar corn (my addition)
1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans, drained (I used the dark red variety)
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until tender (I added the apple at this point). Add turkey; cook until browned.
Add tomatoes with juice, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add kidney beans (I added corn at this point), cover; stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Garnish with cheese and onion. SO good!

Kelly's Spicy Chili (inspired by Wm Sonoma Bride & Groom)

2T olive oil (or bacon fat)
2 medium onions, chopped (I just did 1)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3T chili powder
2T paprika
1T cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 pkg of ground beef
1 pkg of sausage (sweet or hot, Italian style)
2 cans of crushed tomatoes and their juices
1 can (14 oz) barbecued baked beans (Bush’s)
1 can (14 oz) red kidney beans
2 chipotle peppers, minced (from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce marked “hot”) – or more to taste ( we usually use 4-5) (i used about 1/2 the can -5+)
Kernals from 1 ear of corn (my addition)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream
Chopped onion
Tortilla chips
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until tender, about 8 minutes. Add spices, and cook for one minute. Add ground turkey and turkey sausage, combine well with spices, and cook until browned and crumbled (it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through). Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for one hour. Add more seasonings to taste, and enjoy!

I added extra of all the spices, and a little bit of cayenne, and a few chopped little hot peppers. Wanted to make SURE it was spicy!