Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Dessert-Pumpkin Pie and Cinnamon Ice Cream

We made the basic/traditional fixings for our main course. Dave took care of most of the sides as I was cleaning up the appetizers and preparing the table for round 2! I do not have pictures of dinner, but I did take a few of the desserts I made. This was the first pie I ever made. It didn't come out looking spectacular, but it tasted delicious. I liked adding marshmallows on the top. I also made cinnamon ice cream to serve with this and an apple pie my in-laws brought over. The ice cream was the best consistency of any I have made yet! Here are the recipes I used:

Pumpkin Ginger Pie
I found this recipe on the Pillsbury website

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box

1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (9 cookies)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup evaporated milk
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 to 2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Place cookie sheet on middle oven rack. Unroll pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. In small bowl, mix streusel ingredients. Sprinkle streusel in crust-lined pie plate.
2. In large bowl, mix filling ingredients. Pour into pie crust on top of streusel. Place pie plate on cookie sheet in oven. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake 35 to 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 3 hours.
3. Just before serving, set oven control to broil. Spread marshmallows evenly over top of pie, completely covering filling. Broil pie with top about 5 inches from heat about 30 seconds, watching carefully, until marshmallows are lightly browned. Marshmallows will brown quickly.
(I did not put my pie in a broil safe dish! So I baked it at 350 and watched for the marshmallows to brown)

Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
From All Recipes website

You will need:
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar and half-and-half. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat, and whisk half of the mixture into the eggs. Whisk quickly so that the eggs do not scramble. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and stir in the heavy cream. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and whisk in vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.
2. Pour cooled mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Thanksgiving Appetizers

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving! For the second year, Dave and I hosted our immediate families. Everything was great. The food came out on time and we were happy with how everything turned out. I am a huge lover of appetizers! Here is what I put out to kick off our feast last Thursday.

Pumpkin Pie Dip

And these two that I have not yet blogged about:

Cranberry Brie Pecan Squares
This is a Pillsbury recipe

You will need:
1 can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 8oz. pkg. Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce (I ended up using most of the can)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a 13x9-inch pan with olive or vegetable oil. Unroll dough and seal the seams to make a crust base in the oiled pan. Bake at 425°F. for 5 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
2. Remove crust from oven. Sprinkle cheese over partially baked crust. Place cranberry sauce in small bowl; stir to break up pieces. Spoon cranberry sauce by teaspoonfuls evenly over cheese. Sprinkle with pecans.
3. Return to oven; bake an additional 6 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares.

Caprese Skewers
These are an app that I stole from my friend Haven. They are so easy and tasty. Who doesn't love eating off a stick?

You will need:
grape tomatoes
basil leaves
fresh mozzarella
balsamic vinegar

1) Cut the mozzarella into bit size pieces.
2) To assemble a skewer, slide on a tomato followed by a basil leaf and then the mozzarella. Repeat to make your desired amount.
3) Drizzle the skewers with balsamic vinegar right before serving.

Parmesan Pork Chops

After our Thanksgiving feast on Thursday and eating the leftovers throughout the weekend, we needed a lighter meal on Sunday night. These were quick, easy, and tasty! We will be adding them to our menu rotation. It is perfect for a week night because it doesn't take long to cook or prep. I found this recipe on Delish blog and was glad to see how a Giada dish could be lightened up. We do not cook pork often, and this dish was a refreshing change from chicken and turkey! The one change I would make is probably to use grated parmesan next time. I used shredded tonight and it had some trouble staying on the chops when I added them to the pan. We ate this with the last of our leftover veggies.

You will need:
4 pork loin chops
garlic powder
4 Tbsp shredded/grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Place Parmesan cheese on a plate. Season the pork chops generously with black pepper and use some salt. Sprinkle garlic powder evenly over the pork chops. Coat the chops with the cheese, patting to adhere.

2) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops to the skillet and do not move them. Allow the pork chops to cook until golden brown & crisp, about 5 minutes per side.

3) Transfer pork chops in skillet to oven and bake for about 8 minutes in your preheated oven. You want them cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

*You may use an oven safe skillet. That will make this even easier!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fried Goat Cheese

One of my favorite meals is the goat cheese salad at Not Your Average Joes. As soon as I saw this recipe on the Novice Chef, I knew I would try to recreate my favorite salad at home. This came out great! I made this tonight while Dave was out, and he is sorry he missed it! Luckily, I have some leftover cheese balls that can be added to salad for lunch tomorrow. These fried goat cheese pieces could be used in any salad. I always enjoy having something hot in my salad when it is a dinner. It also helps transition salad main dishes during the cold weather months.

Fried Goat Cheese from the Novice Chef

You will need:
4 oz of Goat Cheese
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 egg

1) Use your hands to mix the minced garlic, Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper into the goat cheese. Form the goat cheese mixture into 1 inch wide balls.
2) Beat the egg in a bowl and in another bowl place the bread crumbs. One at a time, dip each goat cheese ball into the egg and then cover in the bread crumbs. Repeat the process to make sure the goat cheese is fully covered in the bread crumbs.
3)Heat your non-stick skillet and add the olive oil. Fry the goat cheese balls until they are golden brown.

For the salad I used:
baby spinach
and a Raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

I made this to bring to dinner at my parent's last night. It was super easy to make and relatively low in fat. I have seen numerous Weight Watchers recipes that suggest mixing a can of pumpkin with spice cake or devils food cake mixes. This was delicious. I think I will add this to our Thanksgiving dessert menu. It tasted almost like a pumpkin bread more than a cake. I think that means you could enjoy this guilt free at any time of day!

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Apple Cider Glaze
From Splash of Gourmet

For the cake you need:
1 box spice cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 egg white
1 tbsp vanilla
splash of water

and for the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp apple cider

1)Preheat oven to 350. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2)In bowl, mix together cake mix, pumpkin, vanilla, egg white, and water. Pour into pan and bake for about 40 mins.

3) Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. When cool, remove the cake from the pan.

4) In small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and apple cider. Pour/drizzle the glaze over the cake and serve.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I have wanted to make these whoopie pies all fall. As soon at this yummy treat popped up in my google reader, I knew I would be trying to make them! There was a bit of a canned pumpkin shortage this season, and I had some difficulty finding pumpkin. Luckily the shortage seems to be over! The apartment smelled amazing as these were cooking. They seemed to be a hit at a birthday party that I brought them to. The cakes came out perfectly moist.
I have seen this recipe on many blogs recently; I followed the recipe I found at Lindsey's Kitchen.

Pumpkin Whoopie Cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp ground fresh nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract


-Preheat the oven to 350F.
-Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
-In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk two sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
-Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop a heaping TBSP of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. (I cooked them for close to 15 minutes)
-Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. They will probably look more like mini cakes than cookies.

Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps.
-Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
-Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.
(Be careful not to overbeat the filling)

To Assemble:
Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe filling (about a tbsp) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoppie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.