Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Struesel Bars

If you like pumpkin pie, you'll love these bars! It's kind of like pumpkin cheesecake sandwiched in between a yummy struesel mixture. It's a fun alternative to traditional pumpkin pie. I like it served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. My family loved it!

Pumpkin Struesel Bars

1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c. sugar, divided
3/4 c. cold butter
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. chopped pecans
8 oz. (1 pkg) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13X9 pan with non stick cooking spray, set aside.
Mix together flour, brown sugar, and 1/4 c. of the white sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in oatmeal and pecans. Set aside one cup of struesel mixture, pour remaining into the 13X9 pan, press down firmly. Bake for 15 minutes.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 c. sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice. Pour onto crust.
Sprinkle with remaining struesel mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes, let cool and then place in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
Cut into 24 bars.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sesame Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is my favorite thing to barbeque. It's almost fool proof, it always comes out super moist and flavorful. This is a new recipe I tried tonight for dinner and it was so good!

Sesame Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (apprx. 1 lb)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sesame seeds, toasted (to toast place in shallow pan over medium heat and stir until light brown in color, this releases the oil in the seeds and makes them more flavorful.)

Remove pork tenderloin from bag, you will have two pieces. There is a thin, almost clear skin/membrane on part of the tenderloin. Pull it off.
Place pork in resealable gallon plastc bag. Add soy sauce, olive oil, ground ginger, and garlic cloves. Seal and marinate at least four hours or overnight (I did mine overnight)
Preheat grill, on my lowest heat my grill is about 375 and that temp works great.
Spray grill with non stick cooking spray. Place pork on grill. Cook for 12 minutes on each side.
While cooking combine honey and brown sugar.
After pork has cooked 12 min. on each side, brush honey mixture over top half of pork, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Turn over and brush remaining half with honey mixture and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds. Grill 5 minutes on each side.
Remove pork and place on tin foil, bring foil up kind of like a tent so that the pork is covered. Let sit for 10 minutes. Slice and serve! This is great served with rice and garnished with green onions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Treat Ideas/Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Happy Halloween everyone! I thought I would put on a couple of the cute Halloween treats I made this year. I love these cupcakes, I think the little skeletons are so cute! I used a small round frosting tip to pipe on the body and black decorating gel for the face.
The little ghosts are super easy to make, I'm sure everyone has seen these before. These are just Nutter Butter cookies dipped in white chocolate (or white candy making bark, or homemade icing is what I used here) with little chocolate chips for the eyes. I'm going to give you my chocolate frosting recipe that I used on the cupcakes. This is so yummy on my Fabulous Fudge Chocolate Cake recipe I posted in August, it is to die for! :)

Chocolate Frosting

4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. baking cocoa
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. boiling water
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together sugar and cocoa. Slowly beat in butter, water, and vanilla. Frost immediately!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Slow Cooker Southwest Chili

I have been making this chili recipe for years, it's the best! It is so easy to put together, the taste is very mild so kids (and adults that don't like hot food) will love it too.

Southwest Chili

1 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
2 cans tomato soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. Chili Seasoning (McCormick)
1 regular size can pinto beans
1/2 c. sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can corn, drained

Combine hamburger meat, soups, tomatoes, chili seasoning, and pinto beans. Turn slow cooker on low and let cook for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally if possible. 1 hour before serving add the onion, garlic, and corn. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and corn chips. Makes enough for about 6-7 people. If you want it a little spicier, you can add 1/2 a bell pepper, sliced, when you add the onion, garlic, and corn.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I altered my pumpkin bread recipe by adding in some buttermilk to make it lighter, it turned out great. This is a wonderful fall dessert, the flavors of pumpkin and maple together are delicious!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

3 c. sugar
1 15oz. can pumpkin puree
1 c. vegetable oil
2/3 c. water
4 eggs
3 1/2 c. flour
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1 Tbs. ground nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350.
In medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together and then set aside.
In large mixing bowl beat together sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Add half of flour mixture, beat until smooth. Add buttermilk, mix again, and then add remaining flour. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, do not overbake, it will ruin the cupcakes.

Makes approximately 36 cupcakes.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 Tbs. butter, softened
1/2 c. 100% pure Maple Syrup
5 c. powdered sugar

Beat together cream cheese and butter, add maple syrup. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time. I honestly can't remember how much powdered sugar I put it. Just add the 5 cups and then go from there if you need more.

Let cupcakes cool. I piped the frosting on and then sprinkled with cinnamon.

Festive Pumpkin Dip

This is a great dip for veggies, crackers, or chips. I make it as often as I can every fall, everyone loves it! It has a surprisingly good flavor to it, the first time I tried it I was thinking "Pumpkin dip? This might be weird" but it didn't taste how I expected it to. Try it and I know you'll love it. It looks pretty too.

Festive Pumpkin Dip

12 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
1 Tbs. taco seasoning mix
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/3 c. green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 c. red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c. sliced olives

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, taco seasoning, and garlic powder together for 1 minute until smooth. Stir in veggies. Refrigerate until ready to serve, a couple of hours at least.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This is a great combination of a classic Caesar and a pasta salad. It tastes so fresh with the basil, green onions, and parsley, I love it! I used light dressing and whole wheat pasta to make it even healthier. I always get lots of compliments whenever I make this.

3 c. cooked al dente Penne Pasta
2 grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced
2 c. shredded Romaine lettuce
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4 c. chopped green onions
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Caesar (or Ranch works fine too) dressing to taste (my favorite is Girard's light Caesar dressing)
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over when ready to serve

Combine all ingredients and chill for 1 hour. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies

This is a basic roll out sugar cookie recipe. It's great because I always have these ingredients on hand and it takes hardly any time to put together! I grew up decorating sugar cookies every holiday, and now I enjoy doing it with my son, thanks mom for such a great tradition!

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 c. butter, softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Beat butter and sugar together until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Form a 2-3" circle with the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm (this makes it easy to roll out). Take about 1/3 of the dough and roll out to 1/4" thickness. Return the rest of the dough to refrigerator until ready to use. Cut out rolled dough with cookie cutters and bake at 400 for 6-8 minutes. Cookies should not be brown on the edges at all, take them out while they are still light in color. If you overbake they will be dry and crunchy!:)
Makes about 40 medium size cookies.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

So I'm convinced that any baked good with sour cream or buttermilk in it is going to be delicious! I made this coffee cake for brunch today and everyone loved it. It was super moist (yet still chewy, which I love). It was pretty easy too, and when you're done, it's going to look beautiful! Almost too good to eat (wait a minute, nothing ever looks too good to eat! :) My four year old chowed down on it.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Brown Sugar Filling:
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Coffee Cake:
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
2 1/2 c. sour cream

1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs. milk

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of a fluted tube (Bundt) cake pan.
In small bowl combine all filling ingredients, stir until combined and set aside.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In large bowl beat sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs together for 2 minutes on medium speed. (Don't try to save time by only beating a little bit, there was a big difference in the batter after beating for two minutes) On low speed, beat 1/3 of flour mixture into batter. Beat in 1/3 of sour cream. Repeat adding flour and sour cream alternately until well blended.
Spread 1/3 of batter into bottom of pan. Sprinkle half of filling mixture over batter. Cover with another third of the batter, then the last half of the filling, and last third of the batter.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto plate. Let cool completely.
Beat together glaze ingredients, I added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to glaze and it turned out great. The glaze should be thick, but still thin enough to "fall" over cake. Pour glaze over cake by spoonfulls, let set for at least 1/2 hour and serve!