Pumpkin Pie Bars

Thanksgiving is here, and that means the official start of the Christmas Season.  I know many people, including the stores, have put their decorations already.  The stores seem to put them out earlier and earlier every year.  What is up with that?  What happened to putting out decorations the day after Thanksgiving?  Wasn’t that the tradition?  Well, to each his own I guess.  I’ll stick to tradition.

And speaking of tradition, Pumpkin Pie is a Thanksgiving tradition in its own right.  Here’s a take on the plain ol’ Pumpkin Pie.  Don’t shy away from the butterscotch chips!  They’re great addition!

Pumpkin Pie Bars (adapted from Kraft)

  • 1-1/3 cups Flour
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup Butter or Margarine, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup Quick Oats, uncooked
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Eggs
  • 15 ounces Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Butterscotch Chips

Heat oven to 350°F.  Line a 13×9-inch pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Grease the foil.  In a medium bowl, mix the flour, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the oats.  Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan and bake for 15 min.

Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, pumpkin and spice with mixer until well blended. Pour over crust.  Sprinkle with butterscotch chips.

Bake for 25 min.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Store in refrigerator.

Published in: on November 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Roasted Squash

Looking for an yummy yet simple dish to take for Thanksgiving dinner?  Look no further than this roasted squash dish.  Sometimes, the yellow squash is only available in the summer (zucchini is available year round), but in the South, you would be surprised what vegetables you can find.  If you have time to slice the squash, you have time to make this dish.  Pop it in the oven to roast, and you are done.  Quick, simple and yummy.  Mr. Native’s oldest son was in town, so I took this over the in-laws-to-be the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and it was so good that it was requested for Thanksgiving Day.  Another dish to add to the mini menu I have to bring, but luckily and easy one!

Roasted Squash (adapted from SugarLaws.com)

  • 4 zucchini squash
  • 4 yellow squash
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder

Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Layer evenly in a 9×13-inch baking dish in a circular pattern.  Drizzle the olive oil over the top.  Sprinkle the sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste.  You will need a little more than you realize.  Roast for 45 minutes, or until the edges begin to caramelize.

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 3:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I love craisins…cranberry raisins…the sweeter raisin.  In fact, I just love all the cranberry recipes this time of year.  But mix them with white chocolate in a cookie and you have me at hello.  All I have to say is this…2 dozen cookies lasted only 48 hours at my house of three adults.  Enough said.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies (from Ocean Spray)

  • 2/3 cup Butter or Margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1-1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) Craisins
  • 2/3 cup White Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, mixing well.

Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixing bowl.   Add to butter mixture in several batches, mixing well after each addition.

Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

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Published in: on November 11, 2009 at 1:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Red Velvet Cake

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When asked what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, Mr. Native immediately proclaimed “Red Velvet Cake!”.  Since I had never made Red Velvet Cake before, I had no recipe.  So, because I didn’t want to ruin the cake for his birthday, he got something else.  Which by the way, he loved.

Now, I have decided he deserves the cake, even if it isn’t as good as his aunt’s that he raves about.  Oh, and there was leftover buttermilk that had to be used, so this was the perfect time to make it.

Anyway, I’ve got to start somewhere…and it was Gold Shoes to the rescue!  She had a recipe that she swore rocked and that I had to try it.  So, here goes!  It was actually good, even though I thought it would have more of a chocolate flavor to it (don’t know why…that’s just what  thought).  And even though I was scared of the 4 cups of powdered sugar in the cream cheese icing, it turned out just fine and not too sweet.  I guess I won’t doubt Gold Shoes again!  She was where the Spicy Pretzel recipe came from…mmmm…Spicy Pretzels…mmm…

Red Velvet Cake (from Gold Shoes)

  • 2-1/2 cups Flour
  • 1-1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Red Food Coloring
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

FROSTING

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, red food coloring, vinegar and vanilla extract.  Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into this wet mixture.

Spray 3 round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and then dust each with flour.  Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans.

Place each pan in the oven, making sure there is room between each for the heat to circulate.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the edge of the pan.

Cool the cakes for 5 minutes on cooling racks, and then turn them over to release the cake onto the cooling rack to continue cooling completely.

For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter and vanilla.  Then slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing in completely before adding more.

Place one cake on a cake platter and frost the top with 1/4 of the icing.  Place the second cake on top of the icing, and then frost it with another 1/4 of the icing.  Place the third cake on top of the second cake.  Add 1/4 of the icing to the top, and then the rest of the icing around the side of the entire cake.

Store covered and in your refrigerator.

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Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Feta Pepper Dip

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A few months back, my sister-in-law-to-be whipped up a scrumptious meal of a beef roast cooked in the crock pot with pepperoncini and served as a sandwich on a bun.  It was the simplest but oh so yummiest recipe.  I do believe I still have to get the exact recipe on that one other than the obvious “put it all in the crock pot and turn it on” instructions.  But, it was the memory of the taste of the pepperoncini that drew me to this dip.  Oh, yeah and the fact that it has cream cheese…that is always a given.

The cream cheese may be the base, but it is the flavor of the feta (which was recently added to my new favorite cheeses thanks to the Mediterranean Dip recipe) that stands out over the cream cheese.  When I taste-tasted the dip immediately after I threw it together, I didn’t notice much of the pepperocini or green onion flavor, so I decided it needed to sit a while in the refrigerator to “meld”.  Good thing I had all afternoon before I had to take the dip to the college football watching party I was attending that evening.

Feta Pepper Dip (from NoblePig.com)

  • 8 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Pepperoncini, diced
  • 1/4 cup Green Onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Thick Barbecue Chips

Blend feta cheese, mayonnaise and the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.

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Fold in the pepperoncini, green onions, lemon zest and black pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish.

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Chill for at least an hour before serving, but several hours is best.

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Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Mint Filled Brownie Cupcakes

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The moment I saw these, I printed the recipe and put it in the pile of recipes I HAD to make…on top, of course.  I was just waiting for the perfect occasion.  Then the in-laws called on Sunday and invited us over for dinner.  Hooray!  Since I don’t like having excess sweets in the house tempting the natives (but yet WANT to cook them), a room full of people expecting a dessert makes the perfect occasion for cooking sweet things.

This brownie recipe is totally from scratch, with the exception of the yummy little morsel called York Peppermint Patty in the center.  Oh man I love those things.  I think that is actually what called my name to make these.  And we were not disappointed at all!

The only problem with these little brownie cupcakes is that for some reason, there is a gap that bakes between the peppermint patty and the top layer of brownie.  Instead of sinking, the tops of my browines cooked up nice and tall only to have that disappointing emptiness in the center.  I may have cooked mine just a hair too long as the tops were a little tough/crispy, but hey…a brownie is a brownie and these were too yummy to worry over whether or not it LOOKED perfect.  It sure tasted perfectly delicious!

Mint Filled Brownie Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 12 small York Peppermint Patties

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a regular muffin tin with paper liners.

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In a bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter, either in a heat proof bowl over simmering water on the stove, or in the micowave.  Melt until smooth, and remove from heat source.

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In another bowl, sift together the sugar and the salt.  Stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth.  Mix in the eggs.  Then mix in the flour and cocoa powder until mixture is again smooth.

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Spoon one tablespoon of the brownie batter into the bottom of each of the muffin cups.  Place a single peppermint patty on top and press gently into the batter.  Top the cups with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the remaining batter, covering the peppermint patty completely.

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Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted halfway into the top (so as not to hit the peppermint patty) comes out with only a few crumbs attached.  Set entire tin out on a wire rack and cool completely before serving.

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Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Nutter Butter Truffles

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After making the Oreo Truffles, I had a sparkling thought that “Wouldn’t these be good made from Nutter Butters?”  You know that we had to try it out.  They are like little Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

Enough said.

Nutter Butter Truffles

  • 20 ounces Nutter Butter Cookies (regular or wafer style)
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 24 ounces Milk Chocolate Chips

In a food processor, finely crush the cookies.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the crushed cooked and cream cheese.

Roll into small balls and place on waxed paper covered cookie sheet.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm.

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Cover each ball in melted milk chocolate.  Put back into refrigerator for at least 1 hour for chocolate to harden.

Store in the refrigerator.

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Published in: on July 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos

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I love jalapenos.  I especially like the cheese stuffed ones that are fried that you usually get as bar food.  I’m not crazy about the cream cheese ones; I want the full on cheddar ones.  However, I’m hyper aware of the frying of the yummy cheese stuffed jalapenos.  I happened across this recipe that bakes them instead, so I knew this recipe was going on my list.  It has a cross between the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, which I knew was a rockin’ combination from the pimento cheese I made several months back.  And I was not disappointed in this recipe.

For those of you who may be hesitant to try this recipe simply because of the jalapenos, do not be scared.  Boiling the jalapenos takes the heat out of them.  Everyone loves these, and they don’t last long!

Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos (can’t remember where I found it!)

  • 25 Whole Fresh Jalapenos
  • 3 cups Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1.5 teaspoons Worchestershire Sauce
  • Crumbled Bacon (about 4 slices worth) – optional

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes.  REMEMBER  to wear gloves!!

In a large saucepan, boil peppers in water for 5-10 minutes (the longer you boil the peppers, the milder they become).  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Set aside.

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In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce.  Spoon into into each jalapeno half, leveling off at the edge of the jalapeno.  If desired, sprinkle with bacon crumbs.  I’ve found that the fat from the bacon really adds an extra flavor.  I simply forgot them when I made this batch!

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Place on a greased or parchment covered baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Serve warm.

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Published in: on July 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm  Comments (1)  

Oreo Truffles

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I love me some oreos.  I know they aren’t good for me, but the double stuffed oreos are probably one of my favorite cookies.  And sometimes you can find the chocolate dipped oreos in the store…used to be only during the holidays.  I’ve never made a truffle before, but the oreos made these interesting enough to try them.  The dipping of the truffles (that weren’t quite as round as I wanted them to be) was not the cleanest task in the world.  And the truffle filling should probably have been frozen just a bit to harden them for handling while dipping into the chocolate.  The recipe I followed didn’t seem to mention that fact.  Oh well, I know for next time.

Oh yeah…the natives LOVED them and couldn’t keep their hands off these littel morsels of heaven…

Oreo Truffles (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

  • 18 ounce package of Oreos (I used double stuffed, lol)
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 pound Chocolate for dipping (white, semi-sweet or milk – I used 1/2 semi sweet and 1/2 white)

In a food processor, finely crush the oreo cookies.

In large mixing bowl, combine crushed cookies and cream cheese.  Beat with Mixer on low speed until well blended.

Form into 1-inch balls by hand.  Freeze for no more than 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

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Dip balls in melted chocolate and place on a wax paper covered baking sheet.  Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.  If doing two chocolates, refrigerate 1/2 dipped balls for 1 hour to harden before dipping other half.  Either way, truffles need to harden an hour before serving.

Store covered in refrigerator.  Makes 50 truffles.

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Published in: on July 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm  Comments (2)  

5-Layer Mediterranean Dip

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My sister-in-law-to-be brought this dip on Father’s Day.  She didn’t like it.  But then again, she doesn’t like Hummus.  Go figure.  Wonder why she made it in the first place?  That’s okay, because that meant I got to take the rest home!  It was so good!  It’s a nice simple appetizer/dip that is absolutely healthy for you.  Not to mention it’s a snap to make.  Except when I made it, I forgot the olives.  How could I forget the olives?  Oh, the agony…

5-Layer Mediterranean Dip (by Athenos.com)

  • 7 ounces Hummus
  • 1/4 cup Tomato, seeded and diced (approx 1 medium)
  • 1/4 cup Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (approx 1 small)
  • 4 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons Black Olives, sliced

Spread the hummus in the bottom of pie plate.  Sprinkle the cucumbers and tomatoes over the hummus.  Sprinkle the cheese over the vegetables.  Top with the sliced olives.  Serve!

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Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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