Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Time for Pumpkin Cake

Some foods are just seasonal and for me, pumpkin cake is one of those foods. I love it, but don't ever think of fixing it except in autumn. I made one last night, let it cool overnight and frosted it this morning with a cream cheese frosting. I had to sample it of course (just to make sure everything was right - LOL). It was just as good as it was last time I made it (last fall!) Elizabeth is on fall break this week and stopped by for a visit this afternoon and I sent some home for her and Jordan to share. This recipe was given to me years ago by my good friend Linda Nelson in Longview and it is still the one I rely on for a pumpkin cake that turns out right every time. Linda makes it in a 15 x 10 inch sheet cake pan and calls it "Pumpkin Bars". I just bake mine 15 minutes longer and use a smaller pan. Either way, it is delicious.

Pumpkin Cake

2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Cooking Oil
2 C. Canned Pumpkin
4 Beaten Eggs
2 C. Bisquick
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 C. Raisins

Beat together the sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs for one minute. Add Bisquick and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in raisins. Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake about 40 minutes at 350 F. Frost when cool with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 Oz. Cream Cheese
2 C. Powdered Sugar
1/3 C. Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 or 2 Tbl. Milk

Mix cream cheese, vanilla, butter and sugar together until smooth, adding as much milk as necessary to make it smooth. Beat for 2 or 3 minutes until fluffy. Frost cake when cake has cooled completely.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn is Soup Time!

Something about the cool crisp autumn air makes me want to make a big pot of soup (or chili or stew)! I made a pot of Tuscan Soup for lunch today and it was SO good I thought I should share this recipe. This is really a combination of several recipes that I have found over the years and I just combined the best of them and added a touch or two of my own and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. This is a really fast soup, not one of those that must simmer all day to be tasty. Thirty minutes or less and it's done! Makes 8 servings. (I halved this recipe for the two of us and it worked great.)

Tuscan Soup

1 Lb. Hot Sausage (Breakfast Type)*
1/2 Tsp. Fennel Seed*
2 Large Potatoes, Sliced in 1/2 Inch Slices Then Diced
1 Large Onion Diced
1/2 Cup Real Bacon Bits (Like Hormel Bacon Bits) or Fry Your Own to Make 1/2 Cup
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced (I use Roasted Garlic Cloves from the Deli if I Have Them)
1 Cup Canned Kale Greens, Chopped
1 Quart Chicken Broth Approximately (or Two Cans)
1 Quart Water
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Cook sausage in same pot you will use for soup. Drain off grease, leaving sausuage in pan. Add onions, potatoes, garlic, fennel seed, chicken broth and water. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add bacon bits and kale. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn heat to low and add cream. Heat through and serve, being careful not to boil as cream will curdle.

*If you prefer, Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage can be used, eliminating the fennel seed. If using Sweet Italian Sausage, add 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Key Lime and Cream Cheese Danish

Well, anyone that knows me knows that I can't pass up a bargain and boy did I get a bargain just recently. Lime juice and frozen puff pastry were there for the taking and I took. Now, what was I going to do with it? It got my creative culinary juices flowing and I looked back at some of my old recipe files and started coming up with some ideas. I did some experimenting yesterday (and enjoyed the fruits of my labor) and came up with a fine dessert that I am going to serve at my next gathering of friends and/or family. Enjoy!

P.S. I think this would be a terrific Cinco de Mayo dessert, with the Red, White and Green Colors, but I'm not going to wait until May to serve it again.

Key Lime and Cream Cheese Danish
8 Servings

1 Box of Frozen Puff Pastry - Thawed
1 8 oz. Box of Cream Cheese Softened to Room Temperature
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Eagle Brand Type)
4 Drops Yellow Food Color
1 Drop Green Food Color
1/2 Cup Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream - Unwhipped
1 Cup Cool Whip (or Sweetened Whipped Cream)
8 Nice Big Strawberries or Raspberries, for Garnish

Unfold the two sheets of puff pastry and cut each sheet into 12 equal portions. Place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, allowing room for the pastries to expand. I had to bake mine in several batches. Bake about 10 minutes at 430 F. (or longer if necessary) until golden brown and puffed. Remove from sheets when cool and set aside. While pastry is baking, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from bowl and set aside. In the same bowl (do not wash bowl) place the condensed milk and the food coloring. Mix until uniform color. Stir in the lime juice and whipping cream. Stir until smooth. Mixture with thicken upon standing. Remove from mixing bowl and set aside. (Refrigerate the cream cheese mixture and the lime mixture at this point if not assembling the dessert for serving.)

To serve:

On a dessert plate, place one pastry. Place a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on the pastry. Spread across top. Place a tablespoon of the lime mixture over the cream cheese and spread. Place another pastry over the lime mixture and repeat the cream cheese and lime layers. Place a pastry on top and place a dollop of sweetened whipping cream (or Cool Whip) on top. Top with a fan sliced whole strawberry. Serve.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated until serving but the pasty won't be as flaky. This can also be made into one large pastry and cut into serving portions, but the larger pastry sheets are more difficult to handle. The two large pastry sheets would need to be divided. Remove 1/3 of each of the two sheets and place the removed pieces side by side, pressing together before baking. This would give you three equal larger sheets of pastry to work with. Assemble as above and serve or refrigerate until serving.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mexican Corn Dip

I haven't blogged in quite a while, what can I say? I've been too busy (or lazy) I guess but I did try a new recipe last week that begs to be shared. We had a little 'get together' with friends last week up at the lake and I brought this dip and it was a massive hit with the group. I take no credit for it, I just followed the directions and it turned out right. The credit should actually go to Trisha Yearwood for the recipe as I found it on her website (along with several others that I have yet to try, but plan on trying). Wow, was it good! The recipe states to serve with corn chips, so I bought Fritos. Next time, I will buy Frito 'Scoops' as this is a very substantial dip and needs more that just a regular Frito to do it justice. Maybe those Tostito Scoops would work too, but being a Fritophile, I will probably just stick with the Fritos.

Mexican Corn Dip

2 11-Ounce Cans Mexican Corn, Drained
2 4½-Ounce Cans Chopped Green Chiles, Drained
2 Cups Grated Monterey Jack Cheese (8 Ounces)
¾ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Mayonnaise (The Real Stuff - Not Light or Fat Free)
Corn Chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 × 13 × 2-inch casserole dish. In a medium bowl, mix the corn, chiles, cheeses, and mayonnaise until fully combined. Spread the mixture in the prepared casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges. Serve the dip warm from the oven with corn chips.