Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries


Thanksgiving is next week!  Have you planned your menu yet?  I have several lists already. I have to make a To Do list everyday, otherwise I forget forget half of the things that I wanted,or needed to do. Lists are the only thing that I'm anal about, and well maybe putting the ornaments on my Christmas tree, too.  Other than those, I'm not a perfectionist, far from it.  Sometimes I think I should be more of perfectionist in some areas. but change is not easy.  I did have these Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries on my To do list though.


About these Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries, I made them to take to a friend's birthday celebration. The  bars are not your traditional Pumpkin Bars, loaded with fat and calories.  These bars have Greek yogurt and pumpkin adjust the puree, which add a lot of flavor and moistness, and not a lot of calories. I like milder pumpkin spices, so I didn't go crazy with the spices.  You can adjust  them to your preferences.  I have made these before, but decided to add the white chocolate chips in addition to the dried cranberries to make them more festive.  I skipped the cream cheese frosting and opted for a lighter Vanilla Drizzle. I couldn't stop nibbling on these cuties.  I didn't miss the extra fat and calories at all.


Add a batch of these bars to your To Do list  for another pumpkin dessert for your Thanksgiving dessert table.  Your family and friends will love them, and Shhhh!  don't tell them that they are lighter.

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries
 Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients :
½ cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1  cups canned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup low fat or non fat vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans( I didn’t add)
1 cup. dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions :
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using butter or nonstick cooking spray, grease a 15x10x1 baking pan, or a 9x13 baking pan (note: you will add approximately 5 to 10 minutes to your baking time using a 9x13 pan). I used a 15x10x1 pan.
3. Using an upright mixer or a hand mixer beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, beating until the mixture becomes fluffy, approximately 1 minute.
4. Add the eggs, pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla,cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger beating until combined, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Slowly add the  flour, beating until combined.
6. Using a spatula, fold in white chocolate and dried cranberries
7. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased baking pan and back for about 25 minutes (for the 15x10x1 pan), or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on rack. Drizzle vanilla glaze, when cool.

Vanilla Drizzle

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, room temp
2-3 tbsp mllk  I used Almond Milk

Combine powdered sugar and butter.  Beat until combined.  Add in milk, more or less, until desired consistency.  Drizzle over cooled bars..

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #145
--


Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin Brownies


There are so many pumpkin recipes that I want to make, and so little time.  Turkey Day is fast approaching, and I have many cans of pumpkin in the pantry calling my name.  Do I want to make Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin cookies, Pumpkin bars, Pumpkin brownies, or Pumpkin Nutella muffins?  I  decided to make these Pumpkin Brownies   because we were having company over the weekend.  I had made these brownies several years ago, and sort of forgotten about them. Time to update the pictures and make these amazing brownies again, but I will be making those Pumpkin Nutella  muffins this coming  week.


The Pumpkin Brownies  have a rich,  moist chocolate brownie base swirled with  pumpkin and warm pumpkin spices. I cut back little bit on the nutmeg, and cloves, because I didn't want the spices to overpower the chocolate. I still added the cinnamon, which is the warm, homey, spice to me. These brownies are over the top amazing, especially with Vanilla Ice Cream, pure comfort food. I  added melted chocolate chips on top for are another layer of flavor.  They are addicting, even better warm. I couldn't stop eating them. One bite is chocolate, the next bite is pumpkin, and the next bite is a combination of the chocolate and pumpkin, so good. If you are looking for another dessert for your Thankgiving dessert table, definitely add these pumpkin brownies. Enjoy!


Pumpkin Brownies Adapted from Anecdotes and Apples
3/4 cup of flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks of butter (melted)
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup walnuts (chopped) (I didn't use)
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves  (I used 1/4 tsp.)
½ teaspoon nutmeg (used 1/4 tsp.)


Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl mix together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs (one at a time). Add in the flour mixture, a little at a time and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Divide the batter in half evenly into 2 separate bowls.
3. In one of the bowls blend in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter stir in pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
4. Spread ½ of the chocolate batter mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour ½ of the pumpkin batter mixture over that. Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer. Drag a kitchen knife or spatula through the layers in a swirling motion creating a marble appearance.  
5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares


I linked up my recipe to Brandie's I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #144
--

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki


I can't believe that it's November already.  Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here with Christmas not far behind.  Your calendar is filling up quickly with many Holiday events.  Your slow cooker will now be your friend.  You can get all of the ingredients in the slow cooker the night before,  refrigerate, and plug it in, first thing in the morning, and dinner will be ready when you come home. The Slow Cooker will free up you time to go shopping, wrap packages, or go to school events, and many more.


I made this Chicken Teriyaki in the slow cooker, cooked some frozen stir fry vegetables and rice, and Voila, dinner was ready.  I will be making this dish again soon. Tender chunks of chicken covered in a slightly sweet, and tangy sauce, on top of cooked rice with and stir stir fry veggies. The recipe called for low sodium soy sauce, but I used half low sodium soy sauce and half low sodium Teriyaki sauce.  Low sodium Teriyaki sauce has only 320 mg of sodium  and 3 g  of sugar compared to  over 500 mg of sodium in low sodium soy sauce, saving at least 180 mg of sodium.  If you are on  a low sodium diet, that's a lot.  Because the Teriyaki sauce has 3 gr of sugar, I only used 1/4 cup sugar in the sauce, and it was wonderful. So, dust off your slow cooker, and make this wonderful dish. Enjoy!


Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup granulated sugar ( I used 1/4 c sugar)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce and 1/4 c low sodium Teriyaki sauce)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
4 cups hot cooked white or brown rice
Sesame seeds and chopped scallions, optional( I didn't use)
Directions:
In your slow cooker, stir together sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper. Place chicken in slow cooker and coat well in soy mixture. Cook on low for 3-4 hours*, turning chicken occasionally.
Once cooked, carefully remove chicken from slow cooker, chop into bite-sized chunks; set aside.
Pour liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and water until combined. Slowly add cornstarch mixture to boiling liquid and reduce to a simmer. Allow sauce to thicken for 2-3 minutes then add chicken to the saucepan. Coat chicken with sauce and let heat through.
Serve over cooked rice. Garnish with scallions and/or sesame seeds, if desired. and stir fry vegetables.
Enjoy!
****I used 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken, which was fully cooked in 3 hours.
Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #143

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Muffins Vanilla Glaze

P

Sometimes you feel like a doughnut, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you want a muffin, but one that is little bit healthier.  This doughnut muffin is the best of both worlds and a little healthier than a fried doughnut.  It has has the same  dense, moist, texture of the cakey doughnuts, that I like so much.  Everytime I drive past Country Doughnuts, especially in the Fall, and see the sign for Pumpkin Spice doughnuts.  It's all I can do to keep my car from turning in to get one of the warm, fried Pumpkin Doughnuts. My hips are thanking me,  because the doughnut muffin is baked, not fried, and has Greek yogurt and coconut oil in the batter. The Vanilla Glaze has Almond milk in it.

.
Your house will smell so good, as these Pumpkin Spice doughnuts are baking with all of the sweet spices and pumpkin flavor. These muffins bake up big and tall, with craggy tops, just begging for the sweet, Vanilla Glaze.  I ate one warm  out of the oven, dipped it in the glaze,  and it was so good, with the gooey glazr dripping down the side of the doughnut muffin.   Of course you can eat the dughnut muffins cold, but I like mine warm.


Do your self and your family a favor next time they want doughnuts.  Bake up a batch of these Pumpkin Spice Doughnut muffins, and you'll be eating them before you could go through the drive-thu.  Also, you will save time, gas, calories. and money!  Enjoy!
In
    Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Muffins 
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, (I used Coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
FOR THE GLAZE
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt. Set aside

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in oil and vanilla until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.

Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Place into oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. 

To make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk as needed.

When the muffins are done, cool for 10 minutes and dip the muffin crown into the glaze.

Allow glaze to set before serving.

Adapted from Dam Delicious

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #141

Friday, October 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Five Bean Casserole


We are going tailgating this weekend. It is Homecoming at my Alma Mater, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL, Go Huskies!  We haven't been tailgating in a few years.  My college friend is coming from Pennsylvania, and I'm excited.



There is something about tailgating in the Fall, in the crisp air with changing leaves, and lots of yummy food, and football.  It is so invigorating, and the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Our menu is pretty simple,  starting with Scott's Chili, using the 5 Bean Casserole.  We made the Slow Cooker 5 bean Casserole for Scott's 75th Birthday party, and froze the leftovers.  We had doubled the recipe, and lots of lefovers. The casserole is always a hit.  We are also having leftovers from the Crock Pot BBQ Beer Chicken, from Scott's Party, as well, Hummus, and Pita Chips, Chips and Salsa, Brownies, Peanut Butter Oatmeal MM Cookies, and Hot cider.  I can't wait!!


Slow Cooker dishes work well for tailgating, or when you are cooking for a crowd, because they not only can hold a large recipe, but they can keep the dish warm for a long time, even if not plugged in. This Five Bean Casserole turns out so well made in a slow cooker, and could go tailgating as well. Even the leftovers can be added to Scott's Chili recipe, and make it even better.  Happy Tailgating! Go Huskies!


Slow Cooker Five Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

·         1 medium onion, chopped
·         1 green pepper, chopped
·         2 Tbsp olive oil
·         2C. BBQ sauce used Sweet Baby Ray’s
·         1/2 bottle  beer
·         1 (15 ounce) can butter beans drained and rinsed
·         1 (15 ounce) can black drained and rinsed
·         1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
·         1 (15 ounce) can pinto, drained and rinsed
·         1 (28 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

1.      Saute onion and green pepper in olive oil until soft.

2.      In a slow cooker combine the onion-green pepper mix and all of the beans.  Stir in beer and BBQ sauce, until well combined.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or 4-6 on high.

Cooks Tip: Because we are on a low sodium, low fat diet, I try to buy the low sodium, vegetarian beans, whenever possible.  To lower the sodium of this dish, I drain and rinse all of the beans. 

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #139




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf with Mushrooms


Last week had to be the week from Hell for me.  What a week!  Had to get a new compressor tank for our pump for our well, something  went wrong with our phone lines, and my 3 yr old HP 5510 Photosmart printer, out, of warranty, is not printing black GRRR!.  When things go wrong, life suddenly becomes very stressful. The older I get, the harder time I have dealing with stress.  When I am stressed, I want comfort food!



 Besides oatmeal, meatloaf is my favorite comfort food.  Since it is Fall my favorite squash is Acorn Squash, and nothing pairs better with meatloaf than Acorn squash.  Don't give me any of those mashed potatoes with my meatloaf, give me Acorn Squash,  sweet, luscious, golden squash. I'm in heaven now!  I switched things up a bit this time with the meatloaf.   I added a couple of tablespoons of BBQ sauce to give the meatloaf a little zip. Then I  stuffed the meatloaf with sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms, and grated cheddar cheese.  And I topped the meatloaf with more grated cheese the last few minutes of baking, Cheesy Meatloaf heaven.  



I usually bake chopped apples with Acorn Squah, but I forgot theis time.  I love the cinnamon apples with the squash.  I will definitly be adding the apples to my next Acorn Squash. By the way the drama of last week has eased, and things are somewhat "normal" again.  We got our compression tank replaced the same day, and the short in our phone wire has been fixed.  The only thing that still isn't working is my printer.  I can print in color, just not black.   "My glass is now half full." Enjoy!


Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of ground turkey, I used 93/7
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  •  6 oz low sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of your favorite BBQ Sauce, I used Sweet Baby Ray’s
  • 1/2-1 cup oatmeal, uncooked  I used rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup grated cheese, divided in half (I used 2% milk cheese)
  • 1Tbsp, fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp, dried
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped or 1 tsp dried


Directions:
1. Combine ground turkey and egg in large bowl, and 1 tbsp of basil and oregano, and  mix until well combined. 
2. Add 6 oz tomato sauce amd BBQ sauce until well mixed
3. Stir in oatmeal until desired consistency.
4. Pat half of meatloaf mixture into a 9 x 5 baking pan**, sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Add the layer chopped mushrooms to meatloaf in pan.
6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated cheese over the mushrooms
7. Pat remaining meatloaf mix over the mushrooms and cheese
8. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour-1 hr 15 min, 165 degrees on the meat thermometer or until juices are clear. Sprnkle remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese over top of meatloaf, and bake 2 ninutes longer, until cheese is melted.

9. Cool on rack for 10 min, before serving, Enjoy!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #139




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Spice Cake


Fall is finally getting here.  I still have a lot more apples, and that means more apple recipes, Yay! I love apples in baking, oatmeal, salads, main dishes, and desserts, and more.  When I saw Carla Hall's Slow Cooker Apple Spice Cake on "The Chew", I knew that I would be making it soon. The cake is made from scratch.  You could also use a boxed spice cake mix to make this dessert even easier. I had never made cake in a slow cooker. let alone a spice cake. The cake is a cross between bread pudding and pudding cake, very moist and rich with all of the spice flavors, topped with cinnamony apples, which mix into appley cake.  Your kitchen will smell so good. Just scoop it out  when done, put it in a bowl, and enjoy!  I do have several things to watch on making the slow cooker cake, however.


The first one is to thoroughly grease with butter and dust the inside of the slow cooker with flour.  Be sure to shake out the excess flour. Do not skip this step. Also, I didn't have any molasses, so I used half honey and half maple syrup.  The spices in the cake are strong, so you can adjust the spices and strength to your family preferences.  I used part Gala and Zestar apples, for the topping, which cooks on top of the cake batter, making for an easy all in one cake, no mixer needed.


After preparing the slow cooker with butter and flour, you make the apple topping and set aside.  then you mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Next, the the dry ingredients are whisked in a separate bowl. Combine the  dry ingredients into the wet, and mix well, with a smooth batter.  Pour batter into prepared slow cooker, and top with apple topping. Cover cooker and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, or until middle of cake is set. Be sure to watch the cake, and don't let the edges get too brown.  Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!  

SLOW COOKER APPLE SPICE CAKE  Adapted from Carla Hall

  Cake                  
Butter (for greasing)
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Molasses ( I used part  Maple syrup, part honey)
1 cup Vegetable Oil
2 large Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups AP Flour (plus extra)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Allspice
1 Lemon (zest)
1 Pinch Salt

Apple Topping
3 Granny Smith Apples (peeled, diced)  I used part Gala, and part Zestar )
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons AP Flour
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Lemon (juice)
2 tablespoons Butter (cut into cubes)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream (chilled) optional

 Prepare inside of slow cooker by greasing with Butter and dusting with Flour. Shake out   excess Flour.

Prepare the Apple Topping in a large bowl. Combine Apples, Brown Sugar, Flour, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Lemon Juice. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together Sugar, Oil, Molasses, Eggs, and Vanilla until well combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, Lemon Zest and Salt until well combined and there are no lumps. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined and a smooth batter has formed. Pour directly into prepared slow cooker. Pour prepared Apple Topping on top of the cake batter. Top with cubes of Butter.

Cover and and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, until the middle has set. (When a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, it is done.)

Serve warm and drizzle with a little cold cream over the top. Or, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #138  
 
    
 

Print friendly