Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Serving Up {Pizza}: Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Pizza

It turns out that October is national pizza month.  Considering that, I thought that I ought to at least post one pizza recipe this month - especially considering how much our family loves pizza!  This recipe is the perfect October recipe because it's star ingredient is roasted pumpkin!  So should you have a cute little sugar pumpkin sitting on your counter as an autumn decoration, it is now time to put it to good use.

I was inspired to create this recipe after seeing this recipe for squash pizza and after having roasted an entire sugar pumpkin to serve as a side dish and being left with ample left overs.  Normally when I make roasted pumpkin I roast it with the sage, but in the case of this creation, I had roasted my pumpkin with rosemary, which was delicious in and of itself.  But since I knew that I love the flavor of sage and pumpkin together, I knew that when I put it on the pizza that I wanted to include sage.  So I browned some butter and cooked the sage that way.  In place of a pizza "sauce" I spread marscapone onto my pizza crust before topping it with the roasted pumpkin, browned sage leaves and mozzarella cheese.  The result was absolutely delicious!
Hope you agree.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

printable version

For the crust:
3/4 cup warm water
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. yeast
1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cup flour

In a mixing bowl, combine warm water, sugar, yeast and oil.  Allow yeast to activate for approximately 5 minutes.  Add flour and salt and combine - with bread hook or with a large heavy spoon.  Knead in the mixer or by hand for 5-10 minutes until a soft, workable dough has formed.
Place dough in warm area and allow to rise for an hour, or until double in size.
Remove dough onto a floured surface.  Work into a large 12-15 inch circle, place on pizza pan and set aside.

For the pumpkin:
1/3-1/2 small sugar pumpkin
2 shallots, chopped roughly
1 1/2 tsp. rosemary, slightly crushed
1-2 Tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the pumpkin, remove the seeds and peel the outer layer.  Cut pumpkin into 1-inch squares.
In a bowl, combine pumpkin, shallots, rosemary and olive oil.  Line a baking pan with foil and place pumpkin mixture on pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Place pan in the oven and cook until pumpkin is tender - approximately 30 minutes - removing pan and tossing pumpkin once during cooking process.

For the pizza:
1/4 -1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, cut into narrow strips
2 Tbs. butter
4 ounce marscapone, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
cooked pumpkin (see above)
pizza crust (see above)

In a small non-stick pan melt butter and allow to cook until it begins to brown.  Add the fresh sage leaves.  Cook until the leaves are wilted and brittle.  Remove from heat and set aside.
To prepare pizza, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If using a pizza stone, preheat stone in oven.
Using your prepared pizza dough, spread marscapone over the entire crust.  Sprinkle cooked pumpkin and then cooked sage.  Top with shredded mozzarella.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until crust is cooked through and cheese is melted.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Serving Up {Cake}: Pumpkin Cake Bars

We are in the midst of pumpkin season and I am taking full advantage!  We have been enjoying a lot of pumpkin at our house as of late - in both savory meals as well as sweet treats - and yet I don't find myself tiring of it at all.  I just really love the flavor of pumpkin...especially when paired with spices and a cream cheese frosting...which brings me to this recipe.

This recipe is the perfect pumpkin cake recipe that holds nothing back when it comes to my favorite fall spices - please note the full teaspoon of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  YUM!  In the end you end up with a delicious baked treat and a house that smells good enough for the kids to sniff the air as they come in from school and ask what you've been baking.  Just be careful to hide the evidence that you have already eaten three pieces before they even arrived home.  Sit down and enjoy a piece with the kids and pretend it's your first.  I mean, what they don't know won't hurt them.

And speaking of pumpkin, here is a list of some of my favorite pumpkin recipes that I have posted in the past.  There are some real goodies in there.  Enjoy!

                          Pumpkin Knot Rolls       

(recipe from Louanne S.)
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil 
4 eggs
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 15x10 jelly roll pan.  In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin and mix.  Add dry ingredients and blend on low until all ingredients are moist.  Then beat the batter on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

1/3 cup butter
3-ounce cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine butter and cream cheese and blend until well combined.  Add powdered sugar and milk and vanilla and blend until desired consistency, adding additional milk if needed.
Frost cooled bars and then cut into bars.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Serving Up {Fish}: Almond-Topped Fish

I am staring at this computer screen, and the photo of this delicious fish, and drawing a complete blank as to what I want to type.

The recipe is easy and delicious.  Is that saying enough?  It may have to be.

I have a list a mile long of what I need to accomplish this week and yet both of my day's off are filled so I am not sure when I will accomplish anything on my list.  The result is that I am anxious to jump up from my desk and get out the door.  Will you hold it against me?  I hope not.

If you like fish, try this recipe.  In fact, it is a perfect recipe for a busy week like mine because it comes together so quickly.  I love that about fish - it seems like a fancy meal and yet, in truth, it is one of the easiest things to pull together on a busy night.  I think I know what we will have for dinner tonight :)

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Curry Soup

(recipe from allrecipes.com)
printable version

1 Tbs. butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 6-ounce fillets cod or haddock
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs. parsley
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. sliced almonds, toasted

Place butter in a 13.9 baking dish and place in a 400 degree oven until melted.  Remove pan and tilt to spread butter evenly over the bottom of the dish.  Arrange onion slices in the bottom of the pan.  Place fish on top of sliced onion.  Sprinkle fish with seasoned salt, dill and pepper.

Combine mayo, Parmesan cheese, parsley and lemon juice and spread over fish.  Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Sprinkle with almonds prior to serving.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Serving Up {Cake}: Apple Cake with Butter Sauce

I mentioned last week that I had purchased 120 pounds of apples from a local farmer...and boy oh boy are we enjoying our apples!

Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy all kinds of baked apple goodies and this cake is one of my favorite!  It comes from my aunt and my mom used to make it when I was growing up and I continue to enjoy it all these years later.  The cake itself is packed with shredded apples and yummy spices, but then as you serve the cake you top it with a butter sauce that is to die for!  I will admit that I kind of like to drench my cake in sauce, so feel free to follow suit.  I won't judge.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Bread

(recipe from aunt June)
printable version

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
4 cups shredded apples
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
dash salt
1 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 13x9 pan by greasing and flouring it.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add apples and continue to blend.  Gradually add dry ingredients.  Smooth batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean.
Serve cake warm with warmed butter sauce.

Butter Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, butter and milk in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a soft boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Serve warmed over warm apple cake.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Serving Up {Muffins}: Bran Flax Muffins

In the world of recipe searches, I am sure "bran flax muffins" ranks nowhere near all the sugar laden treats that are posted every 2.5 seconds.  But maybe after all those sugar laden treats you should consider indulging in these as a truly delicious, guilt-free breakfast option.  They are packed with flax seed and oat bran and apples and carrots and are crazy moist (even better the next day) without an ounce of oil in the mix.

May I suggest whipping up a batch and throwing them in your freezer for those hectic mornings when a ready-made option would save the day.  That is what I do when I make these muffins and just yesterday they surfaced as breakfast for half the gang, they surfaced for my lunch and at least two kids ate them as an after school snack.  Okay, so they may never make your freezer, but you have got to feel good about what is being eaten!

One Year Ago: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

(recipe from Bob's Red Mill)
printable version

1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
2 apples, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup raisins or craisins (optional)
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together flour, flaxseed meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins and nuts (if desired). Combine milk, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
This recipe makes approx. 15 medium-sized muffins

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Serving Up {Dessert}: Caramel Apple Crisp

Apples are on!!!  I currently have 120 pounds of apples in my entry way...40 pounds each of red delicious, Jonathans and primes.  Thanks to access to a local farmer, I picked up my delicious jems for less than 50 cents a pound.  We are huge apple eaters around here so we are kind of loving it!

Most of our apples are eaten straight but we do have a few favorite apple recipes that we enjoy when the apples are plentiful.  This particular recipe is at the top of the list.  Apple crisp is a favorite regardless, but add a jar of caramel sauce and an old favorite is taken to an all new level!  Served warm or cold, with or without ice cream, it's a winner!

8 granny smith apples, peeled/cored/sliced
2 tbs. lemon juice
⅔ cup sugar
⅓ cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
¾ tsp. salt
1 12-ounce jar caramel ice cream topping

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 cup butter, melted

Prepare by buttering a 13x9 glass baking dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place apples and lemon juice in a large bowl and stir until the apples are coated with the lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and stir until combined. Pour dry ingredients over the apples and stir until the apples are well coated. Spread the apples evenly in the prepared baking dish.
Pour caramel sauce over the top of the apples.
In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, nuts and melted butter and stir until it forms course crumbs. Spread the topping over the caramel layer.
Place in oven and cook 40-50 minutes, until the topping is browned and the apples are tender.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Serving Up {Chicken}: Sesame Chicken

My oven has been officially declared "not broken" by the repair guy but after having two meals go down the drain, I don't know that I am convinced.  I have used it with success over the weekend but am still opting for oven-free meals until I am sure.

So today you get another recipe that only uses the stove top - which comes in helpful if your oven is broken but can also be refreshing during the summer when you don't want to heat up your kitchen by turning on the oven.  This dish is surprisingly simple and uses ingredients that I generally have on hand - I love feeling gourmet without having to purchase "special" ingredients.  The real selling point is that my kids all give this recipe a double thumbs up!  Hope you do too.

One Year Ago: Halloween Bark

(recipe from Your Homebased Mom)
printable version

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs, thinly sliced or cubed
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp. chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. sliced green onion, optional
Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. oil.  Add the chicken and stir fry for 3-4 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Stir together sugar, vinegar, broth, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens and becomes sticky - this could take 10-15 minutes so be patient, but watch the sauce as it can burn easily. Add the chicken to the sauce and mix well.

Serve over rice. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Serving Up {Cookies}: No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

I mentioned that my oven has been out of commission recently.  Which means my craving for a treat just kept growing and growing until it was monstrous in size.  I didn't have the patience to make something that required refrigeration (pudding) or required freezing (ice cream) so I had to come up with something I could make without an oven that would still be able to tackle my craving.

I pulled out this recipe, which is actually a favorite of my kids to make because it is so easy, and within 10 minutes I was dropping little balls of chocolate goodness onto wax paper to cool.  Shortly afterwards my husband arrived home and saw the treats on the counter and said, "you read my mine!  I've been needing a treat!".  I guess the broken oven was having the same effect on him :)  I thought that he was just in need of a treat but he informed me later that he LOVES these little chocolate balls.   Whether it's for the simplicity or for the taste - these really do hit the spot!

One Year Ago: Thai Coconut Ginger Broth

printable version

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
4 T. cocoa
2-1/2 cups oats
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and add the oats, vanilla, and peanut butter. Mix until well blended. Spoon onto waxed paper and allow to cool.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Serving Up {Tacos}: Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Crumbled Feta

I don't consider myself a "food blogger".  This is a hobby and it's quite a few rungs down on my priority list should push ever come to shove.  But with that said, if there were any question I think this past week would prove that I will never be anything more than a want-to-be....I ran out of sugar (completely) and my oven broke.  What kind of food blogger let's that happen?  Obviously me - the not-a-food-blogger :)

The sugar issue was resolved by my hubby making a grocery store run for me.  Unfortunately the oven issue was not as easily repaired.  Without a working oven, I found myself tweaking the menu plans I had lined up with some recipes that could be prepared completely on the stove top.  Today's recipe was one of those stove top recipes and it came together SO quickly.  Truthfully less than 20 minutes start to finish!  So give this recipe bonus points for being quick, for not using the oven and for being completely vegetarian - a great recipe to have on hand!

One Year Ago: Pear Pecan Muffins

(recipe from "Spilling the Beans" Cookbook)
printable version

1 19-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup salsa
1 green onion, chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt to taste
2 cups coleslaw mix or finely chopped cabbage
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbs. mayo
1 Tbs. lime juice
8 small corn or flour tortillas
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl, roughly mash the black beans with the salsa, green onion, chili powder, cumin and salt.
In another bowl, toss the coleslaw with the cilantro, mayo and lime juice.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a heavy skillet set over medium heat.  Divide the bean mixture among the tortillas and then told the tortillas in half; add 2 to the pan at a time and cook until golden brown on each side, adding more oil and flipping as needed.

Remove from pan, add coleslaw mix, feta cheese and additional fresh cilantro if desired.