November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving: Dessert - Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

After our wonderful Thanksgiving feast, we finished it off with brownies, Nutella pound cake and Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie!  Can you imagine a more perfect way to conclude the feast we had?

I made the pie, and it was a great opportunity for me to use my cute leaf pie stamps!  I am still "pie challenged" when it comes to crimping crust and these little tools make my pies look so much prettier! 


From Family, Friends and Food
This pie is a little bit more work than other traditional pies, but it is so very worth it!  Once you've got the pie crust baked and cooled, you can start working on the other components.  Next is the "black bottom" which consists of a mixture of cornstarch, sugar, cocoa and salt.  This is all whisked together on the stovetop while milk is slowly added.  It gets slightly thickened, then you pour it into the crust you've already baked.

From Family, Friends and Food
Next, you make the custard and this part takes a little patience.  You must stir constantly with a whisk to ensure that the ingredients are fully combined as they come to a boil.  Then, you keep whisking while you wait for it to thicken up - this part shouldn't take very long. 

After the custard mixture is combined with the cream cheese, you put slices of a banana on top of the chocolate.  The custard is then poured on top of the bananas.  The pie is then put into the fridge for at least 4 hours before adding the cool whip and chocolate shavings. 


From Family, Friends and Food
This pie is ALWAYS a hit, and is actually from Cooking Light!  It's not too hard on the calorie count, and it tastes like a decadent treat.  I've had this recipe for quite awhile... it was first published back in November of 1998.  You can find the recipe HERE on Cooking Light's website. 


From Family, Friends and Food
Don't forget that the next Great Big Pie Bake-Off Round-up is coming soon... the theme is Holiday Celebration Pies and the posting date is December 14th!  Be sure to head over to the Great Big Pie Bake-Off blog for all the details on how to submit your entry!

Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.
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November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving: The Turkey & the Side Dishes

As you can see, our Thanksgiving meal was a huge feast:
From Family, Friends and Food
Which began with the rather large turkey that I bought.  My Husband did an amazing job carving it - don't you think?
From Family, Friends and Food

I also revisited the Spinach and Turkey Puffs that I made not too long ago (recipe HERE).  You might notice that they look a little different than they did the first time I made them.  I found that cutting the puff pastry dough into 4 pieces and then folding the dough over the filling in a triangle shape they work out much better.  The amount of dough is not overwhelming and it puffs up much better this way.  I used a fork to seal the edges and make them look "finished" before popping them into the oven.
From Family, Friends and Food
I also made the Sweet Potato Casserole (post HERE) again, which was a big hit - especially with My Boys and My Husband.  It's always nice to be able to make something you know will be loved when you make it again.

Another favorite dish was the stuffing My Mom-in-Law makes and it was moist and delicious.  It's even better when you reheat it for leftovers.  I was able to get the "method" from my Mom-in-Law and will share the recipe with you today.  If you don't have a favorite stuffing, give this one a try! 


Stuffing
Source:  Mom K.

Ingredients
1 3/4 loaves of white bread (crust removed and oven dried, but not toasted) - large or family size loaves
4-5 large Costco or Sam's Corn Muffins (dried out, just make sure they are not "fresh" moist)
1 1/2 large green bell pepper - finely chopped
7 stalks of celery - finely chopped
1 large onion - finely chopped
3 tablespoons margarine (approximately)
4 eggs
about 16 ounces of chicken broth
salt
Bell's Seasoning
margarine - cut into slices

Directions
Cut bread and muffins into chunks and place into a large bowl.

Melt butter in a large skillet and add green bell pepper, celery and onion.  Saute until softened, but not browned.

Beat eggs in a bowl, then add the chicken broth.  Add the veggies to the bread, then pour the eggs & broth over that mixture.  Mix well and sprinkle generously with salt, then add the Bell's Seasoning - mix it in as you sprinkle it into the mixture.  Most of the box will be used.  Add more broth to ensure the mixture is moist.

Spray a baking pan (9x13 inch baking pan works well) with cooking spray, then add the mixture.  Place slices of margarine over the top of it. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Right before baking, add a bit more broth to the stuffing. 

If you have a turkey roasting, you can use a baster to add from the broth to the stuffing.  Also, if keeping warm it will be necessary to add more broth to keep it moist.

Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.
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November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving: Mom's Hot Rolls

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a holiday that My Parents hosted every year.  It was always a large feast of wonderful food that everyone contributed to each year.  We had family who drove from various parts of Missouri just to spend the day with us, which always made it a bit more special since we had everyone together.  One thing that most of us really couldn't wait to dig into was My Mom's Hot Rolls!

I haven't been able to be home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family in more years than I care to think about, so this year when we decided to host it for our family in New Jersey I knew I wanted to incorporate the Hot Rolls my mom always makes.  My Mom can't remember where she first found the recipe, but she's been making them for as long as any of us can remember.  It's a rather simple recipe and for the "yeast challenged" this might be a good recipe to begin working with to get comfortable with it.  No kneading is required, just mix it together in your stand mixer. 
 
I did have to call My Mom to verify some of the recipe as the original recipe has the ingredients and the instructions for combining them, but it was missing rolling out the dough and whether the baking dish should be buttered.  I've updated the recipe (shown below) so that it has all the necessary information to make these fabulous rolls.
From Family, Friends and Food

The dough will rise for about 1 hour before rolling it out, then you can cut them with a round biscuit cutter and allow to rise until you are ready to bake.  Takes about 1 hour for them to double in size.  So, keep that in mind when rolling out the dough to an appropriate thickness. 
From Family, Friends and Food
Since this is a Family Recipe, I'm also sharing it with Shelby at The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch for the November 30th round-up!  If you have a treasured family recipe, you should think about sharing it as well!


Hot Rolls (a.k.a. Ice Box Rolls)
Source:  My Mom

Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Butter flavor Crisco (shortening)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 packets yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons of yeast)
1/4 cup luke warm water (about 110 degrees)
6 cups unsifted flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup melted butter

Directions
Cream sugar and shortening together.  Add boiling water and when cool add the cold water.  Add eggs and yeast that has been dissolved in the 1/4 cup of warm water.  Then, gradually add flour and salt.  Allow to rise for 1 hour covered with a dish towel.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about a 1/2 inch thickness.  Using a round biscuit cutter (or any shape you prefer).  Place in a buttered baking dish (glass or metal is fine).  Allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  Brush surface with melted butter (this helps them brown up nicely).

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned.  Be sure to keep an eye on them so as not to overbake them.


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November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving: Pioneer Woman's Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie

Happy Thanksgiving... a little late!  I haven't posted much lately due to getting ready for the big turkey feast!  It was my first time hosting the family and I am happy I had a plan in place.  The turkey delayed dinner slightly, but it all ended up working out just fine in the end.  Everyone brought a little something to share, which always makes a big meal  like that so much easier to prepare.

A few months back, when I was better at keeping up with my food blog reading, I came across a post over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks for Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie.  I love mushrooms and brie, so stuffing the mushrooms with brie immediately appealed to me.

I opted to make this as an additional "side" to our Thanksgiving feast.  We already had plenty of appetizers to munch on that I didn't need to add to that table.  I used the larger stuffing mushrooms as those are what I found when shopping at Costco.  So, I used a little bigger piece of brie in each of mine.

From Family, Friends and Food
Overall, these mushrooms got rave reviews.  I enjoyed them and the flavor combination worked beautifully.  The sauteed garlic, parsley and green onions was just enough to add that "something" extra to the mushrooms.  I would definitely make these again because they are so quick to prepare and a great change of pace from the traditional stuffed mushrooms. 

You can find the full recipe for Mushrooms Stuffed with Brie (HERE).  Once you make them, you won't need a recipe as it really IS that simple!  You can add this to your "go to" company recipe stash.

I will be sharing more Thanksgiving recipes over the next few days, so come on back to see what else we had at our feast!

Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.
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November 19, 2009

Cookbook Review: Love Soup - Creamy Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup

When I was asked if I'd like to receive a copy of Love Soup, a cookbook by Anna Thomas, I said yes. Why? Because I knew the cold weather months were coming and soup is something that just warms you from the inside out. There's nothing like a pot of soup simmering on the stove when someone comes in from the cold that says comfort food. Add to it some fresh baked bread and you've got a meal that everyone will enjoy.

As I read through this cookbook, because well... that's what I do. I read cookbooks as if they are "regular" books. Anna Thomas shares a bit about each recipe and how that particular soup has become important to her. There was a time when she lived in a very small space and had limited cooking facilities. This required her to get creative and soup was the easiest thing to make on her very small stove.

I have several recipes marked to try, and now that the weather has finally gotten cool enough that I am craving soup it was time to finally get started. This week, one of My Boys was home sick from school, so I decided I'd make the Creamy Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup from the book. I have fond memories of eating potato soup growing up, but we called it "Bare Soup" - although I always thought it was Bear soup when my mom would call it that. The name Bare Soup came from the fact that the soup was made with very few ingredients - and most likely when money was tight.

This particular soup uses one sweet potato combined with a large russet potato. This gives the soup a warm, orangey color that makes me think almost of what a butternut squash soup would look like.


From Family, Friends and Food


Now, I must confess, I had to slightly alter the soup as I (shockingly) was out of garlic. I always have several heads of garlic on hand, but not this time. Didn't even realize I had run out! Definitely being added to the shopping list for this weekend! I imagine that the roasted garlic would take the flavor of this soup up a notch and should not be omitted.

My only complaint with the soup is that it was not as creamy as I would have liked it to be. I would take her suggestion to add some cream in place of some of the milk next time I make it. I know, not for the calorie concious... but, if you are looking for a true creamy potato soup, I think it would be worth the extra calories to use it.

This cookbook is filled with recipes and if you follow any type of vegetarian diet, then it will be right up your alley! All recipes are either vegetarian or vegan, with limited use of dairy throughout the cookbook.


Creamy Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup
Source: Love Soup - Anna Thomas

Ingredients
1 large head garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for roasting the garlic
1 large russet potato (12 oz)
1 large sweet potato (12 oz)
3 large stalks of celery
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
2 cups whole milk
2-3 cups vegetable broth
6-7 ounces Russian kale (or other kale) - I left this out as I didn't have any on hand.
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel the loose outer husk off the head of garlic, slice off a tiny bit of the top, place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil, and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Fold the foil up and crimp to seal it. Roast the garlic for about 40 minutes, or until it gives when pressed. Allow it to cool.

Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes, cut the celery into small dice and combine the vegetables in a soup pot with 3 cups cold water. Add the thyme, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, some black pepper and a large pinch of red pepper flakes. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are completely soft.

When the garlic is ready, squeeze the soft roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add them to the soup. Stir in the milk and puree the soup in a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender. Be careful not to overprocess. Stop the moment the vegetables are smooth or the potatoes could turn gummy.

Return the soup to the pot and stir in enough vegetable broth to give the soup the consistency you like. Taste and add salt & pepper if needed.

Trim the kale, slicing away the tough stems, and cut it into 1-inch squares. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick pan and stir the chopped garlic in it for a minute or two, just until it begins to color. Add the kale and saute it, stirring constantly at first, then frequently, until it thoroughly wilts. Add a splash of water - just a few tablespoons - then cover the pan and let the kale steam until the water is gone and the kale is tender, 5-6 minutes. Stir the kale into the soup.

Drizzle about a teaspoon of the remaining olive oil over each serving and serve with crostini. If reheating, do it gently, and stir the soup from time to time to prevent scorching.

Tip" Add a little cream in place of some of the milk if you want a richer soup, or stir in some creamy goat cheese and let it melt into the soup just before serving.

Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman (unless otherwise noted). If you want to use something please ask first.

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November 17, 2009

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans from Cooking Light

Sometime last year while I was shopping at my favorite produce market, I decided it was time to try Brussels sprouts. I vaguely recall not liking them as a kid, but honestly can't tell you much else about them. I was also a bit of a picky eater, if it didn't look good I wasn't eating it... and honestly, when you look at these little tiny cabbages they are kinda funny looking. Of course, now I'm an adult and love finding new foods to try, so last year I made Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (of course, anything with bacon HAS to be good) and I tried a simple saute of them that was enjoyed by both My Husband and myself (recipe HERE).

So, when I saw them appear in my produce market again this year I decided it was time to reintroduce my kids to them. This time I went with a recipe I found on Cooking Light, Brussels Sprouts with Pecans.


From Family, Friends and Food



The twist on this recipe was the addition of sugar which helped amp up the kid-friendly factor. I didn't find the sugar too overpowering at 1 1/2 tablespoons, it was just enough to add a touch of sweet. The combination of the softened Brussels sprouts and the crunchy pecans was nice and made me want to keep going back for more.

If you haven't tried Brussels sprouts since you were a kid, go ahead... try them again! Here are some more recipes that may entice you:

Dinners for a Year and Beyond - Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Sweetnicks - Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts



Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman (unless otherwise noted). If you want to use something please ask first.




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November 15, 2009

Pepperoni Pizza Dip - Tasty Kitchen

Last week I was searching for something quick and easy to bring to this month's Bunko game. I wanted a dip that everyone would want to dig into it. With the plethora of food blogs out there, I can often get overwhelmed by recipe options. Then, I remembered that Pioneer Woman created a recipe site where anyone can share favorite, tried & true recipes - Tasty Kitchen!

If you register on the site, you can share recipes and review those that you have made yourself. So, I did a few searches and then remembered a few years back that a friend had made a pizza dip that was so good it was addictive. So, I went searching for pizza dip and while I didn't find the exact recipe that I remembered, I found one that is equally addictive and so easy to make it would be a crime not to share it with you!



From Family, Friends and Food

This Pepperoni Pizza Dip is served warm from the oven and tastes like pizza without the crust. But, really, how can you enjoy dip without something to dip in it? I used Frito's scoops, but if you had some mini bread sticks they would make a perfect accompaniment to this dip. I've actually made this dip 2 times within the last 4 days! Once for Bunko and again today to share with friends while watching football (or really while I chatted with girlfriends while the hubby's sat in the other room watching the game... we had to keep something for ourselves, right?). The husband's did discover the dip and came in to take more than a few bites of it, so overall I'd say this is a recipe worth repeating for any get-together.

I suggest checking out Tasty Kitchen - especially the recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Dip . There are tons of recipes to try, and you can save them to your own recipe box on the site. Makes it easy to come back to them later.

Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman (unless otherwise noted). If you want to use something please ask first.


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November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Casserole from Cooking Light

First, a note of Thanks to all those who serve in our military. We should remember to thank them for all they do whenever we get the chance and not just on Veteran's Day.

In case you aren't aware (and I'd be surprised if you weren't) one of the biggest food holidays is coming in just a couple of weeks - Thanksgiving! Images of tables filled with all the traditional food come to mind whenever I think of the feast we look forward to each year. This year will be slightly different for us because I am hosting! I am actually very excited to be hosting our family here in NJ for one of my favorite holidays. So, the cookbooks, food magazines and notepads are out and I'm planning like crazy!

I'm fortunate that I don't have to prepare every single dish we'll be enjoying, so I'm also making notes as to what to ask each person to bring along. I've always been one to believe that a family meal is even more enjoyable when each person brings something to the table (literally) that is their specialty. I've already asked My Mother-in-Law to bring her stuffing as it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it. Other famly members will be asked to bring along sides and perhaps a dessert or two. I love having many choices on the table... which also means some amazing leftovers to enjoy for the next few days.

Since I am "ahead" of schedule for the moment, I decided to test a sweet potato recipe I found at Cooking Light. One of My Husband's favorite holiday dishes is sweet potatoes topped with none other than the required marshmallows. So, I've been trying to figure out how to make them, and this recipe solved all of my old "issues" with making them in the past! Thank you, Cooking Light!
With this recipe, I didn't have the problem I've had with the potatoes becoming very watery after baking. You cook the sweet potatoes, then mash them together with the other ingredients. Which, I felt, created the ideal solution to the watered down version I had made years ago.

This dish was an overall thumb's up with all members of my family (although, My Youngest mostly ate the marshmallows and couldn't be convinced of the sweet, yumminess of the sweet potatoes - he's a tough one). I've already added this to my Thanksgiving menu for this year.

If you would like to see the full recipe, head over to Cooking Light, and it can be found HERE.

Or if you are searching for some quick and easy ideas for what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner that is being hosted by someone else... visit Sprout for Parents for my latest post that shares some ideas that won't take a huge amount of time and the kids can even help you make them!
What are you making this year? Would love to hear some other great ideas!


Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman (unless otherwise noted). If you want to use something please ask first.

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November 9, 2009

Big Brownie Cookies from The Shortcut Cookie Book

It's no secret around here that I love to bake. It's also no secret that I ADORE chocolate... I probably should join a support group, but I really am not quite ready to admit that there is a problem with my love of chocolate. I believe that no matter what you are feeling, chocolate makes it all better.

This weekend was a crazy busy weekend, but I still managed to find time to allow My Boys to have a couple of friends over for awhile on Sunday afternoon. I've gotten into the habit of using the time while they are busy playing with their friends to bake up something for them to enjoy. It's usually cookies, but I've also made other types of fun snacks.

This weekend, I broke out a new cookbook I recently bought, The Ultimate Shortcut Cookie Book. All of the recipes in this book are geared for the person who is short on time and has a few key items in the pantry such as cake mix, brownie mix or refrigerated cookie dough. I do love to bake from scratch, but sometimes things come up last minute. This book will be perfect for those times when you need to get cookies into the oven within moments without pulling out 10 ingredients first. If you want a sampling of some of the recipes, Camilla Saulsbury has started a new blog, the Shortcut Cookies Blog, that focuses on some of the recipes from the book.

The first recipe I made from this book was the Big Brownie Cookies. They are so simple, they can be in the oven in under 10 minutes. I made mine really big, so I didn't get as many as the recipe states. That was ok with My Boys and their friends. I got an overall "thumb's up" and "delicious" rating from each one of them. The cookies are like eating a fudgey brownie with chocolate chips throughout. They will satisfy your chocolate craving!




Big Brownie Cookies
Source: The Shortcut Cookie Book

Ingredients

  • 1 (19.5 to 19.8 oz) package of brownie mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts - any variety (I left these out)


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray (I used parchment paper instead).
  2. Combine the brownie mix through eggs in a bowl. Using a wooden spoon combine until just blended and all dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. (I would use an hand mixer next time, as the dough is very thick and hard to stir by hand.)
  3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart on to prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 11-14 minutes until cracked in appearance and just barely set in the center when lightly touched. Allow to cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Makes about 30 big cookies.




Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman. If you want to use something please ask first.


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November 1, 2009

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is in the air and we had a lovely weekend! Today Our Boys made a pile of leaves and had fun running and jumping in it for the afternoon. Since My Husband was nice enough to make dinner for tonight and an extra for during our upcoming busy week, I started thinking about how I could use up the rest of the can of pumpkin I left after making a pumpkin cake recently (which I will share soon).

I started searching for something on-line, and ended up altering a recipe I found for Chocolate Chip Muffins. As I was reading it, I knew I needed to cut it down as I didn't want 36 muffins hanging around. Then, I was thinking that adding a bit of cocoa powder to really deepen the chocolate flavor. I just feel that chocolate and pumpkin go together so perfectly. I made a few other alterations, and this is how they turned out.


From Family, Friends and Food

The muffins were so moist and full of chocolate flavor that I know that they are not going to last very long at all. My Oldest and I loved every bite of the first muffins we nibbled on and I am thinking we will be made often over the next few months.


Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
Source: Patsyk

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add 12 cupcake liners to a muffin tin.

Combine all dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs through vegetable oil. Then add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir only until just combined. Add chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.



Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman. If you want to use something please ask first.
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