Pumpkin Squares Revisted

I make these every year and they disappear quickly. This year was no different. Not all my pumpkin creations are a success. Playing around with an oatmeal pumpkin cookie, I came up with an inedible concoction. Luckily Bixby and his playmates were not quite so discerning, so it wasn’t a complete waste of ingredients. I was glad to whip a batch of squares up after that to restore my faith in my own cooking.

Pumpkin Squares

Cake:

  •  4 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil or butter
  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice (less if desired, I like them spicy)

mixing bowl & 13×9 baking dish, greased

Beat eggs, sugar, butter & pumpkin together, add dry ingredients, mixing well. Spread into baking dish, bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Cool & frost (frosting below). These are rich, so I would cut them into at least 24 squares.

Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-3/4 cups powdered sugar

mixing bowl

Mix together cream cheese, sugar & vanilla. Mix until smooth.

You can frost & freeze in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.  Enjoy.

 

Originally posted 10/2011

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Bourbon Baked Apple Crisp

Final Baked Bourbon Apple

Wandering around the web today, someone posted a recipe for Bourbon Baked Apples. Hmmm, I have bourbon. I have apples. Guess I need to bake some Bourbon Apples, stuffed with oatmeal crumble.

Bourbon Baked Apple Crisp

  • 4 large favorite apple
  • 1/2  cup oats
  • 1/2  cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup softened  butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup bourbon (depending on taste – you can substitute more cider if you prefer)
  • vanilla ice cream

In a bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Add softened butter and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. You want it to be crumbly.

apples stuffed2

Cut the top off the apple, enough to use as a lid. Scoop out core and seeds, being careful not to pierce the bottom of the apple. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired  and then stuff with the oats mixture, packing it in and covering out to the edges of the apple. Place the top of the apple back on and press down.

Place apples in a large baking dish. Pour apple cider and bourbon in the bottom of the pan. Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until skin is soft and wrinkled and flesh is soft. During the baking period, baste every 10 minutes with the cider/bourbon mix.

Serve immediately with ice cream.

 

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Dinner Menu: Crepes

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I love crepes and friend of blog, Kirk Spencer just did a posting on them, reminding me that I had a pretty decent recipe, too. Check out his link, he has some nice filling ideas. For this menu, we’re sticking with fruit.

Do the idea of crepes scare you?! They did me until I decided to brave the waters for this recipe.  They are unbelievably easy.  The only difference between this and making pancakes is how you manipulate the pan.  Make sure after you’ve lightly greased the pan and heated it, you remove it from the heat before adding the batter.  Then you need to swirl the batter thinly around the pan and up the sides, until it sets.  Return to the heat to let it cook.  Immediately begin to loosen the top edges with a butter knife, so when it’s time to flip, it’s easy to do.  I found flipping it by hand easiest.  Gently loosen the edges completely and gingerly pick up by the edge and flip it over when the bottom is golden.  You may need to loosen the bottom with a spatula before flipping.  If you’re feeling daring…you can try flipping them.  Just remember, they don’t have to look perfect or be paper thin to work!

It looks like we’re going to have another bumpy, rainy, flash flood warning weekend. No grilling. I’ll have to make do with some Buttered Potato Pie and nice Pan-Seared Strip Steaks. And a reminder, there won’t be a recipe exchange this week, but I’ll find something fun for later in the weekend.  Until then….TaMara

On the board tonight: Kids Night Crepes Dinner

  1. Fruit Crepes
  2. Raw Vegetable tray w/dips
  3. Popcorn

Crepes4a

Fruit Crepes

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 oz sliced strawberries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 kiwi fruits, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • powdered sugar

10-inch skillet with sloped sides or a crepe pan

2 bowls, plate, parchment or wax paper

Whisk together eggs, flour, milk, butter, ¼ tsp cinnamon.  Mix well and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes while you prepare fruit.

In medium bowl, combine ¼ tsp cinnamon, berries, banana, kiwi, granola and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate

Crepes pan1

Lightly grease skillet and heat over medium heat.  Just before adding batter, remove from heat.  Add ½ cup of batter for each crepe.  Immediately after adding it, swirl pan until batter is spread completely around the pan and up the sides.  Return to heat and cook until golden on the bottom, flip and cook until other side is golden.  About 2 minutes each side, but watch carefully.  Remove to plate.  Repeat for each crepe.  Place parchment paper between crepes.

Crepes pan2a

To assemble, put ¼ fruit mixture in each crepe and roll up.  Top with garnish of powdered sugar. Makes 8 crepes.

Alternately you can prepare them on a griddle, using a ladle to spread the batter around into a 10” circle.

If this still sounds too difficult, you can always purchase pre-made crepes in your produce section, usually by the fresh berries.  Follow package instructions to heat.

 

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Easy As…Upside Down Cake

Slice of cake3This was better than I even imagined. I was craving something intensely blueberry and I had just made the Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a birthday. I decided if it was good enough for pineapple, it was good enough for blueberries. And boy was it. I had to tweak the recipe a bit to complement the blueberry flavor, adding lemon to the mix and I reduced the flour down so the blueberries were not overwhelmed by cake.

Blueberry Upside Down2Blueberry-Lemon Upside Down Cake

  • 8 oz frozen wild blueberries (or enough to completely cover the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

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  • 1/3 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice + enough water to make 1/2 cup of liquid.

8×8 glass baking dish and mixing bowl

 Melt 3 tbsp of butter and add to baking dish with sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Mix well.  Spread blueberries evenly over sugar and butter mixture.

In bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Add lemon water and zest to batter, mixing well (it will be lumpy) and then pour over blueberries.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick test in the cake center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes and then invert on a plate.

ETA: click any photo to enlarge and uncompress.

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copyright Whats 4 Dinner Solutions 2014

 

Friday Recipe Exchange: Fry Breads

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I was working on the Dinner Menu for the week and lamenting the fact that I have a difficult time finding good pita breads in my area. I decided the next time I make the Chicken Pilaf and Cool Dill Dip menu (recipes and photos here) I would try using  Fry Bread as a substitute. Then I thought that would make a good topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. (I cannot lie, what really tips the scales for the recipe exchange is which pretty, yummy photo of JeffreyW’s can I highlight)

First up, JeffreyW makes Fry Bread (pictured at top) for Fry Bread Tacos, click here for recipe and great photos.  He took the same recipe and sweetened it up with honey, cinnamon and sugar, as pictured below:

DSC_7172 (1600x1060) Not satisfied with a flat product, he decided to experiment with making it into a bowl and serving it with an awesome soup in his Bean Soup in a Fry Bread Bowl, recipe and photos here.

What’s in your bowl this weekend? Do you have any special or unique family or cultural recipes to share? Hit the comments with your ideas and recipes. I love to add new flavors to my repertoire.

For tonight’s featured recipe, I turn to friend of blog, Aji for a fry bread recipe she sent me months ago, at my request: Continue reading

Chicken Schnitzel

DSC_7912 (1600x1060)A  schnitzel is a boneless cut of meat – could be chicken, pork, veal, or just about anything – that has been pounded flat, coated with flour, egg, and bread crumbs and then fried.  These are chicken “tenders”, part of the breast, and they are tender indeed.  If you are too enthusiastic with the meat tenderizer they will disintegrate.  They got an Italian seasoned bread crumb final coat.

Friday Night Recipe Exchange: Sweet Treats

Coconut Lemon Cake c2011 W4DS

Coconut Lemon Cake

Something about frigid temps makes me crave sweets. So when I was thinking about tonight’s recipes, that is what I was drawn to and lemon themed recipes rose to the top. I suppose because it brings with it a reminder of warmer climates. Which is where I am headed later in the month. Beach weather. I’ll be the pale, wind swept one by the eucalyptus tree.

One of my favorite tangy, sweet desserts is Sour Cream Lemon Poppyseeed Cake, yum, recipe here.

Sliced Lemon Poppy Seed

Since next week bring with it the ultimate date night, I thought it would be a good idea to include some special sweets: Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, recipe here and Valentine’s Chocolates, recipes here.

Which is a good time to let you know there will be no recipe exchange next Friday. Do you have Valentine’s plans? Do you go out or stay home and cook? Or do you ignore it all together? (You should probably make sure your romantic partner is on board with that, if that’s your plan. Right?) And during these cold, cold days, what do you like to cook?

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Let’s not leave JeffreyW out of the mix, he and Mrs. J spent the cold week giving their kitchen a work out and this is one of the recipes that fortified them. Peanut Butter Granola Bars, click here.

And finally, tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top):

Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

I have a friend who loves coconut cream pie.  I’m not a big fan, so I’ve never made one.  But when I saw a photo of a coconut-lemon cake, I thought she might like it, so I gave it a whirl.  The original cake was 6-layers, I just couldn’t fathom that, so I reduced it to a 4-layer cake.  Layering is easier to do if you use pie pans instead of cake pans.  This eliminates the need to cut each cake in half to achieve thin, even layers.  This cake works best if made the night before.  Refrigerate so the lemon filling stays firm. And shredded coconut covers any number of baking sins.

Coconut Cake:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 13 oz coconut milk
  • 3 eggs, separated

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch pie pans

Cream the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, blending well.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the creamed mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the coconut milk, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and beat to thoroughly combine.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then gently fold into the cake batter. Divide evenly and pour into the pans, spreading to the edges. Bake until a toothpick inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Loosen and invert onto racks to cool completely.

Lemon cream filling:

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Cool thoroughly before spreading on the cake layers.

Okay, so all the recipes for lemon filling wanted a double-boiler.  I started with one, but after 5 minutes of stirring and not thickening, I changed over to a saucepan and whisked it for 5 minutes while it boiled and thickened and had no issues with it burning or sticking.  High altitude may have been the reason for my original troubles.  Water boils at a lower temperature here, so the double boiler may not have offered enough heat to thicken the sauce.

Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups shredded coconut

With a mixer, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

To assemble: Place first layer on cake plate, bottom side up, spread with a third of the lemon filling, sprinkle with coconut, place next layer, bottom side up, repeat and again with the third layer.  Place fourth layer, top side up.  Frost and garnish with more shredded coconut.

That’s it for this week. On Monday the full dinner menu and shopping list will post and it will be a Valentine’s dinner if you need ideas. Happy Valentine’s Day! – TaMara

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Holiday Cookies

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Photo of Mrs. J’s great cookies by JeffreyW

A friend asked me if I would like to spend the afternoon baking holiday cookies with her for a charity exchange. I was happy to, the colder it gets, the more I enjoy baking. She asked me if I had any good cookie recipes. I tried not to laugh. I picked out three of my favorites and realized it would be a great idea for this week’s recipe exchange.

My very favorite this time of year are Citrus Drops, because with all the sweets, the buttery tartness is welcome. Click here for the recipe.

Next up are my Fruit Pie Cookies, an idea that came to me when I had leftover pie filling and a mini-muffin tin. They are delicious, pretty, but a bit time consuming to make. Recipe is here.

And the always fun, M & M Cookies, a hit with kids of all ages. Click here.

That just scratches the surface, for all the cookie recipes on the blog (there are 78 of them), you’ll find them here, there are some gluten free options, too.

What’s on the weekend menu? What’s your favorite cookie for the holidays? Do you make cookie trays to give as gifts? Share your favorite recipes in the comments.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one that I loved when I was a kid. My best friend and I would make them when we had sleepovers. Perfect for cold New England days. It took me a while to find the recipe again.  Easy and elegant.

Lace Cookies2b

Looking for another cookie to add to the cookie tray you give as gifts? These are very pretty. You can add chocolate drizzle to really make them look festive (I’d melt semi-sweet or cacao chocolate chips for the drizzle).

Easy to make, pretty to look at.

Coconut Lace Cookies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup

baking sheet, bowl

Combine flour, oats, sugar, coconut, & baking soda in bowl, mix well. Add water, butter & syrup and stir well. Drop by teaspoon onto baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 12 minutes until almost set, remove to rack to completely cool. Makes 2 dozen.

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