Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Butter and Poor Man's Pumpkin Spice Latte

Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter
1 large can pumpkin puree (around 2 cups)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves)
1 1/2 cups white sugar

Bring to boil in crockpot on high. Turn back to low, allow to simmer for an hour or two (the timing isn't that important). Spoon into jars. Freeze what you don't plan to eat right away.

Poor Man's Pumpkin Spice Latte
1 mug milk or 1/2 milk with half coffee
1 teaspoon instant coffee (or a shot of espresso, or use half a cup of strong coffee)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter

Mix all ingredients in a mug. Microwave until hot (about 90 seconds). Stir again and drink.

All around, a nice way to make my house smell like fall and enjoy a pumpkin spice latte without having to go out and spend five bucks on it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Big Cooking Day

I started this round with egg recipes: Stuffing Egg Bake and Easy Sausage Strata. I split the strata into two pans, but the other just made one.

The second course: turning 3 pounds of ground beef into Sloppy Joes, Enchilada Bake, and Lasagna. I left the casseroles uncooked and will thaw and cook them on the days we want to eat them. Two containers of each meal.

Last but not least, I made 4 kinds of dump chicken: Herb Wine, Honey Glazed, Spicy Sweet and Lemonade. I decided to leave the chicken raw and just moved them from the giant club pack bag into ziplocs. Each bag has enough chicken for us (2 servings) and half the recipe of marinade. The chicken will be thawed in the fridge overnight, then cooked for 20-30 min at 350*F.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taco Cornbread Bake

Taco Cornbread Bake (Serves 4)
(adapted from this recipe)

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup pureed salsa
1 batch corn bread batter (see below)
1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown meat; drain. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Pour into 8x12 baking dish. Prepare corn bread batter. Spread over meat. Top with jalapeƱos if desired. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Top corn bread with cheese. Bake 5-7 minutes.

Corn Bread Batter
1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
pickled jalapeƱos (optional)

Mix dry ingredients, add milk egg and oil, mix just enough to moisten dry ingredients.

This made a great meal! I'm already plotting making it again. I think I could work beans into the base somehow - either some black beans or some refried beans as another layer. It was hot and hearty.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

No photo, as I forgot to take one, but this may just be my favorite soup of all time. It doesn't need to be slow cooked, but it's wonderful to come home and have the first half of the prep done.

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup (adapted from this recipe) - 6 servings
  • 3 bacon strips, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I use 4 tsp OXO plus 4 cups water)
  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 cup half-and-half cream (or milk to make it healthier)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley or chives (optional)
Fry and chop bacon. Place in slow cooker, with 1 tsp of bacon fat.

Add seasonings, broth, and vegetables. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, until veggies are soft. I usually prepare it the night before and put it in the fridge, then cook all day while I'm at work - 7:30 am to 5:30 pm - without problems.

When you get home, mix up the cornstarch with the water. Pour into the soup, turn up to high and allow to boil. This may take as long as half an hour.

Add the cream or milk and the hot sauce. Turn down to "keep warm" and allow to heat through but not boil (although I haven't found it ruins it if it boils).

Serve with bread and salad for a balanced meal.