Friday, November 19, 2010

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars

Image via FoodNetwork
Caralie and I made these today. She couldn't wait for them to cool off enough to eat. And I have to say they are moist and delicious. However, this is really more of a dense cake than "bars" in my opinion. Sprinkle some chopped nuts on top, if you like, to make it pretty and you've got a great dessert for a get-together. I made a couple of changes:

1) I used 1 tsp. cinnamon + 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and

2) I added an extra 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the frosting because it was a little too cream-cheesy for me.

Next time I'll try substituting applesauce for the oil - I would have done that today but I am out of applesauce.


4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread over cooled bars.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple Crisp

The perfect autumn dessert! If you have one of these:
now is the time to use it! Just peel your apples first and then stick 'em in your wedger. It's a quick way to get uniform slices that will bake up evenly.


10 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (Granny Smiths are good)
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup (a stick and a half) butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix apples with 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon until evenly coated; pour into 9x13 baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; sprinkle evenly over apples.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

This recipe was recently featured in the Make a Cake Series on Make It and Love It. It is not a very sweet cake and really seems more fitting as an adult dessert. It's served sliced and drizzled with a sweet sauce. A squeeze bottle makes it easy.

I deviated from the recipe, which suggests making candied cranberries for garnish, and instead simmered the cranberries into a cranberry glaze to spoon over individual slices as desired. A pretty, grown-up dessert for holiday parties!

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce on Make It and Love It

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 bag fresh cranberries, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally grease a bundt pan with shortening. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat in butter, eggs, and milk; do not over mix. Fold in 2 cups cranberries. Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes then invert pan onto wire rack. Let cake cool completely.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until butter melts and sugar is dissolved. Let cool slightly, then pour into a squeeze bottle for drizzling, if you have one.


1 cup water
1 cup sugar
remaining cranberries from bag

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 10-15 minutes, slightly crushing cranberries as they simmer. Let cool and serve over cake slices.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cranberry Glazed Pork Loin Roast

This is a great roast for the holidays. It looks pretty and festive and has great flavor.

You can usually find prepared horseradish by the mustard in your grocery store. I put 1-2 tsp. in the recipe because I made it with 1 teaspoon but personally would like the added kick of an additional teaspoon.

from Quick Savory Cranberry Glazed Pork Roast on

1 (4 lb.) boneless pork loin roast
1 (14.5 oz) can whole cranberry sauce
1 cup apple jelly
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 cubes chicken bouillon, crushed
1-2 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, jelly, mustard, bouillon, horseradish, garlic powder, and thyme; bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Line a large baking pan with foil. Place roast fat side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon enough sauce onto roast to cover; reserve remaining sauce for basting.

Cook for 1 hour, basting (spooning sauce over) roast every 15 minutes. Let roast stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with sauce/gravy from pan.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Pesto Alfredo

This is a variation of a recipe I found at The Cottage Home. Once I saw it I had to try it. I loooove pesto and I loooove alfredo and combining the two just blew my universe apart. I added chicken to make it a little heartier (and so the menfolk wouldn't complain). As Backpack would say, "Yum yum yum yum yum delicioso!"

adapted from Creamy Pesto Pasta Alfredo

3 chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded to an even thickness
2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. box penne pasta
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup prepared pesto (store-bought or fresh)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Start water for pasta - cook according to package directions. Strain, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to pan. Brown both sides and cook through.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add pesto and cook for 2-3 minutes more to mellow the flavor. Stir in cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Stir in 1/3 cup reserved cooking liquid from pasta and add salt and pepper as desired.

Chop cooked chicken into bite size pieces. Combine pasta and chicken in a large serving bowl and pour sauce all over. Stir to coat and serve with grated Parmesan on top.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nutter Butter Ghosts/Snowmen

It's a little late to make these guys unless you want to make them into snowmen. But they are so darn yummy! Caralie and I made a batch about a week before Halloween and I forgot all about posting them until now.


1 (1 lb.) package Nutter Butter cookies
1 (1 lb.) package white almond bark or vanilla candy coating
mini chocolate chips (for face, buttons)
Fruit Roll-Ups (for scarves)

Melt almond bark or candy coating according to package directions. Dip cookies to coat and place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Add mini chocolate chips for face (ghost/snowman) and buttons (snowman). Put cookies in fridge to harden. Cut fruit roll-ups into "scarves" and wrap around the neck of snowmen.