Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Last year at Thanksgiving was the first time Rob and I hosted.  Granted, it was only for us and my mom and brother, but we wanted to put out a nice, traditional, Thanksgiving meal.  That said, I thought it would be a good idea to have fresh dinner rolls to go along with the dinner.  I picked out two recipes: plain biscuits and sweet potato biscuits.  This is one example of how I should NEVER experiment with a new dish as I'm preparing to serve it.  So if you walk away with anything you read here, take this:  ALWAYS experiment in advance to avoid mishaps.

Yes, the biscuits were a disappointment.  They came out OK... except they had no real flavor to them.  And I guess because they were biscuits, they seemed on the heavy side.

Keeping last year's defeat in mind, I decided to make different rolls - and I specifically went for dinner rolls, not biscuits.  I figured dinner rolls would be lighter in general.  As I did last year, I picked out plain rolls and winter squash rolls.  Silly me, I didn't learn my lesson from last year.  On Wednesday night, yes, the night before Thanksgiving, I'm preparing the dough for the new rolls.  At first everything seemed to be fine.  I even sampled the dough and it tasted great.  I was really looking forward to making this with the dinner. 

My plan was to make the dough, allow time for it to rise, knead, then place in the fridge overnight so it could rise again.  Then sometime before dinner the next day I'd roll them into balls and stick them in the oven.  It seemed like a great plan. 


When I took the dough out of the fridge and started rolling dough balls, the dough seemed kinda heavy.  But, I figured they'd bake/cook and come out fine on the other end.  Wrong!

After keeping the rolls in the oven for the exact amount of time the recipe called for, I took them out.  I picked up the first roll and it was as heavy as a hockey puck.  I was dumbfounded.  I split it open and the inside was completely raw.  Rob came by to examine them and he saw how undercooked they were.  He picked them up and made some comment about how they could be used as a weapon.  Right.  Foiled again by stupid bread!

So both Rob and my mom tried assuring me that it's ok to have an Achilles' heel when it came to cooking/baking.  Rolls were clearly mine.  However, I wasn't satisfied to go along with it.  I had to know exactly where I failed.

The next day I set out to make another batch of rolls.  This time I just went with a half batch of Winter Squash Rolls - for which I used pumpkin.

I followed the recipe exactly as it was written.  It had one difference between what I did on Wednesday night and what I was doing then: on Wednesday night after letting the dough rise the first time, I stuck the dough in the fridge.  This time, I allowed the dough to rise (for the second time) at room temperature.  THIS MADE THE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

This was where I failed the first time.  Apparently sitting in the fridge prevented the dough from rising properly.  What I should have done was allow the dough to sit out and warm up to room temp. then allow it to rise again.  But I didn't.

Anyhow, I'm thrilled to announce that I can make delicious dinner rolls!

I got the recipe here from


1 1/2 cups cubed winter squash
1 cup scalded milk
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup shortening


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small saucepan, cover squash cubes with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and mash.               

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, combine 5 cups flour, sugar and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture, shortening, squash and milk. Mix well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces and form into rounds. Place the rounds in a lightly greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.               


These rolls are fantastic!  As I mentioned above, be sure to follow the directions exactly for allowing the dough to rise or you will end up with winter squash lead balls.

I chose to use pumpkin puree for mine and they were delish.  Generally speaking, I prefer to use either the pureed pumpkin or frozen butternut squash.  Cutting, cleaning and cooking the actual squash is a real pain.  Make your life easier and go for the already pureed stuff.  It will still taste great.

Instead of the shortening, I used real butter, melted down.  When it comes to making breads, I prefer to use real butter instead of Crisco or lard.  I mean...ick. 

Finally, I used an egg wash on the roll.  I took one egg, lightly beaten, and I brushed it over each roll.  It gave the rolls a nice shine. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumpkin Pie (part deux)

Yes, I did just make a pumpkin pie last week to experiment before making one on the actual Thanksgiving Day.  Yes, it did turn out just fine.  Yes, I was going to make it yesterday until I found this recipe and made it instead. 

The Verdict?  YUMMY!!!

What's the difference between last week's pumpkin pie and yesterday's masterpiece?  Vanilla ice cream.  Who knew? 

Growing up, I was always a fan of Mrs. Smith's pumpkin pie.  Yes, it's store bought, but it never disappoints.  This pumpkin pie tastes exactly like Mrs. Smith's.

PUMPKIN PIE (part deux)


1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie shells


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.) Place ice cream near the warm oven to soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Stir in the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Mix in soft ice cream until smooth. Pour filling into two 9 inch pie shells.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until filling is set.               


I made this pumpkin pie exactly as the recipe states.  Exactly.  No subsitutions.  I will tell you though, that I did use Hagen Dazs vanilla ice cream.

Thanksgiving Cheesecakes!

I was so excited when I made these I snapped the pics before I took them out of the oven! 

Recently, I ordered a pack of four mini-springform pans (4 1/2").  It gave me the opportunity to make two different kinds of cheesecakes without overdoing it.  As you can see by the picture, I made vanilla with chocolate marble cheesecakes and pumpkin cheesecakes.

(This recipe is from October 2011's Food Network Magazine, from Emeril Lagasse)


1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 crushed wafers)
1 cup pecans, ground
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 pounds cream cheese, cubed and softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups canned pure pumpkin


1...Prepare the cheesecake:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the wafer crumbs, ground pecans and melted butter in a bowl.  Press into the bottom of a 12-inch springform pan.  In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the brown sugar and process until blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, processing until fully incorporated, then blend in the heavy cream.  Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and vanilla and blend until smooth.  Add the pumpkin and blend until smooth. 

2...Pour the filling over the crust in the pan.  Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until the cheesecake is just set.  Remove from the oven.  Use a knife to loosen the cake from the side of the pan; this will prevent it from splitting down the center.  Let cool completely before slicing.


For starters, this recipe has a bourbon-spiked cream topping that I didn't even bother with.  It just doesn't need it.

Instead of using vanilla wafer crumbs, I used a box of Walker's shortbread cookies.  I added 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  I combined these items in my food processor then pressed them into the pan as directed.  From there I BAKED the crust for 10 minutes to set.  I feel this helps the crust from becoming soggy.  It works.

BEWARE: Emeril lies!  Once the cheesecake is baked, LEAVE IT TO COOL IN THE OVEN.  Crack the oven door open just a little and turn off the heat.  Leave it like this to cool for an hour.  This is what will prevent your cheesecake from cracking!  I listened to Emeril the first time and used the knife to cut the cake away from the sides and it cracked all over the place. 

(This recipe originally appears here from


15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted                    
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.               

In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.               


Since I made this as a vanilla-chocolate-swirl cheesecake I deviated from the above recipe. 

Instead of graham crackers I used the Nabisco chocolate wafers for the crust.  In a food processor, I blended the chocolate wafers, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons butter.  Once pressed into the springform pan, I baked it for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven to set. 

For the chocolate swirl, I melted down one 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate square and combined it with 3/4 cup cheesecake (I did make the mini cheesecakes.  If I made a full sized cheesecake I would have melted down two 1-oz squares and mixed it with 1 1/2 cups cheesecake).  Using a teaspoon, I dropped 3 dollops of the chocolate on top and used a knife to swirl.  YUMMY!

I almost forgot!  I used a vanilla bean for this recipe.  It made a HUGE difference.  So when you cut into the cheesecake, you can see the vanilla flecks in it.  It was so much better!!!

Thomas Jefferson's Macaroni & Cheese

This was my main course at yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner (I say it was "my" main course since I was the only one at the table not eating turkey). It was the first time I'd made it and it was SO good.  I included some fine cheeses which I feel made this basic dish just that much more extraordinary.

The original recipe can be found here. I made several modifications to it of course.



1 lb elbow macaroni
3-4 cups of grated sharp Cheddar cheese, or whatever
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs plus 1 tbsp butter


1...Cook pasta by following the directions on the box.  Cook only to al dente, about 8 minutes.

2...Using a large saucepan, combine milk, mustard, Worcestershire and butter over medium heat.  As it warms up, add cheeses, thyme, cayenne, pepper, salt, nutmeg and flour.  Stir until all cheese is melted. 

3...Combine cheese mixture with the pasta in a 9x13 pan.  Combine the breadcrumbs with the butter and evenly spread over the macaroni.

4...Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Allow it to cool about 5 minutes before serving.


This was absolutely scrumptious!  I used 1 cup Wisconsin cheddar, 1 cup Dutch gouda, 1 cup Gruyere and I went half a step further and added 1/2 cup cubed Velveeta.  Yes, Velveeta.  I went through all the trouble to add the other "nice" cheeses and I go and add processed cheese.  Why?  It made it a little creamier.  And I wanted it in there, no apologies.

I also used regular breadcrumbs instead of the Panko.  It was still magnificent - and very rich.

One important note I should add, I only made HALF the amount since I was pretty much the only person eating this for dinner.  That said, I used a Pyrex glass loaf pan instead of the 9x13 pan.  I only made 1 box of elbow macaroni (quinoa pasta :) BUT... I used the same amount of cheese! It ended up being even richer and creamier.  SOOOOOOO good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Pie (recipe)

It's almost Thanksgiving.  This year, I decided to take the plunge and try making a pumpkin pie.  No, I've never made one before.  I wanted to take the time in advance to experiement with the pie so I could avoid last-minute suprises. 

So far, the pie looks YUMMY!  I have to wait for it to cool a bit before trying.  (By the way, the recipe is here).




1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk


1...Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2...Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.               

3...Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)               

Personal Notes:
I replaced the 3/4 sugar with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  A

lso, this recipe as followed makes more filling than a 9" pie plate can handle.  I had to dump some out so it wouldn't overflow. 

For the spices, I used pumpkin pie spice.  People may tell you to use the individual spices as directed, but really, pumpkin pie spice has the same blend.  It works for me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kalamata Olive, Tomato, and Cheese Melt

This is another recipe I came across from It looked good so I thought I could make it to have for a few meals. 



1 (16 ounce) package rotini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
20 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.               

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, jalapeno, and green bell pepper until onions are soft and translucent. Stir in tomatoes, wine, and kalamata olives. Simmer 15 minutes. Toss pasta with sauce until evenly coated. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with feta cheese and Cheddar cheese.               

Bake 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Set oven to broiler setting. Broil for 5 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and bubbly.               

I threw in sundried tomatoes to the mix for some additional flavor.  It goes really well with everything else in there.  I also used quinoa pasta. I just like it better.  I also lightened up the feta cheese and went with reduced fat.  For the wine, merlot :)

Overall I like the dish, but it's nothing special.  I'll probably make it again at some point.  Although, I generally stay away from pasta dishes unless there's something irresistible about them (like the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese).

Makes 8 servings, 420 calories/serving.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Yes, we're back to the pumpkin recipes.  Really though, it's only because I have pumpkin puree left over from last week's baking.  When I saw this latest recipe I thought they sounded delish - and they are!



2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
24 pecan halves

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar

Makes 24 muffins

For the filling, in a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg and sugar until smooth; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.               

Divide half of the batter among 24 greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Drop filling by teaspoonfuls over batter. Top with remaining batter. Place a pecan on each muffin if desired.               

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

As per usual, I lightened the recipe where I could.  I used Egg Beaters for the eggs, unsweetened applesauce for the oil and I omitted the pecans.  Although, I purposely left out the pecans because I'm not a big fan of them.

The muffins came out great - even without the pecans.  I halved the recipe and came out with 10 muffins (I like them a little bigger).  Each muffin is about 160 calories.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nutella Sandwich Cookies

I just picked out this recipe from a Cooking Light magazine (Nov 2011).  Ever since Rob and I travelled to Paris several years ago and were introduced to Nutella crepes, I've been addicted to the stuff.  The addiction is so bad that I don't even allow it into the apartment.  Because it'll be gone in a day.
However, when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it out and so far the Nutella's lasted.  I've been showing considerable restraint.

The cookies in question are Nutella Sandwich Cookies.  They're tasty.  A little on the dense side, but full of hazlenutty-cocoa goodness.  Although, when it came time to slice the cookies to fill them with the Nutella, they crumbled a little.  Not terrible, as you can see by the photo, but it was challenging to put everything together without completely breaking them apart.


13 oz jar Nutella

2 TBL unsalted butter, room temperature

1 extra-large egg

1 1/4 cups self-rising cake flour


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment. 

Beat together 3/4 cup of the Nutella, the butter and egg.

Slowly add the flour until a wet dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently, adding more flour if necessary; the dough will be sticky.

Divide the dough into 18 pieces and roll each into a perfect ball, flouring your hands as you go.  Place several inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake 12 minutes, until firm.  Cool 10 minutes on the sheet.

Using a serrated knife, split each cookie in half horizontally.  Spread each bottom half with 1 tsp Nutella.  Replace the tops, pressing lightly.

Makes 18 cookies, roughly 160 calories each.


I used a small (1 tablespoon-sized) ice cream scooper to handle the dough.  It was so much easier!

Watch the oven as your cookies bake.  The first couple I did burned on the bottom and they were still only in there for 10 minutes.  The second try I kept them in only about 7 minutes - and I dropped the heat down to 350.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grandma's Yeast Cookies

I always make these at the holidays without fail.  I would make them all year round but then I would be eating them ALL the time and my waistline just can't be having that.  There is little to no self-control when I'm around these cookies I love them that much.  When others have them they give me that puzzled look and ask, "What is that in there? Fig? Date?"  No and no.  It's full of prunes!  It is because of these cookies that I developed a fondness for prunes - I kid you not.  They really are that good.

Grandma's Yeast Cookies is a recipe my mother got from her mother and it's quite possible it was handed down from her mom, Great-Grandma Carney (who immigrated to Williamsburg, Brooklyn from Poland with the Carney clan in the early 1900's).

Anyhow, I'm pleased to be sharing such a special family recipe with you...


5 or 6 cups of flour
1 lb margarine (butter, spry or Crisco will also work fine)
4 eggs
1 can prune filling (or puree a bag of Sunsweet prunes in the food processor)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of warm milk, diluted with one packet of yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar

Mix flour with 1 lb margarine and salt, mix well.

Add eggs, mix again.

On the stovetop, heat the milk and vanilla (it only needs to be warm, not hot).  Pour in yeast to dilute.

Add milk/yeast/vanilla mixture.  Knead dough until it comes clean away from the bowl. 

Cover with waxed paper and chill for about 6 to 7 hours, allowing the yeast to rise.

When ready to make the cookies, mix 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar together.  Sprinkle on a board and roll out a small amount of dough.  Cut into squares (about 3"x3"), place 1/2 tsp of prune filling in one corner and roll them.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes (although I usually check on them around 6-7 minutes). I consider them done once the bottoms are golden.

Recipe yields approximately 100 yummy cookies (although I make them a little bigger so I'd say about 50-60 :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vegetarian Four-Cheese Lasagna

Don't be fooled by the recipe's title.  Yes... it's another pumpkin recipe.  I know for a few of you it's been a source of amusement, but I gotta tell you... for me, it's been a source of yumminess!  I LOVE pumpkin recipes and frankly I'm making a lot of them now because it is the season to do so. 

The newest dish I made was this Vegetarian Four-Cheese Lasagna (original link here). As usual, I made some modifications but it's really delicious and filling enough as a main dish.  As a matter of fact, I left out one of the cheeses.

By the way, this isn't my photo of the dish, although it looked similar.  I forgot to snap a pic before cutting into it...



2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
5 tomatoes
1 pint ricotta cheese
9 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup pesto
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
fresh pasta sheets
1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet and roast in oven until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grill eggplant on a charcoal grill or fry in a skillet, turning once, until charred and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Halve tomatoes and place on baking sheet in oven for last 15 minutes of pumpkin time; cook until tender and wrinkly.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, feta, pesto, eggs, salt and pepper until well mixed. Fold roasted pumpkin into ricotta mixture.
  4. Spoon half of the tomato sauce into a 9x13 baking dish. Lay two pasta sheets over the sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices over pasta and top with half the ricotta mixture. Cover with two more pasta sheets. Arrange the roasted tomatoes evenly over the sheets and spoon the remaining half the ricotta mixture over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Top with remaining two sheets of pasta. Pour remaining tomato sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

I actually changed it quite a bit.  Frankly, I think I should have been truer to the recipe.  I left out the tomato sauce and feta cheese completely.  I cut back on the pesto sauce (to 1/2 cup).  Overall, the dish would have been better with these items left in.  I can see how it would round out the flavor more.  The way I made it has a more mellow flavor.  I don't want to say bland because I really loved it - and could taste the grilled eggplants and tomatoes (I did include those).

I used Egg Beaters for the eggs and Barilla no-cook lasagna sheets. 

Oh, I also made it in a 9x9 glass dish instead of the 9x13.  It was deeper that way.

While I did enjoy this recipe, I will probably make it next time with all the ingredients as posted above. 

It came to 6 servings and 330 calories per serving.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

So my husband and I finally finished off the pumpkin corn muffins (which were yummy by the way).  Then the big decision came on which muffins to make next.  I like baking muffins fairly consistently in the colder weather.  First off, I don't mind having the oven on and second, they are great to grab and go.  With my teaching schedule what it's been recently, having a muffin on hand is mighty convenient.

That all said, I decided to make Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins.  You can follow the link for the original recipe.  Though as usual I made some revisions and gave it my own flair.  By the way, the pictures really don't do the muffins justice... and the streusel topping kinda sank in.  Although, when you bite into this muffin you bite into apple cinnamon yumminess which makes everything else right in the universe...


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 TBL pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple

Crumb topping:
2 TBL all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp butter

1... Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin pan or use paper liners.

2... In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil.  Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten.  Fold in apples.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.

3... In a small bowl, mix together 2 TBL flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinking topping evenly over muffin batter.

4... Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Makes 18 muffins

I made quite a few changes to this!  I'm sure the above recipe is wonderful, but I always try to lighten dishes where possible.

To start, I only made half the batch.  After all, what the heck are my husband and I going to do with 18 muffins?!?  We just don't need that many.  I can always make more.

Getting to the recipe; I used Bisquick instead of flour.  Not a huge difference in calories, but still worth it.  Besides, then I didn't have to use baking powder since the pancake mix has it in there.  I used Egg Beaters for the egg and unsweetened applesauce in place of the oil.  Cutting out the oil makes a huge difference!  And the muffins are still fluffy and taste fantastic.

I used a Gala apple. De-lish!

My version made 8 muffins at 195 calories each.  And my apartment smells like warm pumpkins and apples :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Broccoli & Cheese Pie

For the past few days I was thinking - almost dreaming - about the spinach quiche I was going to make (once I finished the last of the butternut squash dish I cooked up last week).  As I was preparing to make it this afternoon I happened to come across an old Betty Crocker recipe for "Impossibly Easy Spinach and Feta Pie".  So I decided to morph together both recipes and substitute broccoli for the spinach and cheddar/fat-free mozzarella for the feta.  A tweak here, a tweak there... experimenting is fun.  Especially when it works.

Here's the recipe as I've incorporated it...

Broccoli & Cheese Pie:

1 package (10 ounces) chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
1/2 of one onion, chopped (I like Vidalias)
1/2 cup pancake mix (Bisquick works)
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 eggs

Makes 6-8 servings.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease pie plate, 9x1 1/4 inches.  Mix broccoli, cheese and onions in pie plate.

Stir remaining ingredients until blended.  Pour into pie plate.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

As I mentioned, I used broccoli instead of spinach as the recipe originally called for.  Maybe next time I'll try it with spinach.  I just wanted something a little different this time.

I used fat free mozzarella cheese instead of regular to make it a little lighter.  You can probably use most cheeses too, doesn't have to be mozzarella.  I just went with what I was feeling. 

I used skim milk instead of full fat.  I'm sure the 4% milk would work wonderfully.  I personally never use it.

Finally, since I've been eating a good deal of eggs lately I decided to try Egg Beaters instead of real eggs.  Again, I just wanted to do something different.

I measured the dish out for 6 servings.  Each serving is about 175 calories as I've made it.  If you use full fat ingredients that will change.

By the way, I just had the first piece and it's YUMMY!