Sunday, February 12, 2017

MINI PUMPKIN MUFFINS WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING




My little granddaughter, Hope, loves her pumpkin bread!  She turned one year old last October and she had a "Our Little Pumpkin Is Turning One" themed birthday party.  I made these little mini pumpkin muffins because, I mean how perfect....she loves pumpkin muffins and she is a little "mini" herself.  She lovvvved them!  I actually substituted sweet potato this past week for the pumpkin and she loved them just as much.
My daughter Holly and her sweet baby, Hope.

I found this recipe for pumpkin muffins while going through some old recipes of my Mom's. I think what caught my eye was first...that it won 2nd place in a contest and the second thing that caught my eye was all of the different spices!  Yummm!  It almost seemed like too many spices but after tasting it, it is apparent that they all work together perfectly and make each bite super duper flavorful.  Definitely deserving of an award in my books.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of vegetable oil and 3 cups of sugar.  I felt like 3 cups of sugar was just too much so I backed it down to 2 cups.  I cannot imagine having another cup in this recipe because 2 is just right....sweet but not too sweet.  Then I read that you could use coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil in recipes.  I knew that would be much healthier so I replaced half of the oil with the coconut oil.  I may use only coconut oil next time.  It was so moist.

Fast forward to this past week, I was keeping both Hope and her brother Alex for a few days.  I baked a few sweet potatoes for dinner one night and the only person who ate any was me....so I had like 3 potatoes left.  I hated to just stick them in the fridge because in my house, that is where good food goes to die.  Wahhh!!! I hate to say that but you have to be able to admit you have a problem before you can fix it...right?  Okay getting back on the subject.  I had three sweet potatoes left.  I thought of my pumpkin muffin recipe and the two worlds collided....sweet potato muffins! I didn't even put any frosting on them and Hope and Alex both loved them.  So much so that I had to cut them off.  They wanted them for snacks, breakfast, dessert...pretty much all day.  They are low in sugar but not sugar free guys...gotta pace yourselves. LoL!

Hope you like them like Hope and Alex do!

MINI PUMPKIN MUFFINS WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

2 cups Pumpkin Puree 
 4 eggs
1/2 cup Coconut Oil, (melted and cooled)
1/2 cup Canola Oil
2/3 cup Milk
2 cups of Sugar
3-1/2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Allspice

Preheat 350 Degrees

In a large bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients until well blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.

Add 1 cup of the dry ingredients at a time, to the wet, continuing until everything is blended together.

Fill mini muffin cups to just above half full.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until center springs back when touched.

Makes approximately 8 dozen miniature muffins.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

4 ounces Cream Cheese
4 ounces Butter
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and the butter together in a large mixing bowl.
Add the powdered sugar slowly to the cream cheese/butter mixture on low speed of mixer.
Add the Vanilla and mix until well blended.

Place the frosting in a gallon size ziploc bag.  

Snip a very small piece off of one corner of the bag.

Squeeze the icing onto the cooled muffins in a circular design.

ENJOY!






Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BASIL PESTO



Can we all just agree that pesto is magical?

It is like the most perfect combination of ingredients.  Whoever, created it first needs a medal...seriously!  

I love that it is fresh and can be used in so many ways.  Tonight, I had a recipe that called for pre-made pesto, but it is so super easy to make and quick that I didn't even consider not making my own.  If you have a food processor, you can have it made in 5 minutes...or less.  

The good thing is that you can put pesto on pretty much anything and make it taste ahhh-mazing!  Try it on those vegetables you can't get your family to eat.  Put it on toasted baguette slices instead of garlic butter or toss some pesto with your favorite pasta for a delicious entree.  And a little goes a long way, so I still have some in my fridge from tonight's dinner.   Think I'll toss some over pasta tomorrow night's dinner.

BASIL PESTO

2 cups fresh Basil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
2/3 cup Olive Oil
Salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth...about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

ENJOY!










Thursday, January 19, 2017

CASSEROLE SPAGHETTI



I have been making this recipe for Casserole Spaghetti ever since my kids were little.  My friend, Kelly Galloway, first made this and it has been one of my favorites ever since.

For some reason, I have not made this since my grandson, Alexander, was born.  But today, I was craving something cheesy and something with pasta and this popped into my head.  Such an easy recipe to make...have you noticed a pattern with the "easy" recipes?  I don't know if I would have ever tried this recipe if Kelly had not made it first because of the cream of mushroom soup, chili powder, and olives.  Those three items seem strange to add to spaghetti but I can attest that they are delightful little additions.  Now tonight, I did not put olives in it just because I wasn't sure if my grandkids would eat it if I added them.   What was funny was that little baby Hope, who is 16 months old, ate what was in her plate and then had seconds...along with her garlic bread because this girl is just like her Nannie...we like our bread!  Alex loved it too.  So, I got a two-thumbs-up on this recipe from the littles!

A couple of things you should know.  I used thin spaghetti and I cooked it al dente.  I knew that the spaghetti would cook more in the oven and I cannot stand mushy pasta of any sort.  I would rather under cooked spaghetti than overcooked.  Actually, I just want it cooked perfectly.  Sometimes that works out and sometimes not.  Today, we got it right!  Woo-Hoo!  Also, if you do not want to cook the meat sauce for 2 hours then you do not have to.  I have done it both ways and honestly, I cannot tell the difference.  

I made a salad and some lemon vinaigrette to drizzle over it and garlic bread to serve with the spaghetti.  It was perfect for a quick meal.  Oh and I had leftovers....that is a plus. 



CASSEROLE SPAGHETTI

1-1/2 pounds Ground Round
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
1 large Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 can Water
1 (14 ounce) can Petite Diced Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic Powder
1 (12 ounce) package of Spaghetti Noodles,cooked al dente
8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cut in chunks
1 (4 ounce) jar Olives
2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese

Brown ground round and add garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.   Add next 9 ingredients and simmer for 2 hours.  Combine meat sauce, cheese chunks, and olives in 3 quart or deep 9 X 13 ceramic baking dish.  Sprinkle grated cheeseon top.  Bake in 325 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly.

ENJOY!

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE


Monday, January 16, 2017

RED WINE VINEGAR AND GARLIC GREEN BEANS








My friend, Kelly, makes these green beans the best!

I got the recipe from her.  Before that, green beans were relegated in my house to a green bean casserole.  I like flavor and green beans never seemed to have any....until this recipe!

I literally could eat these yummy little beans all by themselves....cold on a salad....or hot with a meal.  For some reason, this sounds like the beginning of a Dr. Suess book to me!  Okay, anyway, my daughter is just as obsessed with these as I am.  I am sitting here thinking that a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes would take this up a notch.  Why have I not thought of that before?  Next time!

Super easy to make and super flavorful....enjoy!





RED WINE VINEGAR AND GARLIC GREEN BEANS

2 lbs. fresh whole Green Beans
5 cloves Garlic, minced
Little less than 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar (You might want to start with a 1/4 cup and then add more     to your liking and taste)
Little less than 1/2 cup (I use less because its my preference) Olive Oil (I use a good, extra virgin like Bertolli) 
Salt to taste.


Bring salted water to boil.



Add beans and cook for 5-6 minutes.  I like my green beans al dente.  I don't like them too soft or to crunchy, just somewhere in the middle.

Drain and submerge in cold, ice water to stop the cooking process.  Or stop the cooking just a little early and then skip this step. 


If you have chosen to submerge in cold water, then drain and place in a large, glass bowl.  Mince the garlic and add to the beans.  Shake vinegar over beans. Toss.  Drizzle oil over beans and add salt to your liking and toss again.

When you are ready to serve, reheat in microwave for approximately one minute. 

Stir to coat beans.

ENJOY!

Monday, January 2, 2017

DOROTHY'S MARINATED VEGETABLE SALAD



My Mom, Dorothy, used to make this salad every Thanksgiving.  She loved it and I think everyone else did too....except me.  

I just never did like this dish.  I guess it might have been because it had green peas and canned green beans. Those two items are two of my least favorite things in the food world, right behind oysters and vital organs.  So, every year she would ask what she could make to bring over for the Thanksgiving meal and I would say "bring whatever you want."  I knew it was going to be this salad and that was okay, but I was not going to eat any of it.   Then, one Thanksgiving...in a weak moment...I put some on my plate...and then I understood what everyone else had figured out....it was really good!

I think I have already told y'all this, but my Mom has dementia now.  She hasn't been able to make this salad in years and I really miss that now...I really miss the old her...the one who would make this salad every year.  This CHRISTmas I found myself really wanting to eat this salad.  I bought all of the ingredients but somehow never found the time to make it.  Well, I made it today for our One-Day-Late-New-Years-Day-Meal.  My sister-in-law made an Apple Pie and a Peach Pie, my son made his famous Pork Shoulder...it was so delicious.  I made Blackeyed Peas, Sauteed Cabbage, Cornbread and my beautiful Mom's Marinated Vegetable Salad.   Maybe, it was a good thing to wait because I think it was a good way to start the New Year remembering the good things...no matter how seemingly small.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!


DOROTHY'S MARINATED VEGETABLE SALAD

(1) 14.5 ounce can French Cut Green Beans, drained
(1) 11 ounce can White Shoepeg Corn, drained
(1) 8.5 ounce can Green Peas, drained
(1) 2 ounce jar chopped Pimentos, drained
2 Bunches Green Onions, chopped
1 cup Celery, chopped
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt and Pepper


Did you notice that in the picture above I bought the wrong beans?  I didn't notice until I opened them up.  
So I took each bean and sliced it into "french-cut" green beans.  
Yep...every....single...bean! (facepalm)


Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium glass bowl.


In a small saucepot,  bring to boil the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper.


Let cool and pour over ingredients.

Refrigerate overnight.

ENJOY!