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Archive for November, 2008

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is wonderful! One important tip: make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature or you will get lumps in your cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake (Paula Deen)

Crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter
Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

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Taco Soup

Excellent and easy soup to make.

Taco Soup (allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

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I LOVE this risotto. Its so delicious that I want to make it all year round.

Butternut Squash Risotto (Ina Garten)

1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced (I used bacon… so either works)
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

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The flavors of this crockpot dish were excellent but it turned out a bit dry. Watch your liquids when you make it. Next time, I will double the sauce.

CrockPot Indian Curry (crockpot365.blogspot.com)

– 1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
– 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
– 4-6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken thighs
– 1 T tomato paste
– 2 T curry powder
– 1 t ground coriander
– 1 t ground cumin
– 1 inch peeled and grated ginger
– few dashes of hot sauce (skipped)
– 1 yellow onion. chopped
– 2 or 3 cloves of smashed and chopped garlic
– 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
– 1/2 of an eggplant, chopped skipped because I hate it and added butternut squash instead)
– 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

The Directions.

Assemble all of your spices, coconut milk, tobasco sauce, and tomato paste. Combine the sauce ingredients in the bottom of your crockpot. The sauce will be a lovely yellow.

Add the chicken, flipping it over a few times to coat it nicely. Pour in the garbanzo beans.

Wash and chop all of the vegetables, and then add to the Crock-Pot. Don’t worry about stirring them in the sauce. Let them sit on top of the chicken and steam away.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6. I cooked our dinner on high for almost 6 hours. The chicken was fully cooked, but still had shape, and the vegetables were soft and quite nice.

Stir carefully to mix flavors. If you stir too rough, the sweet potato will fall apart.

Serve over rice;

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Blueberry Streusel Scones

They blueberry scones had a different texture then scones I have made in the past. They still tasted good, but I don’t think they are a favorite.

Blueberry Streusel Scones (joyofbaking.com)

Scone Dough:
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup (150 grams) fresh blueberries
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk or cream

Brushing tops of scones:
Milk or Cream

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup (55 grams) brown sugar
1/4 cup (35 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons (30 grams) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

For the Scones: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the blueberries. In a small measuring cup combine the cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough or the scones will be tough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (4 cm) thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into four pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream or milk.

For the Streusel Topping: In a small bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until crumbly. Top each scone with a teaspoon or two of the streusel mixture. Cover and refrigerate any leftover streusel mixture.

Bake the scones until nicely browned, about 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a scone comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. These are best eaten the day they are made but can be covered and stored for a few days.

Makes 8 scones

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Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

This soup is so good. You can control how spicy you like it by adjusting the amount of pepper you add. We love it spicy, so I added more than the recipe called for.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (from Rachel Ray)

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
Coarse salt
20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and

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Pesto Pizza

Homemade pizza is delicious but you can have the same wonderful taste without all the work. I typically pick up pizza dough at trader joes and then top it with whatever suits my mood at the time. Often, I make a veggie pesto pizza (using either homemade or store bought pesto).

Ingredients:
1 pizza dough (I used whole wheat)
1 cup pesto sauce (or as much as you want.. usually a thin layer is best)
assortments of veggies (I used 1 red pepper, 1 zucchini, 8 oz mushrooms, 1/2 onion).
1/2 cup precooked chicken (optional if you want veggie only)
8 oz mozzarella cheese

Follow the directions on how to make the dough and bake it. After rolling out dough, top pizza with pesto, cheese, veggies, and chicken. Bake according to pizza dough directions until browned and cheese is melted.

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