Monday, November 28, 2011

Fall Cooking

Over the last couple of weeks we have done some baking.  Jackson had to take a small pumpkin to school for a math activity and when he brought it back home we baked it and made our own pumpkin puree.  It was very easy to do.

Pumpkin Puree
Place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet and roast in an 425 degree F oven for about 1 hour.  The bigger the pumpkin the longer the time.  Once the pumpkin is roasted let cool.  Slice the pumpkin in half and scape out the seeds.  Spoon out the pumpkin flesh into a food processor or blender.  Process till it looks like the can pumpkin you can buy.  Store in fridge for a couple of days or freeze.

With our pumpkin puree we choose to make pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pancakes.  For the muffins I used my mother-in-law's pumpkin bread recipe and found a pancake recipe online.

Pumpkin Bread
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c oil
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 2/3 c flour
1 c nuts--optional
Combine eggs and sugar; mix well, add pumpkin, oil and water; blend thoroughly.  Add all dry ingredients.  Pour into greased loaf pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 1 hour.  ***For mini muffins bake for ~ 10 mins. For large muffins bake ~ 20 mins.
Jeffrey and his friend helped me make the pumpkin muffins one afternoon.  We had a lot of fun and got pretty messy. 

Martha Stewart Pumpkin Pancakes
For a spiced breakfast treat, whisk 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; 2 tablespoons sugar; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt; 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; and a pinch of ground cloves. In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup milk, 6 tablespoons pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 egg; fold mixture into dry ingredients. Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat; pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side; serve with butter and syrup. Makes 8 to 10.
Jeffrey and Josh liked the pancakes a lot.  Jackson did not and I thought they were OK.    I would like to make them again because the first time I put in to much nutmeg.  Lesson learned that morning is not to try a new recipe when you are running late.

Thanksgiving Day I made the green bean casserole to take to Josh's family dinner.  I choose a healthier recipe I found in Southern Living magazine instead of the dumping can recipe I have made before.

Home-style Green Bean Casserole
makes: 8 serving
hands on time: 25 min.
total time: 55 min.
1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
2 T butter
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 c nonfat buttermilk
1 T Ranch dressing mix ( I made my own)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp. butter
1 (8oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
vegetable cooking spray
1 c French fried onions, crushed
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook green beans in boiling salted water to cover in a Dutch oven 4 to 6 minutes or to desired degree of doneness; drain.  Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and pat dry.  Melt 2 T butter in Dutch oven over medium heat; whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in 1 1/2 c milk; cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until sauce is thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat, and whisk in buttermilk and next 4 ingredients.  Melt 1 tsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, and saute 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.  Gently toss mushrooms and green beans in buttermilk sauce.  Place n a 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Combine french fried onions and next 2 ingredients; sprinkle over green bean mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  Serve immediately.  ***I baked this the day before and warmed on Thanksgiving day and it was just as good as the time I served it immediately.

For our weekend with my family I baked a sweet potato pound cake from Southern Living and Cranberry muffins from 

Sweet Potato Pound Cake
makes: 10 to 12 servings
hands on time: 25 min.
total time: 2 hr. 40 min.
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 c cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with a heavy duty electric stand mixer until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.  Add sweet potatoes, and beat well.  Stir together flour, next 3 ingredients, and if desired, cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  Spoon batter into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).  ***About half way though the baking time I covered with foil to keep the outside from browning to much.

Cranberry Muffins
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c sour cream
2 c flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 c chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.  Fold in sour cream.  Combine flour, baking powder, soda, nutmeg and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.  Fold in cranberries.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two thirds full.  Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over muffins.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until muffin test done.  Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove to a wire rack.

Not sure what I will be baking and cooking for the Christmas season, but I will be sure to post the recipes. 

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