Sunday, October 31, 2010

Welcome Baby Dinner Part 4 - The Easy Part

Since I discovered that pumpkin has reappeared in stores, I have been really wanting to make Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes (a Paula Deen recipe...if it has butter in the title it HAS to be Paule Deen!).  So, when I "scheduled" myself to make dinner for my friends, I planned to make this before anything else!  I have made Gooey Butter Cakes before but not pumpkin style.

  I have tasted it, though, and they are delicious!  Anyway, I do modify the recipe a bit by decreasing the butter and eggs in the filling, the amount is just not necessary.  My only oven!  For some reason, it burned the bottoms of the cake.  I had to shave the bottoms off them in order to make them presentable.  Otherwise, they were great...and I've been asked for the recipe several times. 

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes adapted from Paule Deen


  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.
Allow to cool. Overnight in the refrigerator isn't a bad idea!  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Welcome Baby Dinner Part 3

After I decided what to make for side dishes, I felt like I should provide some sort of bread but didn't have time to go to the grocery store...again, otherwise I would have just done the old standby of Sister Schubert's!  So, I pulled out my Southern Sideboards cookbook and looked up biscuits.  I mean, a cookbook with the word southern in the title HAS to have several biscuit recipes.

I haven't really found a recipe for biscuits that I love because I'm used to those frozen Pilsbury biscuits, which are tall and flaky.  No matter what I try, I cannot make biscuits like that...I'm not sure that they exist!  Anyway, this recipe is true to most biscuit recipes I've found and is fairly flat but it did have a nice, flaky texture.  I ended up using white whole wheat flour and enjoyed the extra wheaty flavor that it lended to the biscuits.  Try them out and let me know what you think.

Everyday Biscuits from Southern Sideboards
1 cup flour (AP or white whole wheat)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk (I accidentally only used 1/4 cup and then added a little later, maybe a total of 1/3 cup?)

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix flour, salt, powder in a bowl.  Cut (or mash in with your fingers) shortening until it looks like meal.  Stir in milk.  Let stand for 1 minute.  Kneat on a floured board and roll out.  Cut with biscuit cutter (or a small glass!). Place on baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown.  No time was given but probably anywhere from 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doughnuts, Donuts

Do-nuts.  Doughnuts.  Dough nuts.  Donuts.  No matter how you spell it, these are yummy treats and there are so many versions.  The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.  We were given the option of a yeasted doughnut or cake doughnut with a pumpkin twist! I actually made these the first weekend of the month.  I decided on the pumpkin cake style doughnuts.  I have never deep fried anything on my own and wasn't planning on frying any doughnuts; however, after baking 2/3 of the batch, I decided that I really should try some fried.

  Both versions ended up being really good, though I thought that the baked version was better after sitting overnight.  The only thing I would recommend would be to wait to glaze them until right before serving.  I glazed them the night before and had to re-glaze because they had soaked everything in overnight.  I took them to my Sunday School class and everyone really enjoyed them. (Dark - fried, lighter - baked)

I think some people would argue that a doughnut isn't a doughnut unless it's fried...but I would argue that you can enjoy a baked doughnut just as much!  Thanks to Lori for a great and fun challenge!  Below is the recipe for the pumpkin doughnuts.

Pumpkin Doughnuts:
Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 15 minutes
Chilling time - 3 hours
Cooking time - 10 minutes
Yield: About 24 doughnuts & 24 doughnut holes
All Purpose Flour 3.5 cup / 840 ml / 490 gm / 17 ¼ oz
Baking Powder 4 teaspoon / 20 ml / 24 gm / .85 oz
Table Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Cinnamon, ground 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Ginger, ground ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Nutmeg, ground ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml / 1.5 gm / .05 oz
Cloves, ground 1/8 teaspoon / .6 ml / ¾ gm / .025 oz
White Granulated Sugar 1 cup / 240 ml / 225 gm / 8 oz
Butter, Unsalted 3 Tablespoon / 45 ml / 42 gm / 1.5 oz
Egg, Large 1
Egg Yolk, Large 2
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon / 5 ml
Buttermilk ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon / 135 ml /
Pumpkin 1 cup / 240 ml / 285 gm / 10 oz (Canned pure pumpkin or fresh cooked and pureed pumpkin – DON’T use pumpkin pie mix!)
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

Powdered (Icing) Sugar 2 cup / 480 ml / 250 gm / 9 oz
Whipping Cream (About 32% butter fat) 4 Tablespoon + more if needed / 60 ml
  1. Whisk together the first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (the mixture will be grainy and not smooth). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover with plastic; chill 3 hours.
  2. Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour. Press out 1/3 of dough on floured surface to 1/2- to 2/3-inch (12 mm to 15 mm) thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) -diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Arrange on sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used.
  3. Using 1-inch (25 mm) diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches (40 mm). Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F (185°C to 188°C). Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.
  5. For baking, bake at 375F for about 10-12 minutes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome Baby Dinner Part 2

When I was trying to decide what to make along side the pork loin for my friends, I knew that I was going to do roasted squash and zucchini.  I made that one time for them before and they really enjoyed it.  But I wasn't sure what else to make.  I didn't really want to do potatoes au gratin, though that is what I think of because it's what my mom usually makes.  I thought about dirty rice but I wasn't sure about my skills vs. the dad's taste for rice...he's Asian and has a keen tongue when it comes to rice.  So, I started a search which ended on cheese grits.  The recipe is from Ina Garten's book The Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics.  I have had this book for a while and haven't made anything from it...but I really should.  It is a beautiful cookbook with yummy recipes. 

Anyway, the grits were super easy to make (after I found the grits in the store...I was convinced that it was NOT the "cook in 5 minutes grits"...but it was!) and turned out delicious.  They even reheated well.  So, grab some 5-minute grits and make this quick dish for your family.  Come back for so easy, flaky (though not puffy) biscuits)!

Creamy Cheddar Grits adapted from The Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics
1 cup quick-cooking grits (the 5 minute kind)
1 1/4 cups milk (she called for half and half but I didn't get that)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I just used a spoon of Brummel and Brown)
1 1/2 cups strong flavored cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Boil 4 cups of water in a large saucepan.  Add 1-2 teaspoons salt then add the grits in a slow stream, constantly stirring.  Reduce heat to low and simmer (stir occasionally) until the grits thicken.  This takes around 5 minutes.  At this point, add the half and half (or works just fine!) and butter/margarine to the grits and stir.  It will thicken as it cooks.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cover, reduce heat to low again, and cook (stir occasionally) for 45 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese, green onions, and pepper.  Season to your taste and enjoy!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Welcome Baby Dinner Part 1

I have some friends who just had their first baby.  He is quite a cutie and looks just like his daddy.  I had told them before he was born that I wanted to make them dinner but I was going to wait a couple of weeks after he was born because her mom was going to be there the first week and his mom the next.  When the time came, I didn't want to make a casserole because I feel like that's what is "typical" for a post-baby meal.

I decided on pork loin, roasted squash, cheese grits, biscuits, and pumpkin gooey butter cakes.  It was a yummy meal (yes, I kept some for myself!  :-)  First up is the pork loin.  The night before I made a marinade and put that and the pork in a large zip-loc bag and refrigerated overnight.

The next day I cooked it at 350 for about 1.5 hours (thought it was going to take 3...glad I checked!) and it was great.  Matt kept raving about how moist it was.  Come back soon for cheese grits ala the Barefoot Contessa!

Honey Marinated Pork Loin
1 pork loin
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic
onion flakes

Mix honey, W. sauce, garlic, onion flakes together.  Add about 1/3 cup of water to thin the marinade slightly.  Place pork loin in a gallon sized zip-loc bag and pour the marinade over the meat.  Place in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place loin and marinade in a baking dish and bake for about 1.5-3 hours (depending on size of loin - mine just fit in the gallon sized bag length wise) or until internal temperature is 150-155 degrees F.  Enjoy!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's Muddy the Waters

A few days ago, I mentioned making a cookie when I was at home because my mom had picked it out.  Well, I wanted to make these cookies...but I gave in and made these first.  She found the recipe on an advertisement for Southern Living's Christmas Cookbook.  They turned out to be really good and would be a good Chrstmas cookie.  The cookie is soft, almost like a fudgy brownie.

I love the marshmallows the best as they browned in the oven.  But even for me, a self-professed non-chocolate lover, these were good chocolate cookies!  Try them for yourself!

Mississippi Mud Cookies
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in microwave for 1 minute and stir, then melt in 30 second intervals until completely melted.  Cream the butter and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating with each addition.  Add vanilla and melted chocolate and beat in.  Combine dry ingredients and add to chocolate mixture.  Mix until well blended, then add nuts and chocolate chips.  Stir. 

Place by spoonfuls onto a baking stone (or parchment lined sheet).  Press 3 marshmallows onto each spoonful of dough. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


So not really...but I was really disappointed.  A couple of weeks ago I came up with a really delicious and satisfying "stoup," as Rachel Ray would say.  It was a lentil, eggplant, and spinach dish and I topped it with some tzatziki dip I had. was SO good! 
 Well, I pulled it out of the refrigerator in order to put some in a container so I could take some for dinner on call.  I thought, I have to remember to put that back in the refrigerator...and then promptly forgot.  But I didn't realize it until I got home from my 30 hour call and wondered where the pot was when I looked in the refrigerator.  OH NO!  Sure enough, I looked over and there was the pot sitting on the counter. (This picture is when I made it, not from the disaster.)

When I pulled the top off, there were a couple of fuzzy spots already developing.  Grrrr....I wasted half the dish because I forgot to put it in the refrigerator.  Oh, well!  I'll just have to make it again...because it was really good!  Try it for yourself....but remember to put it back in the refrigerator!

Lentil, Eggplant, Spinach "Stoup"
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 eggplant, cubed
1 cup lentils (not red, they're too soft)
3 cups veggie or chicken broth
1 can chopped, roasted tomatoes
1 box frozen spinach
Cavender's seasoning

Heat a stock pot (I used my LeCruset pot).  Put a small amount of olive oil in the bottom (about 1 T).  When heated, put onion, garlic, and eggplant in the pot.  Season with Cavender's.  Cook for 7-8 minutes or until eggplant is softened.  Put lentils and broth in the pot.  The broth should just cover everything.  If you need a little more broth, that is fine.  Put heat on simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are tender.  When they are tender, add the tomatoes and spinach.  Cook until spinach is warmed and stir to distribute.  Top with tzatziki, sour cream, or yogurt.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Berry Wonderful Cookies

I always make cookies when I go visit my parents.  Well, mama had a recipe she wanted me to make (coming later) and I had a recipe I wanted to make. 

So, I made mama's cookies for a cookout ( and made some of the people there take some so that we woud "run out" of cookies) and made "my" cookies toward the end of the visit.  I found some dried blueberries on sale (something like 60% off) at Kroger one days...unfortunately, wasn't thinking and only bought one bag, they were still pricey! 

Anyway, after I found those, I saw this yummy looking recipe on Jenny's site.  Blueberry, oatmeal, and white chocolate...sounds delicious to me!  I couldn't find the caramel bits....but these cookies were SO sweet even without those.  If you have a sweet tooth, these are definitey cookies you'll like! 

Blueberry, White Chocolate, Oatmeal Cookies slightly modified from Jenny
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure vanilla
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 Cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 Cups dried blueberries
1 Cup white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.
2.  Place flour, oatmeal, and baking soda into a large bowl; mix to combine.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients along with the blueberries and white chocolate.  Mix until just combined.
3.  Use a medium cookie scoop and scoop dough onto a silpat, parchment lined baking sheet, or baking stone.  Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are just turning golden brown (mine cooked for more like 12-13 minutes).  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Grilled Mexican

When I went home a couple of months ago, I had several ideas for supper.  It ended up being a world traveling tour!  First we went to the restaurant in Memphis and had Russian food.  Then we had Vietnamese Summer Rolls, which I'll post about later, and then we made grilled quesadillas.  I think my parents were a bit wary of these.  They weren't sure how the grilling bit would work...but it turned out great!  We had some leftover chicken and I sauteed some peppers and onions, as well as roasted squash and zucchini.

All you have to do it put the filling ingredients that you want, put some (or a lot) cheese on it, fold in half, and grill!  So good!  The tortillas got a tad crispy on the grill, which I loved.  We served it with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.  Side dish was watermelon and "grilling beans"...which weren't so good!
They were basically baked beans with a kick.  So, if you need a quick dinner that can please everyone...even a picky eater...try these quesadillas.  You could even do them on an indoor grill/George Foreman. 

Grilled Quesadillas
chicken/beef/shrimp/beans (cut chicken/beef into strips)
Sauteed onions
sauteed peppers
roasted/grilled veggies
Sides: salsa, sour cream, guacamole (just avacados, lemon juice, and salt)

Place desired filling ingredients on HALF of the tortilla.  When filled, flip the unfilled side on top of the filled side.  Slide on to grill.  When most of cheese has melted, flip over (just roll from one side to the other by rolling over the folded edge) and cook until completely melted and you get grill marks.  Serve with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.  Enjoy!