Pumpkin Pull-Apart Loaf

Coming into Fall and everything is pumpkin.  Lucky for me as I am a pumpkin nut.  Give me pumpkin bread, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pasta sauce, pumpkin ravioli…you put pumpkin in it, I want to try it.  

I was excited when I saw a recipe in my Facebook feed for an easy pumpkin pull apart loaf and I had all the ingredients on hand.  I didn’t save the link as I figured I could easily find it one the internet.  When I decided today is the day I did a quick google search and came up with a multiple recipes for this treat.  Below are 3 that I found.

There are minor differences in each if you take the time to review..pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix), pumpkin pie mix, egg, no egg, and cooking time.

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/pumpkin-spice-pull-apart-bread/486355a7-1159-4c50-a76c-41f433884a52

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a49734/pumpkin-spice-pull-apart-bread-recipe/

http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2016/08/pumpkin-pull-apart-loaf/

I decided to make the latter recipe from Crazy for Crust.  I am not going to repeat the recipe as you can easily go the website for yourself.  I will say that the cooking time on this recipe is only 18-24 minutes and I had to cook it for 30-45 minutes which seems more inline with the 2 other recipes.

In the end, it was delicious and a great easy find for a quick treat.  The glaze is to die for and can be used on other treats.  In fact, I think I will use the glaze for my sourdough cinnamon rolls.  I will have to try this with apple butter or another fruit based product.

Glaze:  1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream.  I may even try substituting pumpkin pie mix or just nutmeg for the cinnamon.

Biscuits cut in half horizontally

The filling: pumpkin puree, sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice

Stacked into greased loaf pan

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Rice Krispie Treats

I just got done making a bunch of Rice Krispie treats for a football fundraiser.  Who doesn’t like that ooey gooey treat?  This classic treat is so easy to make and the original recipe only calls for 3 ingredients:  butter, marshmallows and Rice Krispie cereal. When I make these treats I like to make them bigger and…of course, I have to tweak the recipe.

First, let me give you the classic recipe:  3 Tablespoons butter, 1 package (10 oz) marshmallows and 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal.

In my recipe  we are going to add to other ingredients…salt and vanilla.  Salt? YES!  Salt brings out the richness and overall flavor.  Since we are adding salt make sure you are using unsalted butter and USE REAL BUTTER!  It will make a difference.

Ingredients:

  • 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) of UNSALTED butter
  • 2- 10 oz bags of marshmallows (set aside 1/2 of one of the bags)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 1/2 C Rice Krispies

Line your 9 X 13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray to make it easy for removal.

Heat butter over medium heat in a large pot to melt.  Once melted add the salt, vanilla and a 1 1/2 bags of marshmallows.  Turn down the heat to low- meat and stir until marshmallows are melted.  Remove from heat, add cereal and remaining marshmallows.  Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour into your prepared pan and even out.  I find the best way is to lightly spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray and use that to spread the mixture.  Another trick…after you have it pretty evenly spread out cover with plastic wrap and take another 9 X 13 pan and use it to press down lightly over the mixture.  This will give you a nice even top.

Let cool (at least an hour).  Flip you pan over on a cutting board and the treats should easily come out and you just have to remove the foil.  Slice to your desired serving size and enjoy.  I like to individually wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a plastic ziploc bag or container to keep fresh.

FAQs:

  • Can I use regular size marshmallows?  Yes, however the reserved 1/2 bag that is added with the cereal will have to be cut.  You don’t have to add more “mini” marshmallows at the cereal stage but it adds a nice surprise through the treat.  Hint:  If cutting your full size marshmallows use a little cooking spray on your scissors/knife.
  • Do I really have to use 12 Tablespoons of butter? Of course not…but as the saying goes “everything tastes better with butter”.  I provided you with the original recipe and you can see it only calls for 3 Tablespoons of butter, 1 bag of marshmallows and 6 C of cereal.  You can easily lower the amount of butter but I would still use at a minimum 6 Tablespoons.  The great thing about rice krispie treats is as long as you have the general ratios it will all be okay!!  Trust me there have been times when I had to use less butter, more or less marshmallows/ cereal and guess what???  The treats were still all gone in a flash.  

Poaching Chicken

Poaching chicken is my favorite way to prepare chicken for chicken salad, enchiladas and other recipes where you need shredded/ cubed chicken.  The following recipe is what I just used when I poaching some chicken for chicken salad, however once you have the basics down you can adjust and use what you have on hand to change the flavor profile.

In a large pot place your vegetables and aromatics.  Place your chicken on top- season- cover with poaching liquid (enough to cover chicken).  Your can use any type of chicken parts you desire, with or without bones and skin.  The skin really has no use in poaching so feel free to remove before hand if you desire.  I like use bone in as it adds depth to the broth, especially if you are saving the broth for future use.

Let come to boil for about 3 minutes. Cover partly and reduce to med-low simmer for 5 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Chicken should register 165 degrees at thickest part.

Remove chicken and shred or cube.  The broth can be separated from any solids and used for other recipes.

In this recipe I placed one onion- quartered, handful of baby carrots, chopped 2 celery stalks, and a 2 inch piece of ginger sliced.  Chicken was seasoned with garlic salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and I added a couple bay leaves.  Poaching liquid:  vegetable broth and water to cover chicken.

Other ideas to use:  For the poaching liquid you can use any type of broth, wine, water, and even beer….or combination thereof.

If I am poaching for enchiladas I may add hot chopped peppers, minced garlic or hot sauce.

I also like using fennel as the fennel and ginger to make a tasty broth for soups afterwards!

 

Chicken Salad

With summer here, salads are what I usually have in the fridge for quick, easy and tasty lunches.  Currently, I have egg salad and chicken salad in the fridge.  Let’s take a look at the Chicken Salad!!IMG_5497

To my husband’s dismay, I am not a nut fan so I don’t put nuts in this chicken salad.  If you are “nutty” feel free to add pecans or walnuts to this salad for a nice crunchy texture.

Ingredients:

  • Dressing:
    • 1 cup mayo (I prefer Miracle Whip, but use your favorite brand)
    • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
    • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    • 5 teaspoons honey
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon
  • 2 poached chicken breasts, shredded or cubed
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • ~ 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans/ walnuts, chopped (optional)

What I love about this is you can add more or less of the celery, grapes, nuts to what suits your taste.

I will discuss poaching chicken in the next post but you can shred or cube your chicken.  If I use chicken breasts I will cube the chicken.  This time I used bone in whole chicken breasts with ribs, so it was easier to shred after I poached the chicken.  Either way is fine.

Looking for a time saver?  Use store bought rotisserie chicken or canned chicken.

Combine all dressing ingredients together then add your dry ingredients.  Stir and refrigerate to allow the flavors to come together.

You can make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate while you are poaching your chicken.  Allow your chicken to cool before adding to your dressing.

Use in a sandwich or on top of greens.

Fennel Bok Choy Pasta

The one thing I love about cooking is being able to come up with a meal out of nothing and being able to use what is left in the fridge….waste not.  Looking through the fridge I came up with a 1/2 bulb of fennel, some bok choy, 2 Italian sausages, and about a cup of leftover cooked spaghetti.

Take the casing off of the sausages and cook in about 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil- breaking up the sausage.  Cut up the fennel and bok choy and add to the cooked sausage.  I added some fresh cracked pepper, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning and a couple shakes of red pepper flakes.  Let cook about 3 minutes then I added about 1 teaspoon of soy sauce for salt.  Lastly, I added about 1 cup of leftover white wine and the pasta.  Stir until heated and enjoy!  Nothing went to waste and actually it was probably enough for 2 people.

 

 

Baked Parsnip Fries

One of my friends posted on Facebook she was making parsnip fries.  I had seen this before but never got around to trying it.  So simple and tasty- why had I not tried this???  You will not miss the potato and this will be your side next time you make that burger.

parsnip2

Peel and cut your parsnips to fry size.  Mix olive oil and your choice of seasonings.  I used lots of minced garlic with some Italian seasonings (basil, oregano and rosemary).  Put all in a ziplock bag to combine.  I had mine all ready the night before and just allowed it to sit overnight in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.  Cover a pan with foil and add parsnips in a single layer.

parsnip 1

Bake about 10 minutes, stir/ flip, bake some more.  Done when slightly brown.  Add some salt when you take out of the oven and ENJOY!

Experiment with the seasoning.  Try some cumin and coriander.

Lemon Butter Chicken

Seeing this recipe floating around on Facebook, I had to give it a try.  The original recipe can be found at DamnDelicous.net.  I did make some minor changes but only because of the ingredients I had on hand.  The recipe using heavy cream and cheese is not light but it is a shame to ‘waste’ the creamy sauce.  Try it over top of some pasta or potatoes.  I love cooking with my cast iron skillet and this gave me the chance. Below is how it looked before it headed to the oven.

Lemon Butter Chicken

Ingredients (my substitutions from the original were the boneless/ skinless chicken thighs and not using heavy cream)

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt cream cheese (originally 1/2 cup heavy cream)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups baby spinach

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Season chicken thighs with paprika, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof/cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain excess fat and set aside.
  • Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, Greek yogurt cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice and thyme.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat, stir in spinach, and simmer until the spinach has wilted and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet.
  • Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 15-20 minutes boneless and 25-30 minutes for bone in.
  • Serve immediately.

If you don’t like your spinach too wilted and cooked you could add after you take out of the oven, as it won’t take long.

Thank you to Damn Delicious or whoever posted their recipe on Facebook…..it was DAMN DELICIOUS!!