‘Tis the season…for PUMPKIN Bread!

October 30, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s no surprise or new information that I love all things pumpkin spice related (including it’s close relative garam masala), mostly driven by my love of cinnamon. It’s made all the better when actual pumpkin is involved, especially when you can taste the pumpkin. What’s the point of having it in there if it doesn’t taste like pumpkin?

That brings me to the first post that I get to contribute in far too long for no good reason. Perhaps I haven’t found made any new recipes quite as delicious lately, although I say it’s mostly a lazy factor. Anyway. The recipe. I received it from my regular e-mails through ATK, which remind me of all the recipes sitting in my copies of the magazine that I have yet to try but should. This one comes from ATK September 2012. I did decide to add in allspice to the mix, and I do say I’m going to suggest that the spices get bumped up a notch, and so I’m adjusting amounts by putting a range (the upper limit not being directly tested yet. Season according to your taste. I didn’t add nuts because Nick is against nuts in bread/cake products, nor did I add chocolate though I wanted to in at least one of the loaves (I apparently ate all the chocolate in the house already…). Also important note when planning to make this super awesome pumpkin loaf, it makes 2 loaves! It is incredibly moist (and perfectly cooked), and has stayed that way for 3 days, as that’s as long as the 2nd loaf will last. Enjoy!

The stuff


5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon softened, unsalted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt



2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

0-1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 ounces cream cheese (I used light), cut into 12 pieces

4 large eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)


The plan of attack

FOR THE TOPPING: Using fingers, mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl.

3. Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 11/2 cups, 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.

5. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.

6. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK).

7. Fold walnuts & chocolate into batter if desired.

8. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes (if using a 9 x 5 loaf pan check at 40 minutes).

9. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 11/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Holiday Stuffing

December 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

I now have a go-to stuffing recipe that tastes just as good as in-the-bird stuffing (so it thus appeases and fully satisfied the strange Stove Top lovers out there as well as those who like to live on the riskier side of life and eat it straight from the bird). Nick loves it and I have to make it for his family at every holiday, as I will this Christmas. For some reason it’s just taken years to make it to the blog…

It’s from Cook’s Country a few years ago I believe. Soy sauce is the surprise ingredient, and it just gives it a meaty/umami flavor that it doesn’t normally have out of the bird. The addition of the cream and a few more eggs than would normally be used to keep it moist.

I often just put it in a big disposable aluminum pan and cook it in that. It makes a good amount, but there are never leftovers.

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Bread Stuffing
Serves 10-12Firm sandwich breads, like Arnold Country Classics White or Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White, work best here.1 loaf hearty white sandwich bread (24-ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 16 cups)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 onions , chopped fine
3 celery ribs , chopped fine
4 garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Arrange bread in single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes, stirring bread and switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool.

2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and celery until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, sage, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and soy sauce and simmer until slightly thickened and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.

3. Whisk eggs, half-and-half, parsley, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Slowly whisk in warm onion mixture until incorporated. Fold in toasted bread and let sit, tossing occasionally, until bread is saturated, about 20 minutes.

4. Transfer stuffing to greased 13- by 9-inch pan. Melt remaining butter and drizzle evenly over stuffing. Bake on lower-middle rack until top is golden brown and crisp, about 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve.

Make Ahead: The stuffing can be prepared through step 3 and refrigerated, covered, for 1 day. When ready to bake, proceed with step 4, increasing cooking time by about 20 minutes.

Quick and easy mac and cheese

November 12, 2011 § 9 Comments

So I love mac and cheese. Pretty much any kind that doesn’t involve powdered cheese. Nick likes any mac and cheese whether its made of powder or not. So of course when I suggested that we have mac and cheese around 6pm the other night, Nick more than happily said he’d gladly wait for me to make it no matter how long it takes. Considering everything I cook typically takes more time than we’d like, I was a little surprised. So I decided to try and find a quicker recipe than our current standard, which involves making the delicious cheese sauce, cooking pasta, then putting it all in the oven.

So I found this recipe courtesy of the more humble version of our favorite magazine, ATK. Parenthetical asides are amounts/types of ingredients that I used. I think because this recipe is so simple, it requires better than average cheese and likely cheese that hasn’t been pre-shredded. But cheeses can likely be played around with to your tastes, and perhaps next time I’ll experiment and keep you posted.

Nick thinks that this is the best one we’ve had in a while that we’ve made, and rivals that of Poole’s Diner, our newly discovered absolute favorite restaurant in Raleigh. I think this recipe good, great considering time and effort, but their mac and cheese was pretty darn amazing.

Coming up next: pumpkin recipes!

The Stuff

  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2cups fresh bread crumbs (or Panko since I don’t make breadcrumbs)
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 3 3/4cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3cups elbow macaroni (a little less than 1 box, I used the whole box)
  • 1teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2teaspoons hot sauce (I don’t like hot sauce, so used a dash of cayenne)
  • 3cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (10 oz Cracker Barrel, extra sharp)
  • 2cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz colby jack, Kraft)
The details
  • 1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
  • 2. Bring water, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to simmer in skillet over medium-high heat. Add macaroni and cook, stirring often, until macaroni is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • 3. Whisk remaining evaporated milk, cornstarch, and hot sauce in small bowl, then stir into skillet. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in cheeses, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust consistency. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve.

scallop risotto

April 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

this is pretty delicious.

as a note: i hate baked scallops, and it turns out i’m not a huge fan of sauteed scallops, either. next time i would (1) follow the recipe until the add-the-scallops part (2) sautee 1/8-1/4c. shallots in 1-2T butter over medium-high heat until the shallots are soft and translucent. I’d then crank up the heat to high and and add in the scallops to pan-sear (appx 2 mins. per side, until scallops are opaque and outside is a pretty caramel brown), and serve on top of the risotto. this just makes for a better tasting scallop. it just does.

as another note: this dish could also be made with shrimp (peeled and deveined, natch). and, actually, probably with any standard white fish (i’d probably just pan sear as above).

2c vegetable broth (i suppose you could also use chicken broth, if you’re being all insisty).
one 8oz bottle clam juice
2T butter
1/4 c. chopped shallots
1/2 c. uncooked arborio rice (note: for those of you who are not carb addicts: 1. we will never be real friends 2. that’s risotto rice).
1/8t. saffron threads, crushed (christ on a crutch, that stuff is expensive. if you’re not feeling like shelling out the big bucks, i’d just leave it out. i don’t really think it added *that* much flavor. i’ve also heard you can also sub in a pinch of tumeric or paella powder. if anyone tries it, let me know how it turns out!)
1T fresh lemon juice
1/2c grape tomatoes, halved
8oz scallops
2T whipping cream
chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

bring broth and clam juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan. do not boil. keep warm over low heat.

melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. add shallots and cook until tender, appx. 2 mins. add rice and saffron to pan, cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. and it’s risotto, so this is one of those instances where stirring constantly means STIRRING CONSTANTLY. stir in 1/2 c. broth mixture until fully absorbed by the rice. stir, stir, stir. continue to add 1/2 cups of broth, waiting until each is absorbed by the rice before adding more. still stirring. (give yourself 15 mins or so).

stir in tomatoes, cook 1 minute. stir in scallops; cook appx 4 minutes until opaque. (see notes on scallops, below).

remove from heat, stir in cream, sprinkle with parsley if desired.

scallop notes:
1. if you live in MSP, you should probably just suck it up, drive to south, and buy your scallops from coastal seafoods. they are awesome, and in the know when it comes to all-things-seafood.
2. if at all possible, you’ll want to buy “dry” scallops. “dry” means “not treated with sodium tripolyphosphate.” which is good. i promise.
3. candidly, bycatch is a major problem with scallops, so please consider buying scallops farmed on suspended lines.
4. check your scallops before you cook with them. you may need to remove the muscle — the small, fleshy part near the edge of the scallop.
5. general scallop prep tip: prepare your scallops by scoring them hashtag style on both sides with a sharp knife. This will help the scallops absorb the flavors of your sauce.

Puppy Chow

December 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

This is probably the recipe from the box of cereal, but it’s still good.




9 cups of favorite Chex cereal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. Measure cereal and pour into large bowl

2. Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in 1 qt microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 1-1.5 minutes, until melted. Stir in vanilla.

3. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal. Stir until all pieces are coated.

4. Pour cereal mix into large ziploc bag with powdered sugar. Shake until covered.

5. Spread on wax paper until cool.

Zucchini Bread

December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Another WV State Fair ribbon winner


3 eggs

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

2 cups raw grated zucchini

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

Optional: 1 cup raisins and/or nuts



Combine eggs, oil, sugar and part of flour. Mix well and add other ingredients. Bake in two, lightly greased medium loaf pans.

350 for 1 hour (or 325)

Corn Bread Pudding/Corn Bake

December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment


4 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cans corn (not completely drained)

2 cans creamed corn

1 cup melted butter (2 sticks)

2 cups sour cream

2 boxes/pkgs Jiffy corn bread mix

maple syrup to taste


Mix in bowl or in pan.

Bake in 9 x 13 pan at 350 for 1 hour 20 minutes or until top slightly browns.

This is the doubled version of the recipe. It is easily cut in half.

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