Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin Dump Cake

 

 Pumpkin is one of my very favorite ingredients. I would cook with it year round if people didn't look at me like I was crazy. It just lends itself so well to almost any baking recipe. For instance, dump cake. Dump cakes are known for being truly delicious and easy since all you need to do is dump everything in the pan and bake. 

This recipe is really, really good. It's like a three course dessert in one pan. The bottom is a rich pumpkin pie filling custard. It has lots of cinnamon with a creamy pumpkin pie texture. The next layer is a thin ribbon of cream cheese adding some richness to the dessert. And finally, the top is a crunchy and flavorful yellow cake crumble layer. 

Why, yes. This is almost a rainbow of pumpkin joy. 

I adapted this recipe from a really cute blog called Your Cup of Cake. She has really cute stories and greate recipies like this one. I didn't change too much, just the explination a bit. Her recipe is so delicious, you will want to make this again and again.

Dare I say it, this could replace the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. 

Seriously, it's that good. 

Ingredients
Pumpkin Pie Layer
1 29 ounce can of pumpkin puree 
1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice

Cream Cheese Layer
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Layer
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
2 Tablespoons cinnamon sugar


First, combine all the pumpkin pie layer ingredients very well. Then pour the whole thing into a greased 9 X13 pan.
 

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese layer ingredients. 
 

With a very technical swirling motion, evenly spread the cream cheese over the pumpkin custard. Lizzy at Your Cup of Cake put this into a pastry bag to spread it evenly over the cake, but this works just fine, too.

I felt the need to swirl. It's not really necessary. 


Sprinkle the cake mix over the pumpkin and cream cheese mixtures in an even layer. 
 

Next, pour the butter over the whole cake mix.  It will look very strange, but you need to know there is magic working.


Before you add the cinnamon sugar, take the end of a spatula and poke holes evenly over the whole pan. It will seem weird, but trust me, it works. 
 

Lastly, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the whole cake in an even layer. 
 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 50 minutes. Allow this to cool completely and serve.


This is delicious at any temperature, but I like to serve this cold with a nice glass of milk.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Green Chile Cheese Chicken



Pinterest is one of the greatest websites of all time. It is incredibly useful, entertaining and makes life easier in so many ways. This is especially true when deciding what to make for dinner. You can enter just one ingredient and thousands of options are at your fingertips.

Green chile and chicken are ingredients I often search for. There is one recipe always popping up that seems very tempting. This chicken appears to be slathered in a cheese sauce of sorts with spicy little flecks in it and covered with more cheese. 

This looks like something I would just love and adore. It also looks like something that would make me want to lay on the floor for the next hour. This would most likely include the dramatic phrase "I'm so full I could die." A few eye rolls from my husband would follow as well. 

So instead of looking and longing after this recipe yet again, I decided to make my own less rich version of it. It meets all of the same requirements: tender chicken, green chile and some delicious cheese. However, this also includes really good flavor from all the veggies in it. It's almost like a thick and chunky salsa warmed up. This is perfect with rice, in a tortilla or even scooped up with some crunchy corn chips. 

Ingredients

3 - 4 chicken breasts or thighs
2 teaspoons taco seasoning, separated
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup or 1 small can diced green chilies
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese


For the chicken, season each piece very well with 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning while the oil heats up in a large sauce pan. Brown each side of the chicken over medium heat. The chicken is not done on the inside, but should have a nice crusty outside.


 Throw the bell pepper and onion in the remaining oil and season with the taco seasoning you have left. Let this cook for about 2 to 3 minutes to get some nice color on the veggies. 


 After the peppers and onions have cooked for a few minutes, add the diced tomatoes, green chile and honey into the pan. Anytime I use canned tomatoes, I like to balance the acid with a little sweetness. Don't worry, you won't taste the honey, but you will notice if it is missing. Also, pardon my disgusting stove.


Add the browned pieces of chicken back to the pan along with any juices they may have produced. Cover this with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is done on the inside.
 

You will know this is ready for some cheese (yay!) when the chicken is very tender and the vegetables are pretty soft. 


Take the chicken out of the pan (again) and shred this into bite sized pieces. Add this back to the pan and watch it drink up all the  spicy and flavorful sauce. 


Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the whole pan and let this melt for a few seconds. 


My favorite way to eat this is over a bowl of steamy rice with a sprinkle of extra cheese on the top. You will love this super flavorful, juicy and cheesy chicken dinner!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Greek Chicken and Rice Soup


I know what you might be thinking. "Another soup recipe?" Yes. Another one. Trust me, this one is really good and very unique tasting.

We have a favorite Greek restaurant near us that we love to go to. The best thing to get is the soup. They give it to you as an appetizer in a teeny tiny cup. I'm exaggerating, but it is not a large portion. 

The only bad part is, you are allowed just this little cup. 

Soup in a bowl (or gallon bucket) is not an option.

That is, unless you make this at home. Which might I mention is very easy. This recipe has few ingredients and comes together pretty quickly. The broth is light, lemony and so delicious. I love how the rice soaks up the lemon flavored broth and makes the soup hearty.

Ingredients

2 chicken thighs (I use boneless and skinless)
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning, divided
1 Tablespoon olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 lemons zest and juice removed
3 cups white rice, cooked

First, season the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon of the Greek seasoning and some salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan. Then, brown the chicken on each side over medium heat.

Once the chicken is browned on both sides, add in the chicken broth, remaining Greek seasoning, and lemon juice. Let this simmer over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 

Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the pot and put it off to the side. Add in the lemon zest and rice. Then, turn the heat to low stirring occasionally. 

Shred the chicken into small pieces and add this back to the broth and rice mixture. Let this all cook together over low heat for another 5 minutes before serving. 

This is delicious with pita or any crusty bread to dip in the broth!



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Light Creamy Tomato Soup




My husband had requested a creamy tomato soup for dinner one night. I sifted through a few recipes I had on hand and my stomach churned at the choices.

It was potluck day at work. Which is code for I had eaten doughnuts, cake and far too many little smokies before a respectable hour of the day. A recipe with a whole cup of heavy cream did not seam like the proper atonement. 

Instead of finding new recipes and being productive with my time I looked at pinterest for the better part of the hour. Coincidentally I came across an ingredient exchange to make your recipes a touch lighter. I use evaporated milk all the time in cream soups, but I had never thought to add it to any others.

I tried this evaporated milk idea out with some smooth pasta sauce and it was just plain delicious. The soup was creamy with tons of flavor and great texture. And it has only three ingredients.

Jarred marinara sauce is pretty much the best thing ever for tomato recipes. Canned tomatoes often have a tin flavor that takes some time to cook out. This is not ideal when wanting a quick recipe. Marinara sauce seems to have that cooked all day taste making it perfect when you are whipping something up.

The ingredients may seem a bit odd, but just trust me. This is crazy delicious soup. 

Ingredients

1 24 ounce can pasta sauce ( I use Hunt's four cheese)
1 12 ounce can fat free evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine these three ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Heat this together for about ten to fifteen minutes. That's pretty much it.


I love to serve this with a good grilled cheese or some crusty bread and a sprinkle of cheese over the soup. 
I hope you try this out and love it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Autum Pork Chops





Growing up I never had apples or any other fruit with meat. It was not a combination my dad enjoyed, so I never knew apples and pork were commonly friends. As an adult I have found I really love the crisp fruity flavor of apples and pork. 

This has quickly become a favorite dinner in our house. The pork is juicy, flavorful and cooks really quickly. The crispy potatoes add a nice starchy way to soak up the delicious sauce made by the pork and apples.  The sauce is made with apple cider, but it is not overly sweet by any means. It really just makes everything taste crisp and fall themed.

Ingredients

4 thinly sliced pork chops
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium apples, chopped (I used Gala Apples)
3 medium potatoes, chopped into small bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup apple cider

First, brown the pork chops over medium heat in a large skillet. Once both sides are browned, set them off to the side on a plate. 

Add in the butter, apples, and potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let all of this saute over medium heat until the potatoes are almost tender. By this point, your pan has developed some good yummy bits that will help us make our sauce.

Add the apple cider to the pan. With a spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan making sure to get all those yummy cooked on bits of pork, potato and apple. Let all of this simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the pork chops back in the last 3 or 4 minutes before serving to soak up some sauce.


I hope you take some times to enjoy a delicious meal with the tastes of fall!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Corn and Veggie Chowder



Soup is one of my favorite things in the whole word to have for lunch. It's just nice to have a hot bowl of tasty soup to break up your day. This soup has become one of my favorites as the temperatures have decreased a few degrees.

Corn and veggie chowder is a combination of sweet corn, crunchy broccoli and carrots with a delicious, rich, and cheesy broth. Sometimes cream based soups are just not my favorite since they have great texture, but very little flavor. This soup is super flavorful and much lighter than other cream soups since it uses evaporated milk instead of actual whipping cream.Try this out and you will love it!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
2 green onions, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 head of broccoli
2 ears of fresh corn or 16 ounces frozen corn
1 can evaporated milk
12 ounces milk
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed

First, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and sizzling, add in the green onions, carrots, broccoli and corn. If you are using frozen corn, thaw it and add it in with the milk instead of sauteing it. Otherwise the other veggies will steam and miss out on some tasty flavor opportunities. Season these veggies with some salt and pepper.

After the veggies have cooked for a few minutes they should be a bit tender and have light color on them. Then add in both milks and the Velveeta. Turn the heat down to low.

Let this whole mixture simmer for about 15 minutes over low heat stirring occasionally. I added another sprinkle of pepper to my soup for extra zip.

Corn and veggie chowder is delicious with a slice of toast or a warm sandwich. I hope you try this soon and love it!