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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Having Fun With Pumpkins

How often do we forget the pie crust when it comes to making pies for Thanksgiving? I know that there were a couple of times for me, and believe me, not having pie is a sin at Thanksgiving. So here are just a couple of crustless pumpkin pies that are quick and simple to make. But as an added bonus, I'm throwing my pumpkin pie dip as good measure.
The dip can be made for all seasons, football games on the television or for just the heck of having dip and chips. I like serving this dip for before and after Thanksgiving dinner. It's also a big hit when watching the football games during the Thanksgiving weekend too.




Crustless Pumpkin Pie
 
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
3 eggs
2 c. canned pumpkin
3/4 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Add eggs; mix well. Stir in the pumpkin, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; mix until well blended. Pour into a greased 9 inch pie plate. Place pie plate in another pan for a water bath add 1/2 inch of hot water to pan. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.



Healthy Crustless Pumpkin Pie

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated skim milk
3/4 c. egg substitute
1/2 tsp. salt
1 -2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (I like mine spicier)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into 9 inch pie pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 325 and bake for 45 minutes more. Pie is done when knife inserted into center comes out clean.



Pumpkin Pie Dip

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin, not the pie filling
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
6 oz. Plain Greek yogurt
8 oz cool whip
cut up apples to dip
 
Mix pumpkin with brown sugar, vanilla and spices, blend well. Mix in yogurt. Fold in cool whip and chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Chocolates and Bacon, What Can Go Wrong?

Chocolate and bacon, seems to be the most sought after, tasty and desirable items to eat. At least for me it is. But why not have them both together at the same time?
Well, lo and behold. I have done just that. This little recipe is best, if you were to use a 24 cup pan. That way you can eat them in one or two bites.
But do t eat them all by yourself, share at least one or two. Your friends and family will forever be at your mercy, once they too get a taste. So without further ado, let's start baking. Ready? Gooooooo!
Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes



1 pkg. Bacon, (yes, the whole package)
1 Dark chocolate cake mix, prepared
1 c. Heavy cream
12 oz. Semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. Vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350.
In a skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Allow to cool, then crumble. Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions on the box for cupcakes. Stir in half of the crumbled bacon into the cake batter. Pour into the cupcake pans with paper liners. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Bake according to the directions on the cake box or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting with the ganache (see next recipe below).

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until boiling. Pour in the chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. Add the oil to the chips and stir. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool slightly and thickened before frosting the cupcakes. Simply dip the tops of the cupcakes into the ganache until co ered. Top with remaining crumbled bacon.
Then enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In Memory Of My Grandmother

My grandmother was from old world Italy, in her presence I was to converse with her only in Italian. Needless to say, I had to learn the eloquent language.
She inspired me and taught me to cook at an early age of 8 years old. I have been cooking ever since. She was a very stern lady, when it came to being disciplined, but she was also a very caring woman as well. Not just to family, but to friends and neighbors on the block. If she heard that someone was I'll or recently lost a loved one, she was at the door to see if she could be of service.
For all that she has done for me and others, I dedicate this blog entry and recipe to her. I love you grandmama, missed you and I hope my cooking has never let you down.

Tagliata di Manzo con Scarola
(Seared Sirloin With Escarole)

1 1/2 lb. Sirloin steak
2 1/4 c. Dry white wine
5 tbsp. Olive oil
2 sage sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
1 garlic clove, gently smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1 lemon
1 large head escarole, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 flat anchovy fillets
Fine sea salt
Black pepper
2 tbsp. Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place steak in a baking dish. In a medium saucepan, combine wine, 2 tablespoons of oil, sage, rosemary, garlic and bay leaf, bring to a boil then remove from the heat and pour over the steak. Let stand at room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, with a paring knife, cut zest from 1/2 of lemon in long wide strips. Thinly slice strips lengthwise and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add escarole in batches, if opted, add anchovy, cook stirring until the escarole is wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Season with generous pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
Remove steaks from marinade and pat dry, discard marinade. Season steak well with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat remaining oil over medium high heat. Cook steaks 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a plate, allow to rest 5-10 minutes. On a cutting board, thinly slice steak. Divide steak and escarole among serving plates, drizzle with meat juices. Garnish with zest, parsley and pepper.
Enjoy!

Per mia nonna con tutto il mio amore. Perché con la mia cucina, io onorarti. possa tu riposare in pace.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How The Italians Won the Wild West

Imagine if you will, out in the old west on a wagon train. There traveling in the midst of many frontiersmen and women, an Italian. 
There traveling, was the handsome young Italian chef named Henrico Molinari (presently known as Henry Moline, couldn't resist), with dreams of cooking in his own restaurant somewhere out west.




Baked beans, Italian style

2 tbsp. olive oil      
2 c. chopped onion      
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning      
1 can (15 oz.) each of red kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans rinsed and drained      
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce  
1/3 c. honey  
1/2 c. mesquite barbecue sauce      
2 tbsp. instant coffee granules  
1/2 tbsp. hot sauce            
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes until mixture thickens. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Turn Your Microwave Into A Bakery Everyday

Who says that being homeless and living in a shelter, that I can't have my sweets?
With these recipes, the spoon measurements are just your common everyday dessert spoon and nothing more. No special equipment is needed, for all you’ll need is a coffee mug, dessert spoon, a microwave and a sweet tooth. You can use a fork however, to mix your ingredients in the mug.
You can now turn your kitchen and your microwave into a bakery, serving these delicious individual cakes.






Chocolate Cake

4 spoons flour
4 spoons sugar
2 spoons cocoa
1 egg
4 spoons milk
4 spoons oil
A splash of vanilla extract

Add dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa) to mug and mix well. Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla extract and mix well. Place mug in microwave for 3 minutes on high.
Serve with ice-cream, double cream, chocolate sauce or all three.
Enjoy!

Coffee Cake

1 spoon of your favorite instant coffee
2 spoons boiling water
4 spoons flour
4 spoons sugar
1 egg
4 spoons milk
4 spoons oil
A splash of vanilla extract

Mix coffee and boiling water in mug until coffee dissolved. Add dry ingredients (flour & sugar) to mug and mix well.  The mix will resemble a “crumble". Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla extract and mix well. Place mug in microwave for 3 minutes on high.
Serve with coffee cream or mocha cream.  
Enjoy it with a good cup of coffee.

Mocha Cake

1 spoon of your favorite instant coffee
2 spoons cocoa
2 spoons boiling water
4 spoons flour
4 spoons sugar
1 egg
4 spoons milk
4 spoons oil
A splash of vanilla extract

Mix coffee, cocoa and boiling water in mug until coffee & cocoa dissolved. Add dry ingredients (flour & sugar) to mug and mix well. Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla extract and mix well.
Place mug in microwave for 3 minutes on high.
Serve with ice-cream, double cream, coffee cream, mocha cream, chocolate sauce or all of the above!
Enjoy it with a good cup of coffee.

Chocolate Orange Cake

4 spoons flour
4 spoons sugar
2 spoons cocoa
1 egg
2 spoons orange flavored liqueur
3 spoons orange juice
4 spoons oil
A splash of vanilla extract

Add dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa) to mug and mix well. Add the egg, liqueur, orange juice, oil and vanilla extract and mix well. Place mug in microwave for 3 minutes on high.
Serve with ice-cream, double cream, chocolate sauce or all three.

The Devil's Chocolate Temptation

When I made this cake, the devil must have taken over my body and mind. For this is the most moist and devilishly delicious cake I have ever had. I wished I have made it sooner, where I was more active and able to work it off. Ha Ha.
Just be warned, DO NOT MAKE THIS ALONE AND EAT IT! Call all your friends, your family or those very skinny people that always eat and never gain a pound. But do not let this stay in your house alone with you!!!!!






Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. Hershey’s Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp, baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
One-Bowl butter cream frosting (See below)
 
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or 13x9x2 inch baking pan. In large mixer bowl combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Remove from mixer; stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan, or until wooden pick inserted in center.
   
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened
4 c. powdered sugar, divided
3 to 4 tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
 
Beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed in large bowl until creamy. With mixer running, gradually add about 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until well blended. Slowly beat in milk and vanilla. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add additional milk, if necessary, until frosting is desired consistency.
   
Vanilla Butter-Cream Frosting/Filling
 
In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup margarine or butter (2 sticks), softened, and 1 cup shortening until just mixed. Increase speed to high; beat 10 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to medium; gradually beaten 1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl. Fill cooled cake with frosting filling.

King of Kings Meatloaf!

As the barbecue season comes to an end, there is always something on the grill that makes the end so pleasantly inspiring to other grillers alike. This just so happens, to be the inspiration to all.
I would like to introduce you, to my newest creation, using the California Golden Barbecue Rub spice seasoning. I couldn't think of a better way of using up the last of this great seasoning. (By the way Mick Brown, you can always send me more. Hint hint)
I would like to take this opportunity, to thank CGBR and Mick Brown for introducing me, to such a wonderful seasoning blend. I'm looking forward to many more such opportunities in the future.
So, with all the formalities out of the way, I will now introduce to you.



King of Kings Smoked Meatloaf

3 slices of crumbled up white bread
1/2 a sleeve of saltine crackers
1 c. Onion, minced
1/2 c. Carrots, grated
1/4 c. Green peppers, minced
1/2 c. Heavy cream
3 eggs
1/4 c. A-1 steak sauce
1/4 c. BBQ sauce
1 tbsp. CGBR Heroic herb and spice seasoning
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tbsp. Pepper
1 tbsp. Yellow mustard
2 tsp. Mrs. Dash
1 tbsp. Frank's hot sauce
4 lb. Ground beef

Topping

1/2 c. BBQ sauce
1/2 c. Ketchup
2 tbsp. Dried minced onions
2 tbsp. Green peppers, finely minced

Preheat oven to 350.
Meatloaf: combine all ingredients except the beef in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add the beef and mix well again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in a 10X12X2 inch roasting pan.
Bake in oven for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 155.
Remove from oven, cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, slice into 3/4-1 inch thick slices.
Place sliced meatloaf on the grill and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, turn 1/4 turn and cook an additional 1 1/2 minutes. Then flip to other side, slather with BBQ sauce and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Turn 1/4 turn and cook an additional 1 1/2 minutes.
Flip, slather with BBQ sauce, cook thirty seconds, flip, slather with BBQ sauce, cook thirty seconds. Then serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Enjoy!