Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Wee Bit of Irish

I’ve been told that it is happy hour somewhere, so I might as well have a drink.  Although it was enough reasoning for me in college, that’s hardly the case now.  It may be a little too excessive to drink whiskey and heavy cream with my morning coffee even if it is St. Patrick’s Day.
This Irish coffee mousse is a great way to be part of the party without the unwanted side affects of too much alcohol.  Its also a dessert you can get away with eating anytime of the day, including breakfast.  With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, this is a perfect little treat to get into the spirit.
I have a soft spot for whiskeys and bourbons, especially Jameson.  Jameson is a great whiskey to incorporate into desserts because of its smooth finish and lingering caramel after tones.  The slight bitterness of the espresso mixed with the whiskey is mellowed out by the dollop of sweet whipped cream.  I also added some cocoa nibs to break up the monotony of the creamy texture with a little bit of crunch.  Crushed cookies or biscotti would work just as well.
Mousse based desserts are extremely easy to make and can be prepared a day in advance.  This dessert requires few ingredients and little kitchen time.  Not only is it simple to make, its very satisfying and delicious.  You can serve it in a ramekin or dress it in up cute little jars.  Its a perfect dessert to serve at dinner parties as it will surely impress your guests.  Who doesn’t like mousse?  Its rich, smooth, creamy, and full of flavor.  Its like ice cream but grown up and more mature.

Irish Whiskey Parfaits

6 large egg yolks
½ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. Irish whiskey
2 c. heavy cream
¼ c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ c. raspberry preserves

Beat egg yolks in mixer bowl, gradually adding granulated sugar. Continue beating until mixture is thick and pale. Beat in whiskey gradually. Transfer to a large bowl.
Beat cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a clean mixer bowl until stiff. Gently fold whipped cream 1/3 at a time, into egg yolks.
Spoon cream mixture alternating with thin layers of preserves, into parfait glasses. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Oh To Be So Sweet and Porky

This is a super easy 30 minute one pot dish. The apples turn out like those sweet baked cinnamon apples you can order on the side in homestyle restaurants. You know the ones you can’t decide to eat for dinner or dessert? Yeah those.
They are tender and brown sugar sweet with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. The pecans add a little richness and some crunch. Unless you’re already a nut like me (Just ask Janis, she’ll tell you I’m already nutty enough).
Pork chops are not in my normal dinnertime wheelhouse. I have a TON of chicken recipes, but if you’ve been reading here awhile, you might remember that my nonna and her cooking skills basically made pork chops lover out of me for approximately 20 years.
Anyway. These are not those. The pork chops turn out tender and juicy. The sauce is brown sugar buttery. All of it together is gonna be your new favorite fall meal.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

4 (¾ inch) thick pork chops 
1 teaspoon vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons brown sugar 
salt and pepper to taste 
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 
2 tablespoons butter 
2 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced

Preheat oven to 175. Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.
Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

So…I’ve been thinking

Janis Dallman, you know I love you. Right? You know I would never bring you any harm or ill will. But when It comes to being in the kitchen, there are things that are beyond my control. Just remember, that whatever comes out of the kitchen, it is with love and nothing more.
But when I asked you to marry me, you agreed to be my wife no matter what comes out of the kitchen. For you should by now know, that what I do in the kitchen is purely out of my love for you.

If I decide to just nix this whole blogging thing and instead open a hot chocolate truck and drive around the country, would you guys support that decision? I need to know these things before I hit the open road. That way, I could come to you and deliver you your hot chocolate flavor of choice. We might even sell tacos, too. I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. (cough cough)
But in all honesty, if you thought hot chocolate was a good idea, this super rich peanut butter hot chocolate will completely blow you away.
It blew me away! So much so that I actually purred when I tried it while standing over the stove.
Wait, what?
I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of this so I can hardly take credit for such a delicious, creamy, mouth-watering, decadent creation of the gods.
It’s like drinking a chocolate bar covered in peanut butter—definitely a dessert in and of itself and best topped with fresh whipped cream and salted roasted peanuts.
And if your jeans feel tight after drinking this, it’s best just to blame the dryer. And then use that as an excuse to go shopping.
I’m doing this because I love you.
I promise I’ll feature something healthy with vegetables in it soon. Just not today.

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

1 cup milk
1 tbsp. peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and sugar in a small pot on the stove. Bring to a simmer and then add the peanut butter, stirring well to get rid of any clumps.
Pour into your favorite mug and serve with whipped cream and salted peanuts!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tis The Season For Hot Chocolate!

Christmas and Hot Chocolate goes hand in hand, they both warms you up inside and makes you cheerful and happy. So I thought I would share my recipes of different Hot Chocolate recipes that I have made over the years. So from my kitchen to yours, have a very Merry Christmas. May it be filled with lots of love and good eats.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Just when I thought I had made everything with red velvet that was under the sun, I thought of another fun way and it is sooo sinfully delicious too. In fact, drinking this is like having a whole cake in one cup.

Red velvet cake is a classic dessert. However, sometimes a classic needs a little change. When it's cold outside, this hot chocolate recipe will warm you up and keep that fun red velvet look!
Red velvet cake is synonymous with delicious. It's a classic Southern treat that has hit it big in bakeries all across the nation. However, don't be scared to think outside the box when you want this sweet treat.

A fun way to switch things up is by taking the idea of this traditional cake and turning it into a delicious hot chocolate recipe. Its bright color and delicious chocolate taste will tickle both children and adults with delight. Plus, it's a few less calories than devouring a whole cake.

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 teaspoon red gel no taste food coloring
Whipping cream
Vanilla sugar (see Chef’s Note below)

Vanilla sugar whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar ( see Chef’s Note below)

For whipped cream: Add heavy cream and vanilla sugar to a cold metal bowl. Either whip by hand with whisk or with hand-held mixer until soft peaks form.
For hot chocolate: In a small pan, combine milk, chocolate morsels and food coloring. Gently simmer until hot and all the chocolate is melted. I like to use a small whisk to make sure everything is incorporated. Top with freshly whipped cream.

Chef’s Note: To make Vanilla Sugar without having to use Vanilla Beans (Which are rare and expensive in Grocery Stores) just use Vanilla Extract and Sugar in a ratio of one teaspoon of Vanilla Extract to every two cups of regular granulated sugar. Then spread the well mixed vanilla sugar on a baking pan lined with wax paper to dry.

Raspberry White Hot Chocolate
This warm, comforting drink is made with real raspberry puree and white chocolate. It's beautiful, delicious, and tastes like melted berries and cream ice cream! This is also my fiance's favorite!

12 oz. raspberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
2 tbsp. sugar
2 c. milk
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 tbsp. Milk
1 tbsp. Cornstarch

Sprinkle the sugar on the raspberries and toss to combine. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, until they start to soften and release their juices. Blend the raspberries in a blender. You should be left with about ¾ cup of puree. If you have more, save it for another use.
 Add milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer—you want bubbles to appear along the sides of the pan’s edges, but don’t bring it to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped white chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is melted, then add the berry puree, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix 2 tablespoons of milk and cornstarch together and add to the chocolate mixture. Stir until mixture is thickened.
Serve immediately with whipped cream and fresh berries on top. It can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove top.
For the best taste and texture, do not substitute white chips for the chopped white chocolate bar. Chips are usually made with palm oil instead of cocoa butter, and they tend to be hard to melt. If you find chips made with cocoa butter, those are a fine substitute, otherwise, look for white chocolate bars. This makes a thick drink, and if you prefer a thinner one, add more milk until you get a texture you like.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?  If not, this will do the trick. Gingerbread Hot Cocoa is like drinking a chocolate gingerbread cookie! It’s Christmas in a cup if I ever saw one.
You know every year by the time Christmas is over I am REALLY Christmased out…like, don’t even TRY to bring me a cup of Christmas on the night of the 26th, I have already started to think about what salad creations I am going to make because I have had a little TOO much comfort, a little TOO much Christmas. But that time hasn’t come yet- boy, I am going gung-ho with the red and green, the elves, the peppermint…send it ALL my way. And bring me as many cups of Christmas right now as you want.

4 c. milk
½ c. cocoa powder
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. white sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. vanilla 
¼ tsp. sea salt
whipped cream for topping

In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat milk. While warming the milk, combine the cocoa powered, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk into the milk until hot. Serve with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cheesecake Hot Chocolate
This white hot chocolate from scratch tastes just like cheesecake in a cup without having to wait for a whole cheesecake to bake. Cheesecake craving satisfied in 15 minutes? Done.
Ah, the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve Eve?) Today pretty much marks my finish line for Christmas baking. I’m not sure why I do this every year. I cram all the Christmas things into one month and ended up posting four times a week the past two weeks because I have so many Christmas recipes to share (my average is 2-3 times a week). I have so many ideas that I even wrote up a list for next year (I’m also known to plan ridiculously ahead). I wanted my last post before Christmas to be a super easy holiday drink, and what better drink defines me best than Cheesecake Hot Chocolate? I’m not even sure where this idea came from. Of course I love cheesecake oh so very much, but who thinks of drinking it? Maybe I had a dream about it as I dream about recipes all the time. If you ever ask me at any given moment what I’m thinking about, 99.99459394 percent of the time, it’s food. 51.809843 percent of the time, it’s cheesecake. What’s best about this recipe is you can satisfy your cheesecake craving now rather than wait for a whole cheesecake to bake and cool. Whether you’re looking for a new hot chocolate recipe to try or you just simply love cheesecake as much as I do, Cheesecake Hot Chocolate is the way to go when the weather outside is frightful (sorry, I had to).
I love hot chocolate. It’s what I drink in the winter evenings when it’s too late to drink coffee or when I want something sweet but ran out of cookies and don’t feel like baking. I used white chocolate so the drink would actually look like cheesecake in a cup. I’m sure it would taste just as good with semisweet or even dark chocolate (dark chocolate is my favorite), but I do like my white chocolate version.
There is one very important step to making this cheesecake hot chocolate successful the cream cheese needs to be at room temperature, or even slightly softer (without risking food safety, of course). I’d even recommend microwaving it slightly (without the foil wrapper!) if you’re in a hurry. You see, when your cream cheese is cold, even slightly chilled, it becomes lumpy. You can sorta get away with that if you’re baking a cheesecake, but you do not want lumpy hot chocolate. Trust me. If you ignore my warning and do end up with lumps, you can use a blender to help save it. I also find that Philadelphia cream cheese melts a little more smoother than a few other brands. Just a small warning the drink does thicken as it cools down. Just heat it back up in the microwave or add some more milk.

Cheesecake Hot Chocolate
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature* and cut into 16 pieces
Graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, warm up the milk over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Turn the heat down to low then whisk in the vanilla cream cheese until melted. Whisk in the white chocolate until melted and smooth. Serve immediately** with whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs on top, if desired.

Notes; *The cream cheese needs to be at room temperature or even slightly softer (without risking food safety). Otherwise, the hot chocolate mixture may become lumpy. If it does become lumpy, you can use the blender to help smooth it.
**The drink does thicken as it cools down. Just heat it back up in the microwave.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's A What???

The other day, I was looking for something different to make for dinner. I came across a recipe for a vegetarian version of this dish. I searched the internet for a non-vegetarian version and couldn't find one. So I did what any red blooded meat eating man would do. I experimented until I came up with a recipe using "real" food. It's prepared and cooked just like a lasagna. So, try it and let me know what you think or if you would add or remove any of the ingredients.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meat Cake

1-2 lb. Ground beef
1 Red Onion (chopped)
1 pkg. Lipton onion soup mix
¼ tsp. Pepper
½ tsp. Creole Seasoning
Olive Oil for cooking
Dash of Liquid Smoke
1 pkg. Bacon
1 pkg. Lasagna Noodles (I used the no-boil version, but if you use another kind follow the directions on the package)
1 pkg. Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 Can of Stewed Tomatoes  (15 oz)
1 Can of Tomato Sauce (15oz)
1 tsp. Creole Seasoning
2 tsp. Onion Powder
¼ c. Fresh Parsley (chopped)

Preheat oven to 400.
In a pot, add all sauce ingredients and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
In your trusted cast iron skillet, heat Olive Oil and Liquid Smoke on a medium heat. Once you feel it's hot, add Ground Beef, Red Onion, soup mix, Black Pepper and Creole Seasoning. Mix thoroughly and let cook until browned.
When figuring out the layers, I can give you a ballpark of using around 1 cup for each layer, but your casserole dish might be a different size or depth than mine. So, you'll need to eyeball and ration the best you can. Once you lay your first layer, you'll know about what each layer takes.
In a glass casserole dish, spread about a ladle full of Tomato Sauce over the bottom of the dish. Put down a layer of Lasagna Noodles. If you have a lot of overlap, pour a little sauce over the spots where the noodles overlap. Add cheese, creating an even layer. Spread the Beef Mix over the cheese creating an even layer. Cover with a layer of  Bacon Strips. Cover with a layer of Cheese. Cover with a layer of Tomato Sauce. Cover with another layer of Lasagna Noodles. Cover with another layer of Tomato Sauce. Cover with the Cheese.
Bake uncovered for around 25-30 minutes. Please keep an eye on it; smaller lasagnas will bake faster, so yours might bake faster. Remove from the oven when the Cheese is melted and starts to brown.

Chef’s notes: To make this more fun, try using a greased bundt cake pan and pack it in. Then invert it on a cooking sheet and then bake it in the oven. This way you can remove the pan before serving and it becomes a conversation piece around the dinner table.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Orange Custard Pudding

Like oranges? I enjoy those delicious sweet vitamin C loaded fruit. I enjoy seeing what all I can do with the oranges. Here is a simple pudding that has all the vitamin C and very aromatic.

½ c. of sugar.
¼ c. of cornstarch.
Pinch of salt.
1 ½ c. orange juice.
3 medium egg yolks, beaten.
1 c. of plain yogurt.
2 tbsp. margarine.
2 tsp. orange peel, finely shredded.
2 c. fresh orange segments.

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt; then stir in the orange juice. Cook and stir until bubbly. Gradually stir 1 cup of the mixture into the yolks.
Return to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt, margarine and shredded orange peel.
Cover and chill. Stir in the orange segments before serving.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Dinners

Anyone can cook a turkey or ham, at least I hope anyone can. But I'm not writing this post to discuss turkeys or hams. Maybe in another post down the road.
If you really want to make your holiday dinners memorable, then I suggest tweaking up your side dishes. Here is just a few of my holiday favorites that I would like to share with you.

World’s Best Stuffing

6 c. cornbread stuffing mix
6 c. bread cubes
3 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery
3 c. chopped mushrooms
1/2 c. butter
1 c. chopped pecans
12 oz. bulk sausage or 12 ounces sausage links, will work
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 c. turkey broth or 1 1/2 c. chicken broth

Sauté sausage until brown; remove from pan and cut into small bites.
In a large skillet, melt butter and cook onion, mushrooms and celery over medium heat for 3 minutes or until softened.
Transfer sausage and veggies including any butter that is left in the pan.
To a bowl and add bread cubes, herbs, salt, pepper, pecans and turkey stock, and eggs.
Toss well and adjust seasoning.
Stuffing should be moist but not soggy add more stock if needed Transfer to baking dish and bake in Bake at 325 for 20 covered and 10 minutes uncovered until heated through and crust forms on top.
Or better yet stuff it into a big fat turkey.

Cider-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 c. apple cider or 1 1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 c. dried cranberries (quick rough chop)

Cook sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until halfway cooked, (a knife inserted into center will face some snap), about 5 minutes. Drain and cool. (You can do this a day in advance and store the cubes in the icebox in a covered container).
Combine cider, sugar, butter, nutmeg and allspice in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add potatoes and reduce heat so liquid is simmering.
Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cranberries and continue cooking until liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. (If the glaze becomes very thick before potatoes become tender, thin it with a small amount of cider or water).
When potatoes are tender, add salt and pepper to taste.

Lemon Roast Potatoes

2 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. olive oil (extra virgin)
1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Dry mustard
Salt and pepper
6 -10 potatoes  (russet)

Peel and quarter potatoes.
Place in roaster, in one layer.
Whisk together chicken stock, olive oil, lemon juice, dry mustard, salt and pepper.
Taste and adjust.
Pour mixture over potatoes.
Bake in a slow oven at 300-350 for 2-3 hours, uncovered, 'til fork tender.

Pumpkin Poppers

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. pumpkin (fresh or canned, just not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 c. low-fat milk

For Coating
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 and spray your muffin pans.
Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk till combined.
In another bowl, mix together the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix till it’s just combined (you don’t want to over mix).
Fill your mini tins till almost full.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
While they’re baking, melt your butter and in a small bowl combine your sugar and cinnamon.
Let the poppers cool for a few minutes before rolling them around in the melted butter and then plunging them into their cinnamon sugar bath.
If you want less sugary sweetness you could just dip the top of the muffin into the butter & cinnamon sugar.
They look and taste like a pumpkin donut hole...YUMMY!

Supreme Garlic Mashed Potatoes

6 -8 potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
1/2-1 c. butter
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. milk, or more if needed
3 cloves garlic

Boil potatoes and the garlic cloves together.
When tender, mash with potato masher and add butter.
Mash some more; add sour cream and enough of milk to desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper.
Top with a sprinkling of paprika and parsley flakes.


2 1/2 c. self-rising flour
1 c. self-rising yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 1/4 c. peeled, cubed and cooked sweet potatoes
2 c. buttermilk
3 large eggs
Peanut oil

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 c. creamy USA peanut butter
1/3 c. orange juice
1/4 c. orange marmalade
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. water

Combine first 6 ingredients such as flour, cornmeal, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl; stir in sweet potatoes. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Pour oil to a depth of 1 in. into a deep cast iron skillet; heat to 350. Drop batter, in batches, by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry 1 ½ minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain fritters well on paper towels, and serve immediately with Peanut Dipping Sauce.

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
Process ingredients such as peanut butter, orange juice, marmalade, red pepper and salt in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down the side. With the processor running, add ¼ cup water in a slow steady stream through the food chute, and process mixture until smooth.

Cranberry-Apple Sweet Potatoes

1 21 oz. can apple pie filling
1 40 oz. can cut sweet potatoes, drained and cut into chunks
3/4 c. whole cranberry sauce
2 tbsp. apricot preserves
2 tbsp. orange marmalade
1/4 c. chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

Spread pie filling in an 8x8x2-inch baking dish (2-quart square). Arrange sweet potatoes over pie filling. In a small bowl, stir together the cranberry sauce, apricot preserves and orange marmalade. Spoon over sweet potatoes.
Bake, covered, in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. If you like, sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings

Bacon Maple Yam Budino

3/4 lb. yams
1/2 lb.celery root
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the baking pan
1/3 c. chopped bacon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 c. freshly grated Gruyere

Preheat the oven to 425.

Peel, quarter, and rub the celery root with olive oil, and puncture the yams with a fork, rubbing them with olive oil as well. Sprinkle with salt and roast until soft in the middle, about 30-45 minutes.
Peel the skin off of the yams and celery root (the celery root will develop a crunchy skin) and force through a ricer or food mill. Place them in a small pot over low heat. Separately, brown the butter and add it to the pureed mixture. Render the fat off of the bacon and add it to the mix, as well as the maple syrup and nutmeg. Using a wooden spoon, stir blend. Salt and pepper to taste and continue stirring until slightly dry. Add the flour to the milk and stir to dissolve some of the flour. Add the milk mixture to the pot and continue mixing until thick. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 300.

Add the egg yolks and the cheese, stirring to combine. Spoon into lightly buttered dishes (I use personal soufflé dishes). Bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes. If you want a little crunch on top, add some buttered breadcrumbs and broil for one minute or until browned. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Spinach-Stuffed Pumpkins

4 small sugar pumpkins
1 (9 ounce) package frozen creamed spinach, thawed
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 slices white cheese, such as Monterey Jack

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut off tops and remove seeds from pumpkins. Coat the insides with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Replace lids. Place in a shallow baking dish with a small amount of water to prevent bottoms from scorching during cooking.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until insides have darkened yet outsides remain firm. Meanwhile, small saucepan, stir softened cream cheese into spinach until melted and well-blended.
Fill pumpkins with spinach mixture, and top each with a slice of cheese. Return to the oven for 3 minutes to melt cheese if serving immediately. Pumpkins may be covered and refrigerated at this point until ready to serve. May be reheated in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Red Potato Colcannon

1 lb. small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. onion, thinly sliced
6 c. green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1/2 head)
1 c. low-fat milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Place potatoes in a steamer basket and steam, covered, until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in milk, salt and white pepper; cover and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture to the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher or a large fork to desired consistency.