SWEET POTATO PECAN BREAD

INGREDIENTS

1 (15 oz) can sweet potatoes, drained * (2 Tbsp liquid reserved)

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mash sweet potatoes in *2 Tbsp of reserved liquid. 
  • Add sugar, water, oil, and eggs to mashed sweet potatoes and mix well.
  • Add flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder. Mix well.
  • Stir in chopped pecans.
  • Pour evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes:

*Apple pie spice or cinnamon can be substituted for pumpkin pie spice.

You can add sliced pecans on top before cooking for more flavor or a thin maple glaze frosting after the bread has cooled.

Maple Glaze: 1 cup confectioners sugar and 1/2 cup pure maple syrup; blend well drizzle over cooled loaf.

This recipe makes one loaf of bread, but it is delicious. Consider doubling this recipe – one loaf will be gone before you know it! This recipe is a perfect start to a Fall morning – enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Preparing your cupboard for Fall/Winter

In the summer it’s hot. We want foods that are light and crisp and cool. When the weather turns cooler in fall and winter, people look towards warmer foods to make them feel better and raise their temperature. This means more soups and casseroles, breads and comfort foods. Is your pantry ready to handle the change in meal choices? Make a list of what you will need. What types of meals do you typically make at this time of the year? Account for those ingredients in your shopping list for your pantry.

Most of the items you have are probably common staples that any pantry needs. There is nothing wrong with having two bags of flour or sugar. Dry staples will last a while when kept in a dry, cool and dark place.

Stock up on beef or chicken stocks or bouillon cubes. Vegetable, beef and chicken stock or broth add flavor to dishes without adding salt. It is easier than straining and making your own broth. Choose low sodium, gluten free or organic varieties if that is better for you.

Make room for grains. Quinoa, couscous, oats, oatmeal and barley are great sources of fiber and also create a filling dish. You can eat well and feel full without gaining excess weight.

Don’t forget some common filling staples such as potatoes, garlic, a variety of spices and onions. Store them at the lowest level in your pantry. Keep them hanging in the bags they were purchased in if you want. They provide a wealth of meal ideas. Dried herbs and canned or frozen vegetables from your garden are also great staples to have an abundance of for fall/winter recipes.

Be prepared for a great season of “comfort food” cooking. Happy Fall Y’all!!

Easy White Chicken Chilli

INGREDIENTS

6 cups chicken stock

3 – 4 cups cooked shredded chicken

2 (15-ounce) cans beans of northern beans or 1 big jar

2 cups (16 ounces) salsa verde 

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Optional toppings: diced avocado, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Stir together chicken stock, shredded chicken, beans, salsa and cumin in large pot.
  2. Cook on high heat until it simmers.  Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer.
  3. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite toppings.

Kit Kat Cookies

kit kat cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped Kit Kat candy bar pieces
  • Optional: add semi-sweet chocolate chips after adding Kit Kat pieces

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients except candy bar pieces. Set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed until combined. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients; mix just until combined. Do not over mix
  5. Gently fold in chopped Kit Kat candy bar pieces; cover bowl and refrigerate dough for about an hour
  6. Place a rounded scoop of dough on an ungreased baking sheet, or silicone mat/parchment paper lined baking sheet. Keep dough chilled in between batches.
  7. Bake 7-9 minutes or until barely golden brown around the edges. Do not over bake. The tops will not brown. Do not bake longer than 9 minutes. Cookies may appear to be soft and undone, but they will set as they cool.
  8. Cool cookies on baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Option:  can use an 9×13 square pan and make bars.  Just add 2 eggs instead of 1, 2 sticks of softened butter instead of 3/4 cup and add a small box of instant vanilla pudding mix.  Bake for 35-38 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Rum Glazed Caramel Corn

This is a great recipe for movie night.

INGREDIENTS:

1 – 2 cups un-popped popcorn
3 cups of granulated white sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pop the popcorn on the stove with oil. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl.
  • Cover one to two sheet pans with aluminum foil.
  • In a large saucepan, combine sugar, rum, butter, vanilla, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring very often.  Cook until sugar melts and caramel becomes a dark caramel color, careful not to burn because it scorches fast.  Takes about 15-20 minutes. 
  • Add the baking soda and keep stirring. Be careful as it bubbles up quickly and almost doubles in quantity. Quickly remove from heat, pour over the popcorn and stir quickly to coat all the corn.
  • Spread the caramel corn out on foil lined sheet pans and allow to cool.

Option: You can add your favorite nut to this, just add them before you coat the popcorn so they can be coated also.

Another option: Bourbon Caramel Corn, use your favorite Bourbon instead of rum or Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn, use your favorite Whiskey and sea salt instead of rum.

 

caramel corn

 

 

Easy Cobbler

This was my Mom’s recipe, so quick and easy and very tasty!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup Bisquick
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 3 – 5 oz can of Peaches
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream

DIRECTIONS:

Mix butter and vanilla in pan, add Bisquick, sugar, and milk in butter.  Pour peaches over the top of the mixture, do not stir.   Sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Fits a 9 x 9 pan!  Serve warm with ice cream.

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Lemonade Slush with Coconut Rum

With the warm weather finally here in Wisconsin, thought I would share one of my favorite lemonade slush recipes with you.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ice cubes, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut rum (such as Malibu)
  • Lime wedge or toasted coconut flakes (optional)

Directions

Place ice, concentrate, and rum in a blender; blend until slushy. Garnish with lime wedge or toasted coconut flakes, if desired.  Enjoy!!!

You could also do this over ice and not blended, which is how I like it the best.

 

frozen-coconut-limeade-1

 

Marinated Cheese & Crackers

I always try to keep some type of appetizers on hand for unexpected company.  This is a quick and easy one to pair with a good Moscato or a cold beer.

Ingredients

  • 2 blocks (8 ounces each) white cheddar cheese
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Crackers or small bread

Directions

  • Slice each block of cheddar cheese into twenty 1/4-in. slices. Cut each block of cream cheese into 18 slices; sandwich between cheddar slices, using a knife to spread evenly. Create four 6-in.-long blocks of cheese; place in a 13 x 9 dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the roasted peppers, oil, vinegars, onions, herbs, sugar; pour over cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once. Drain excess marinade. Serve cheese with bread or crackers.

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Split Pea Soup

One of my favorite meals in the winter or anytime really is soup!  So, this time I thought I would share a Split Pea Soup recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 4 thinly sliced carrots
  • 3 thinly sliced celery stalks (sometimes I skip this ingredient)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Low sodium chicken broth (about 14 oz)
  • 16 oz bag of green split peas
  • 1 Ham bone plus 2 cups ham cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp “I Can’t Believe It’s Not” Butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Using a 5-quart heavy pot with a lid, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add broth, split peas, ham bone, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover; simmer until peas are soft, 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard bone from soup. Working in batches, puree only 1/2 the soup in a blender (don’t overfill); return to pot. Add ham cubes, and simmer until heated through. If necessary, thin with water. Add salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve warm with a hearty bread or crackers and a blend of primarily Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  ENJOY!

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Mini Pumpkin Pies

I love to make finger foods, especially if they are sweet.  So, with the season being Thanksgiving I thought I would share an easy Mini Pumpkin Pie recipe.  Serve with a dollop of cool whip on top and enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

1 roll of sugar cookies
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 package (3.5 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 package cup cake cups
1 container of cool whip
INSTRUCTIONS:
Cut cookies per instructions on the package and place in muffin cups.  Cook according to directions and let cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mix until thickened. Stir in the pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree until thoroughly combined.  Fill each cup 1/2 full with the pumpkin mixture on top of the cooled cookies.  You can sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice on top if desired.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve within 3 days.
mini pumpkin pies
Mini-Pumpkin-Pies