Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Someone likes to sit in his stroller, in the kitchen while I cook and watch me, it's more like a portable recliner than a stroller...

Well, now that it is officially Fall, I had to celebrate with Pumpkin Bread Pudding!! If you like pumpkin, your taste buds are about to go on the adventure of a lifetime! Pumpkin Bread Pudding is one of my top 5 favorite desserts of all time!!  This is the dish I normally take to Thanksgiving.  

I had it a couple of times and I loved it! So I went to Google, and searched away.  Since then, I have come up with a pretty great recipe.  Here is what you will need:
                      For the Bread Pudding:

1cup cream
½cup whole milk
¾cup canned pure pumpkin
¼cup (packed) brown sugar
¼cup white sugar
2large eggs
¼teaspoon salt
teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼teaspoon ginger
½teaspoon vanilla extract
5cups bread (rolls or french is best) bread needs to sit out and dry out or put in the oven until it has dried out.
¾stick unsalted butter

For the Caramel sauce:
cups (packed) dark brown sugar
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½cup whipping cream
For bread pudding:
Chop or tear bread into small pieces. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, sugar,brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend.
Melt butter and toss bread. Fold bread cubes in pumpkin mixture. Spray pan with oil and transfer mixture to 11×7-inch glass baking dish or sometimes I use a white oval dish. Let stand 15 minutes.
Bake pumpkin bread pudding until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes (I don't like it gooey, if you do, cook it for less time).
Meanwhile, prepare caramel sauce:
Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Sometimes, I prepare the milk, egg and pumpkin mixture the night before and put in the refrigerator. It helps cut the time down.  

I like to drizzle the caramel sauce on the individual plates.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Maple Pecan and Bacon Pork Chops

This is one of my new favorite, no fail recipes.  This usually takes me 20-30 minutes to cook and it is super simple, not to mention delicious! I got the idea for this recipe from a local restaurant, Michael Fusco's Riverside Grill.  They have a butter pecan pork chop that is amazing! In my attempt to recreate this, I deviated and went in my own direction and added bacon. As we all know bacon makes everything better!

Here is what you will need...

2Pork chops
8strips of bacon (cooked and chopped into small pieces)
2Tbsp. oil (or enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan)
1/4cup Maple Syrup
1/3cup chopped pecans

When I pan sear my pork chops, I always like to tenderize them, especially if they are thick. Tenderize pork chops, then, season both sides with salt and pepper.
Turn your pan on medium to high heat. Let the oil heat up a few minutes. Put the pork chops in the pan and let cook for around 2 minutes, or until the pork has good sear. 

Let it cook on the other side for the same amount of time. Put a lid on and turn the burner on low, let the pork chops keep cooking.
While pork chops finish cooking, put the bacon and pecans in a small saute pan and let them heat up (low-medium heat).

Pour in the syrup. Let mixture heat up while stirring continually (2-3 minutes). Your syrup will reduce a little.
If you keep cooking, your syrup will caramelize, which you don’t want. Pour syrup mixture over the pork chops and let them soak up the goodness! When your pork chops are done (at least 145 degrees or no pink in the center) turn off burner and let rest for 5-10 minutes. I served the pork chops with sweet potato gnocci.  

You should really try this recipe, you won't be sorry. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

Fall is my absolute favorite season! There are many things I love about fall...
- The weather, it has been BEAUTIFUL
- The food, pumpkin and spice flavors
- Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks
- Thanksgiving
- Fall is the segway to Christmas... if that makes sense. 
- Fall is the best time to go camping
- Fall is the best time to sit around the fire pit on the patio, with the chill in the air and a glass of wine
-Fall is when Kent I and started dating and fell in love! 
-The leaves are beautiful... well maybe not this year in Oklahoma

 Fall is just perfect!

So, like I previously mentioned, I love the pumpkin and spice flavors... a couple of years ago, I heard there was going to be a shortage of canned pumpkin, so me, being the smart gal that I am bought about 15 cans of pumpkin at the grocery store, there was no way I was going without out my staples for the season. 

I don't know where I heard that, but it was not true... and we had all this pumpkin I had to use, so I experimented, and by the end of it all, we had many new delicious recipes and Kent was sick of pumpkin. We had pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin french toast, pumpkin cookies (amazing), pumpkin dip, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread pudding (probably my favorite dessert) pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds... and the list goes on... :)
So I was not allowed to make anything pumpkin for a long while, Kent still rolls his eyes when I mention pumpkin in a recipe title. 

I had to take something to life group last sunday for snacks, so I made a pumpkin spice coffee cake.  It turned out pretty good.  
I came across this recipe on Pinterest (my newest addiction) I adapted it from the cookbook Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms.  

You will need the following ingredients:

For the cake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
15 oz can pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Streusel Topping: (Yes, this is my favorite part, so naturally, I doubled this)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat  oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of pan (it suggested a tube or bundt, but I used a 13 x 9 inch pan) with nonstick spray; set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix thoroughly. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

To prepare the streusel topping, combine the flour, sugars, oats, cinnamon, melted butter and pecans in a bowl. Then sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes (depending on which pan you use, if you use a bundt pan, you will need to cook it 45-50 minutes) or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Slide a knife around the pan so the cake doesn't stick when removing it. If you use a bundt pan, cool on wire rack for 15 minutes then turn over on a plate, and back onto another plate so the streusel topping is back on top.  

This cake was even better the next day! It stayed moist and the flavors really came out! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thai Basil Chicken

One of our favorite restaurants in Tulsa is Keo, on Brookside. It is a quaint, reasonably priced restaurant with delicious "asian fusion" food.   Kent and I usually split the Tom Ka soup and the Thai Sweet Basil. They also have an AMAZING mango cheesecake that I think about quite often.  

I have been wanting the Thai Sweet basil, but we are trying not to eat out as much (we will see how long that lasts).  So when I was at the grocery store, I saw the ground chicken and thought I would experiment.  I looked up a few different recipes and went from there.  

Sorry, I did not take step-by-step pictures, I was not sure how it would turn out, but it is a very simple dish and you can cook it all in one pan.  The version I made was not super spicy, just had a little kick so you can omit the chili oil and Sriracha sauce if you would like.  

Here is the recipe:

1lb of ground chicken (½ lb. per person)
2Tbsp. oil (peanut, canola or I used grape seed oil)
2Tbsp. Chile oil
½C onion (chopped)
½Bell Pepper (chopped)
3Tbsp. minced garlic
sriracha sauce (to taste, I added a little at a time, I probably put in 2 teaspoons and kept tasting)
½C brown sugar
1tsp ginger
Soy sauce to taste
5large basil leaves (chopped)

Heat a large skillet or Wok with oils. When your oil gets nice and hot, you can saute your onions and peppers. After about 5 minutes, add your garlic. When garlic starts turning a light brown color (30 seconds), add the ground chicken. 
Cook chicken until it is no longer pink (you treat it just as you would ground beef). Turn your burner to medium-low heat. One at a time, add sriracha sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger. Stir frequently. 
Lastly, add basil and let simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust as needed. I impressed myself, it turned out great!  At Keo, this dish is $13 and I made 2 servings for less than $10.00 (It really only cost me $3.00 because I had everything but the ground chicken).  
Best served over a bed of rice!