Pantry Soup aka Pumpkin Bean Soup (can be vegetarian)

Colorado Winter '12 004Colorado Winter '12 006Colorado Winter '12 008 I love pumpkin as you already know by now. Since you can only really buy it from November through the Christmas Season I like to stock up for muffins, soups, etc.  I pulled out some cans of Black Beans, a can of Pinto Beans, and a can of Diced Tomatoes. This is the soup I made and it was pretty tasty. The spices I used are key, and you’ll have to check for Salt and Pepper towards the end . It wasn’t that difficult to make , I did use a lot of different ingredients but it was a good feeling to clean out the pantry at the same time! This is a warm wonderful soup, perfect for a cold winter day or evening. I did use a tablespoon of butter but you can easily substitute with all olive oil. I also love the way the Sherry Vinegar adds kick but if you don’t have it use Apple Cider Vinegar it’ll be just fine. There is no real right or wrong with this recipe, make it your way, use what you like and enjoy it!

Ingredients:

2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. can Pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, or chef’s cut tomatoes

1 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies ( this is optional, I had it and threw it in) if you can find this product by Rotel buy it because it’s really great in tacos, chili, stews and soups.

1 15 oz. can of Corn ( I used low sodium)

*1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter ( optional)

1 medium onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons kosher salt ( divided)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

4 cups Beef Broth ( feel free to substitute Vegetable Broth)

1  15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree

2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar ( or Apple Cider Vinegar)

Directions:

Pour 2 cans of the drained black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the can of tomatoes. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter and olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and some of the pepper. Cook and stir until the onions are softened and translucent. Stir in the bean puree, remaining can of beans, beef broth, pumpkin puree, and corn, tomatoes with green chilies, spices, and sherry vinegar. Mix until well blended,  I simmered for about an hour on a very low flame. Soup will thicken up nicely , if it is too thick you can add beef broth or water to thin out a bit.  Taste for Salt and Pepper, I added additional teaspoon of salt and pepper.

Michele’s White Chocolate Macadamia Jumbos

 Michele always makes these for her fabulous Christmas party and I always loved them and was lucky enough to get the recipe. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months , so you can make ahead of a holiday or better yet when you’re finished eating them put in a ziploc bag and freeze them. You can take them out one at a time and that’s the best!

They really are a wonderful cookie and good anytime of the year . I mean macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips????? say no more. 

They cooked up in 17 minutes at 325 degrees and were just beautiful. Thanks Michele for this wonderful recipe.  

Enjoy and Stay Safe this Thanksgiving and always.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup butter or margarine ( 1 1 2/ sticks softened)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3 Tblsp. corn syrup

2 tsps. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 large eggs ( room temperature please)

12 oz. bag white chocolate chips

1 jar ( 6 1/2 oz) macadamia nuts chopped about 1 1/3 cups

1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries or cranberries, I actually used craisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, I placed flour, baking soda and salt  and mixed together. In bowl of kitchen aid mixer I placed softened butter, sugars, corn syrup , vanilla, butter and eggs, mixed at medium speed while adding the flour in. When it’s all combined scrape bowl with rubber spatula, and stir in white chocolate chips , nuts and cherries.

Drop by slightly rounded 1/4 cups, 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet, I used a Silpat and an ungreased cookie sheet. These cookies are large so be sure to space 3 inches apart. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Can be frozen up to 3 months.

I baked for 17 minutes, check them after 15 depending on your oven.

These cookies are amazing. Enjoy!

Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery – One of my Top Ten Desserts that you don’t even bake

Since the first time my daughter Jenn made this dessert we have added it to our Thanksgiving Table. Just what you need after that big dinner is this dessert!!! We love it and can’t get enough of it. Whether you’ll be making it for Thanksgiving or anytime just be prepared to fall in love with it. Completely decadent and totally ridiculous in calories and richness it is love at first bite.

I was thinking perhaps you can cut this recipe in 1/2 for the much smaller Thanksgiving we’re all having this year. It can definitely be done. The pudding might be a little dicey to cut in 1/2 but measure it out into 2 measuring cups. All the other ingredients can easily be cut in 1/2.

It is actually a subtle taste of bananas, but I wouldn’t make this if I didn’t like bananas. I happen to just adore bananas and I absolutely love love this pudding. I cannot have it in the house because I will continually find an excuse to go into the fridge and eat it till it’s pretty much all gone.  As full as I was last year and swearing I wasn’t going to eat another thing for at least a week, when I saw this  pudding I knew I was going to eat it.  I find it impossible to resist, and I know others who suffer from this same fate. If you’re in the market for a purely decadent rich over the top dessert then this is it for you. Probably up there in my top ten desserts ever. This is from the More from Magnolia Cookbook so how could it be bad?

*this recipe really needs time , so you must start the day before to let initial pudding set, and then you’ll need at least 4 more hours minimum before serving. So you must factor time into your preparing of this awesome pudding but it’s so worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

Ingredients:

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 1 /2 cups ice-cold water

1 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix ( preferably Jell-O brand)is there another brand?

3 cups heavy cream

1 12 ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers ( no substitutions) is there another brand?

4 cups sliced ripe banana

Directions:

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and cold water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more.* Cover and refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer , whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remains.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl ( preferably glass) with a 4 – 5 quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, over-lapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding . ( Just crush up a few remainder cookies in food processor) Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for *4 hours–or up to 8 hours, but no longer! Serve and behold the love!

Serves anywhere from 12- 15

It’s a large dessert and a substantial one. It stands alone beautifully!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

photo 3 (7) photo 2 (9)This is my go to recipe for the creamiest mashed potatoes around. I make them a few times a year and mostly on the holidays. Occasionally I’ll whip them up for dinner . They are rich and delicious and just the way mashed potatoes ought to be. I’d like to tell you that I don’t use butter and cream but I do. These are pretty easy to make, all I would say is to buy a good potato masher they come in pretty handy for a lot of other uses as well ( great for egg salad) .  I like to work with Yukon Gold Potatoes. This recipe is for 5 lbs. and feeds about 10 – 12 people , just perfect for a holiday dinner. These are my Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes. Since most of us are doing micro Thanksgiving Dinners I would cut this in half and have a little left-overs for a few days. Just cut all the ingredients in half.

* see also Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives for another way to go.

Ingredients:

5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes or Russet Potatoes

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 to 3/4 cups half and half

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt ( more to taste) I used at least 1 teaspoon you’ll have to taste for yourself.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper. ( more or less to taste)

Directions:

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size.

In a large enough pot to cook all of the potatoes fill pot with cold water to cover the potatoes. I bring to a boil and cook for about 30 – 35 minutes. When potatoes are cooked through, a fork should easily slide into the potatoes without resistance, potatoes should be soft but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot back on the stove. Mash the potatoes with masher over very low heat, allowing the steam to escape, before adding the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, an 8 oz. package of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, mash and mash away.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish and taste for salt and pepper. I ended up using at least a teaspoon of salt, and a bit more pepper.  Place a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes have warmed through.

* if making a day or two in advance–place potatoes in baking dish,  leave covered in fridge. Take it out of the fridge about 2 – 3 hours before heating up to bring to room temperature. Place your butter pats on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour or so till completely warmed through.

*

Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

I have always felt obliged to have this recipe on my Thanksgiving table because everyone wants it. Even if this year is a “micro” Thanksgiving I will have it on the table. A its the easiest thing to make and B everyone loves it. Believe it or not children and adults alike will always look for this tasty concoction of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. It just wouldn’t be the same without some version of this.  It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have. I have to admit that I love this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

3lbs. Sweet Potatoes or Yams or you can even make this easier and use 2 cans of Bruces Sweet Potatoes drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/2 cup chopped pecans obviously optional

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and melted butter and pecans if you’re using them. Simmer for a  few minutes. In the meantime, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash them (you can leave a few chunked pieces.) If you’re cooking your sweet potatoes , peel and cut into quarters (cubes) fill a large pot of water to cover potatoes , add a little salt to water and bring water to boil. Boil for about 12 minutes till you can pierce potato with a fork easily. Remove and drain potatoes. I always place my potatoes back in pot to steam off excess water.

Pour sugar/pecan and pineapple mixture over the yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a pie pan, actually any baking dish will do. Oven to Table is perfect here. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove, put mini marshmallows on top to cover, and raise the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to brown the marshmallows. Don’t let it burn.

The Stuffing that Will Be on Our Table

I made this recipe for the first time Thanksgiving 2011 and it is now the only Stuffing I make.  I found it in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, loved all of the ingredients and thought it was delicious. I know there a lot of stuffings out there and unfortunately  this one is not vegetarian. I suppose you can use those veggie links in place of the real sausage but not sure how that will taste and use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock which you can use anyway.  Please let me know if you do that I would love to try.

I am not gonna lie this stuffing takes some work and a lot of ingredients but it’s well worth it .

I don’t cook my stuffing in the turkey. I make it ahead of time and cook it in a buttered/sprayed baking dish the day of.

Even though this year is a “micro ” Thanksgiving let’s try and make a few of our staples and enjoy the day even though we’re not with our nearest and dearest.  Let’s hope that next year we’ll be back cooking dinner for 16.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup diced dried figs, stems removed

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup Calvados or brandy (I used Calvados, bought the bottle last year)

2  yellow onions, diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 cup (3 stalks) celery, diced about 1/2 inch

1 lb. pork sausage (I do 1/2 sweet and 1/2 hot. Feel free to substitute any kind of sausage you would like. Try to get the butcher to take it out of casing for you. It’s one less thing to do.)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (please don’t leave this out)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (put in oven at 400 for about 5 minutes and watch them!)

3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix –I use Pepperidge Farm Brand

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 extra large egg, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and celery and saute until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent (don’t burn them.) Add the sausage, crumbling it as you go. Continue to saute, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage. Keep cooking for about 10 minutes, until cooked and browned up. Add the figs and cranberries with their liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook until all ingredients come together, for a couple of minutes. Scrape up and remove all the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, beaten egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix well. (This can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight, which is what I do. It’s just too much to do the day of.)

I put the stuffing in a well-sprayed, slightly buttered (optional), baking (gratin) dish. If you put this in the preheated over, you will likely cook it for at least 45 minutes and probably more like an hour to two hours if it’s doubled.  I also stir frequently while it is cooking, and then let it go for the last 15 minutes and it browns up. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

obviously if you are doubling this recipe you will need to use a large (very) frying pan. Or you can just do it in batches. You will need a very large pan to cook it up in though. You need to spread it out while it cooks so it cooks through. Once it is cooked you can always put it in a pretty baking dish and as it heats up just mix it through every once in a while so top doesn’t burn and bottom won’t be soggy.

I know everyone thinks that their stuffing is the best, but if made properly this one is absolutely amazing!

*This will probably serve at least 8 as one of many sides, but feel free to double.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp- Thanksgiving

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

This recipe has been around pretty much my whole married life. If there is a turkey on the table, there is cranberry crisp next to it.  It originated from my friend Karyn, and we even make it for Passover with matzoh farfel.  It’s so sweet and delicious that it could really be a dessert. We love it with our meal; love the sweet and savory thing. You can’t eat too much of it, it is so rich. It is also very dangerous to have in the fridge the next day, so try to give it to everyone who wants to take home leftovers. This tastes good either hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Some people may even want to make it as dessert and serve with vanilla ice cream, but the Kolens don’t. We always serve it as a side dish and it is awesome however you serve it. Thanks again, Karyn.

I suggest reading through the entire recipe before making it.

Ingredients:

4 medium apples ( I use all different kinds)

1 can (1 lb.) whole cranberry sauce

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup uncooked quick rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter–melted

*for a larger crowd you can easily double this recipe — as is should serve 8 -10

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9×13 baking dish with Pam.

Peel apples, slice them, then arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Spoon cranberry sauce over the apples.

Separately, stir rolled oats, flour, and brown sugar together. Melt Butter and let it just cool for a few minutes then mix in with oats and brown sugar till nice and crumbly.  Sprinkle this over cranberry layer. Bake at 350 degrees until apples are cooked and top is lightly browned. The entire mixture will be bubbling and your house will smell divine. You will bake about 40 minutes to an hour. You can make ahead of time, and then on the day you need it, just heat it up until it bubbles.  I usually make this a few days ahead, because it’s that much less that I’ll have to do the day of. This can definitely be made ahead of time  so you can  make it way ahead and freeze it.  If you freeze it, take it out of freezer a day before you need it, and then heat it up the day of. (Make sure it’s completely defrosted before heating up)

When you re-heat , pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and cover with foil for first 1/2 hour and then remove foil for last 1/2 hour till it starts to bubble.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now.  It’s a very seasonal ingredient and mostly because it’s really only available during the Fall. Sometimes I’ll buy a few extra cans to have for the winter because after Thanksgiving it becomes hard to find.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner and it’s a good one for all the vegetarians out there.  This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it on the Monday before Thanksgiving and freeze it without putting the mozzarella cheese on top.  I will take it out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will  put cheese on top and bake till bubbly , you’ll want to make certain that it is completely defrosted and room temperature before putting it in the oven.  I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 20 minutes or so till it gets slightly brown.   It should start bubbling and to check for readiness put a fork right in the middle . If it needs more time and is getting too browned put foil back on and continue heating it up. You will cook it at 350 degrees as directions state.

One of the best things about baked pasta dishes is that they freeze so well. Making them some of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead. This whole thing including chopping up sage took maybe 1/2 hour to prep. My kind of dish!

As a side dish it should serve about 10-12 .

Ingredients:

1 box (1 lb.) penne pasta, cooked and drained well– cavatappi or rigatoni will work fine too.

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling

3 – 4  cups shredded mozzarella, divided , I used about 3 cups in pasta and another 1 cup on top. ( 2 packages 8 oz. shredded cheese) you’ll have a little left over

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, pumpkin,  2  cup- 3 cups mozzarella, heavy cream, sage, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Taste for salt.

Transfer mixture to a greased or well sprayed 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Since I was freezing I pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer.

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

This has to be one of my all time favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. It really would be great any time of year but for some reason it only gets made for Thanksgiving. It’s super easy and super delicious. My friend Audrey gave this recipe to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in our family. Can be doubled easily, just make sure your baking dish is large enough.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

1 8 oz. sour cream (lite is OK  but not fat-free)

1 8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

1 8 oz. can creamed corn

1 8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first with a good cooking spray like Pam or Bakers Aid ) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Thanksgiving 2020

This is a tough one for sure. Thanksgiving 2020 will definitely be very different than all my other Thanksgiving dinners. We’re going to make the very best of it and for us that means a very small holiday dinner with our daughter and our 2 grandsons. We will cook all our favorites on a small scale and maybe instead of a whole turkey we will make a turkey breast.

We need to get through these next few months and the upcoming holidays in a much smaller way. Perhaps a vaccine is right around the corner? Perhaps next Thanksgiving will be a more normal scenario? I for one am praying daily for that outcome to happen ASAP.

For now I will still post all my Thanksgiving favorites and even if you’re celebrating with only 2 people you can make something new or an old favorite and enjoy the meal .

Let’s be Thankful for our good health and happiness and what we do have. Remember be grateful not hateful in spite of the pandemic.

Let’s hope for a better 2021 and let’s be optimistic about our future.

Keep in touch with me on Instagram or email me @cmk55@sopris.net or right here on my site.

Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving Recipes, just put in the search box on my site or put in Thanksgiving . Or go to @cookingwithcandi or google the title of the recipe @cookingwithcandi.

Happy Thanksgiving .

Corn Bread Pudding

Butternut Squash Soup

Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts– I have 2 different recipes for the nuts and they are both awesome

Kale and Brussels Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

Pumpkin Walnut Bread and Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkin Penne Bake

Stuffing that will be on our Table or Cranberry Walnut Stuffing

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yam Souffle

Easy Peasy Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Karyn’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Crisp

Joy’s Cranberry Sauce

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macaroon Cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Pear Crisp

Apple Crisp

Magnolia Banana Pudding

Corn Bread Pudding
pre marshmallow topping
Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp

Butternut Squash Soup
Prep and Ingredients for Corn Bread Pudding