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. 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

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 large cans of yams or app. 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, drained

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

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

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 pecans. 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  This year I will be adding a vegetarian stuffing to my table so be on the look-out for that recipe.

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.

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:

*you def want to double this recipe

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

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. Cut in butter until it’s mixed in 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. You can freeze this also, so make it way ahead and freeze it. If you freeze it, take it out a day before you need it, and then heat it up the day of.

*just a little hint, if you are having trouble cutting in the butter, melt it first . This is a good hint . Then use your clean hands to squish it together. It is easier to work with this way. If you did it the other way , it’s OK, it will all come out the same,  just easier to melt first, sorry I didn’t suggest that from the get go.  Karyn pointed this out to me on Thanksgiving!

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

My friend Audrey gave this 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

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

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

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.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

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My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. These are my go-to nuts for Thanksgiving. Just a little something to nosh on before the big meal. I don’t like too many apps. because the meal is so huge. These last for a while so you can make ahead and keep them in a baggie or an air tight container.  These nuts make the perfect appetizers, no one who eats nuts can resist. I also like mine with a little “kick”, you can manage the heat on these with more or less cayenne pepper or chipotle powder.

Enjoy !

 

Ingredients:

vegetable oil

7 cups of nuts (you can break it up any way you want. You can do 7 cups of roasted mixed unsalted nuts or any other combination as long as they equal 7 cups. if you can’t find unsalted nuts, adjust the salt on this recipe as per direction below) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh or container. fresh is always best (and one orange will do the trick,) but honestly no biggie.)

2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder–I use 2 teaspoons but if you really like them mild use a little less. You can also use cayenne pepper and sometimes I use a little of both.

4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (divide 2 tablespoons for now and 2 tablespoons for later)

4 teaspoons Kosher salt (also divided 2 for now and 2 for later. don’t add second 2 teaspoons of salt if you bought salted nuts)

Preheat oven to 350

Brush a sheet pan (prefer one with sides) generously with vegetable oil (use a brush, love the silicone brushes)

First, combine nuts, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder in a large bowl (I prefer a large metal bowl). Toss to coat the nuts evenly.

Add 2 tablespoons of the minced rosemary and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and give it a good toss (a large metal spoon works the best b/c it can get a little sticky with a wooden spoon.)

Spread nuts in a single layer on sheet pan.

Roast nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice. You will want to take them out of the oven to stir them b/c they may slide off the tray. Use a metal spatula. Roast for the rest of the 25 minutes until nuts are glazed .

Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (only if they were unsalted) and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temp.

While they are cooling, stir them up a few times b/c they may stick together.

Taste for seasoning. They really don’t achieve full flavor until they fully cool. So you won’t know how spicy they are until they sit for a while. I’ve made these a million times and can tell you that this amount of chipotle has kick, but not psycho hot.

Serve warm, or let them cool. Put them in a container and serve whenever you like. They stay good for a long time.

*just a note: you can adjust salt, rosemary, and chipotle to your liking. I have recipe for Union Square Nuts and they don’t have chipotle and are also delish but I prefer these b/c I love the heat of the chipotle!

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2018

It’s hard to believe it’s November already and nearing Thanksgiving and then before we know it, it’s Christmas and then 2019!!  Is it just me or does time just seem to fly by? Here we are in November and it’s time to think about our Thanksgiving menus and that’s what I am doing now , even though I am secretly in denial that Thanksgiving is almost here but in 2 weeks from today we will be sitting down to this sumptuous feast.  I always set out to make some new recipes but my family is pretty fussy about expecting the same dishes on our table. It’s tradition and why screw with tradition.

cookingwithcandi 092

Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin

So here we go again with my Thanksgiving recipes –for those of you who have tried them and love them please let me know and if anyone out there has some new great recipes I would love to hear about them.

Enjoy the prep and enjoy the holidays and mostly enjoy your families. Holidays can be tough on all of us but relax and enjoy! I am all for cooking some side dishes ahead and using hot trays to keep my food warm. Since it’s virtually impossible to cook everything and serve it hot you have to employ the use of a few tricks of the trade here. When possible serve some side dishes at room temperature. Use hot trays available on amazon and bed and bath. Make your life easier not more difficult. Cranberry can and should be made ahead as well as sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. Stuffing can be made a day or two ahead and you can re-heat it later, uncovered , and drizzled with a little turkey stock or actual drippings from the turkey pan ( my Grandmother used this trick all the time).Make your salad dressing a day or two ahead as well as any roasted nuts etc. Just get as much together as you possibly can to make your life easier. That’s what it’s all about. I always set my table the day or night before and get out all your serving pieces , platters etc.

Also don’t let guests bring food that has to be prepared at your house, they have to bring food that is ready to go. That means it’s not ice-cold , that means no whipping cream at my house , that also means if you’re bringing fruit salad make sure it’s already cut up before you get here and that means ready to go–on the hot tray but not in my oven!!!! I am all for help with the side dishes but not at the expense of having to use my kitchen! This is my golden rule.

Keep in touch with me –I love to hear your feedback and recommendations etc.

Wishing you happy cooking and happy holidays from my kitchen to yours. Remember be grateful not hateful and Gratitude not Attitude!

These are some of the recipes you may want to look at: I will be posting them one at a time.

Corn Bread Pudding

Butternut Squash Soup 

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

Kale and Brussels Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Pumpkin Walnut Bread and Hurricane Sandy 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 and Joy’s Cranberry Sauce

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macadamia Cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Crisp

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Pumpkin Penne Bake

 

 

 

Pasta with Sausage, Beans and Greens

I love pasta and am always on the lookout for new and delicious ways to prepare it. This recipe is the real deal and reminded me of many a pasta dish I enjoyed in Italy.  If Joel liked greens more I would have added more kale and as it is he always wonders why I contaminate the pasta with all the beans and green stuff. If I were making for myself I would have added more kale or whatever greens you like. It’s not the most simple recipe as it has a few steps but thoroughly worth the effort involved. I loved the way the beans gave it so much flavor. I used Paccheri Pasta — I was able to pick up a homemade version of this pasta.  It’s just a smooth, giant rigatoni with thinner walls . It soaked up the beans and broth ! I used a can of cannelinni beans but fava beans would be a nice change or chickpeas. I used Italian spicy sausage but you can try spicy lamb sausage as well or any sausage you would like.

Now if you leave out the sausage it can be made completely vegetarian!

Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

8 oz. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed

1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney) rinsed and drained. You can use fava or chickpeas

1/2 cup dry white wine if no wine in the house try chicken broth

12 oz. paccheri, rigatoni or any tubular pasta–try a homemade pasta from your local market

6 cups (lightly packed) torn escarole, baby kale, regular kale, Swiss chard leaves, regular kale even spinach will work–whatever you like

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-heat. Add sausage to pot and cook breaking up with a wooden spoon, stir occasionally until browned and cooked through, app. 10 mins. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a separate plate.

Add white beans to pot (drained and rinsed) and cook tossing occasionally, I mashed some beans with the back of a wooden spoon. So about 1/2 the beans mashed and the rest I left whole. Cook beans till slightly browned for about 5 minutes. Transfer 1/2 of this mixture to plate with sausage. Leave the other 1/2 in pot. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a boil and cook until liquid is almost all gone–about 2 minutes. I sprinkled a little kosher salt in to the bean mixture at this point. You’ll taste again for salt .

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, cook until very al dente, a few minutes less than you would normally cook. Don’t overcook!

I used a pasta insert to cook my pasta . I reserved a few cups of the cooking water –you’ll need it. Don’t throw it down the drain. Drain Pasta and then transfer pasta to pot with beans and add your greens and 1 cup of pasta water . Your heat should be on low under the pot just so it’s cooking without burning. Cook and stir often until greens are wilted , pasta is al dente and sauce is thickening up probably 5 minutes or so. Stir and Stir. Add another 1/4 cup of pasta water, then gradually add in 1/2 cup of grated cheese, tossing until melted and cheese dissolves into a beautiful glossy sauce. Thin out the sauce with more pasta water if too thick. Taste for salt  and I put a little freshly ground black pepper in at this point.

Now add in reserved sausage and beans. Delicious pasta right here right now in your pot! and so professional looking and tasting.

Sprinkle with extra cheese if you’d like and crushed red pepper if you’d like.

Pasta was rich and tasty served hot off the stove.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instant Pot Chili

If you’re like me and keep hearing about the wonders of this Instant Pot this is for you. The Instant Pot is a Pressure Cooker, Multicooker and Instant Pot all in one plus its a slow cooker! I bought 2 new cookbooks and this recipe came out of the book “Comfort in an Instant”by Melissa Clark ( one of my personal favorite chefs) . It’s Chili time of year and I really believe it’s Chili time of year all year round! Once I figured out my new Instant Pot and all it’s settings I was good to go and this was my Baby Step into the world of the Instant Pot. I made it on Halloween since I was home with all the trick or treaters and I was able to cook without having to attend to the pot. This recipe was titled Easy Weeknight Chili. If you cook it in the instant pot alone it is ready in under an hour. I had time so I did the first 3 steps and then turned the Instant Pot into a slow cooker for 3 hours! It’s great! I sautéed and cooked all in the 1 pot. Next time I will use the pressure cooker so watch for those recipes if you’re into the Instant Pot.

The book is titled “Comfort in an Instant” by Melissa Clark available on Amazon if you would like to see the full recipe it’s in the book.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin Olive Oil

1 lb. ground beef and I added 1/2 lb. ground pork ( you don’t have to but it gave the beef a wonderful layer of flavor which is obviously richer than just ground beef)Don’t use the lean version of ground beef , beef should be at least 85% lean and 15% fat. It’s your call about the pork . I would use 1 1/2 lbs. of meat

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 large onion, diced

1 green pepper , diced

1 jalapeno pepper seeded ( if desired you can leave some seeds which will make it spicier) and diced up

4 garlic cloves , minced

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon dried Oregano

1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin

1 28 oz can or box of diced tomatoes — original recipe calls for 1 can but I doubled it and it was just fine!

2 15 oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

app. 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Fresh Lime Juice

Toppings:– these are just suggestions

Sour Cream

Salsa

Red Onions , diced

Cubed Avocado

Cilantro

Jalapeno –extra diced

I used Soft Tortillas because I had them but you can use Tortilla Chips as well

*you can also serve over rice or as a taco filling which is what Joel did with the soft tortillas.

*Just be sure you sear the meat because you don’t want steamed meat . Follow instructions and do the meat in 2 batches

*Chili freezes extremely well so double down if you’d like and freeze the remainder

Directions:

Using the saute function ( set on high) heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in the pressure cooker pot. Add half the meat, spread it over the oil, and let it brown without stirring ( this is key) saute for 5-7 minutes. Give the meat a good stir after 5 minutes and continue to cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a plate and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the Kosher Salt. I didn’t need any more oil so if you do add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Repeat till the rest of the meat is browned, and add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt to this as well. Remove all the meat and you should have enough fat and oil to continue cooking veggies.

Stir the onion, bell pepper, diced jalapeno, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the pot until softened, app. 5 more minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Stir in the meat and any juices from the plate along with the tomatoes, beans, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

After this step I turned my Instant Pot into a slow cooker by setting the button to Slow Cook for 2-3 hours ( I did 3 because I had the time) on high setting. You can set on low setting for 4-5 hours.

When finished and ready to serve I plated up in big bowls( see photo) added a squeeze or two of lime juice and we added our own toppings.

EnjoyIMG_2878IMG_2882IMG_2883! we did.

I added my photo from Halloween I gave out the candy in my Chefs Jacket and Hat figured it was appropriate.

 

 

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This soup has always been a favorite of mine and I usually try to order it when it’s offered on a menu. I am a big fan of Mexican Food and have always wanted to try to make my own Chicken Tortilla Soup .This is a super easy version using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a packet of Taco Seasoning.  Now that the weather has turned super cold it’s a perfect time for heart warming meals. I started cooking soup in the afternoon, prep was pretty quick and I let it simmer for an hour and then turned off stove while we went out. When we got home I turned on the stove and continued cooking soup. I cut up avocado, chopped up some cilantro, put sour cream and cheese into some little bowls and in less than 1/2 hour we were sitting eating this delicious and tasty soup! Joel even ate the avocado!!!! This is big!!! He loved the soup. It’s very filling.

I use crispy tortillas if that’s what I have in the house. It is delicious with soft corn tortillas sliced up and added into the soup at the end also. I love when the crunchy chips go soft in the soup with the melted cheese– I could go on and on about this soup. Tonite I used soft tortillas.

If you have the time I suggest making this soup, it is so easy with a prepared chicken or you can make your own chicken .  The prep is about 15 minutes using store-bought chicken and cooking is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for soup.  I just think soup tastes better the longer it sits. I prefer making it in the early part of the day and letting it sit on the stove for a while.

This is a big soup and will probably serve 6-8 nicely. I have a container in my freezer and 4 of us ate this soup.

Look for my slow cooker version also on my blog.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie Chicken from your favorite supermarket

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Packet of Taco Seasoning — this is really easy , use whatever brand you like

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 diced green pepper

1 diced yellow, red or orange pepper

1 10 oz. can  Rotel brand Tomatoes and Green Chiles–just a suggestion

1 can enchilada sauce– green or red ( in Mexican Food section of your supermarket) its a small sized can

1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn  – drained

32 ounces Chicken Broth

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

4 cups hot water

2 cans Black Beans , drained and rinsed unless they’re organic and then you don’t have to rinse but I always do anyway

3 Tablespoons Cornmeal –mixed with water ( see instructions)

5 Soft Corn Tortillas (I use the small ones) cut into uniform strips or crunchy tortilla chips–use as many or as little as you like–or skip all together for a lighter version.

Toppings:

*optional and use whatever you like — these are just some suggestions

Sour Cream

Cilantro

Grated Cheese –Monterey Jack is a good choice here or Mexican Blend Grated Cheese

Cut-Up Avocado

Salsa or Pico De Gallo

Diced Red Onion

Diced Fresh Jalapeno

Hot Sauce like Cholula is my favorite go to sauce

Directions:

I took skin off chicken and shredded most of the chicken meat.

Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large Pot –dutch oven is great here (Le Creuset) add onions, peppers, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the packet of Taco Seasonings if it’s very dry and hard to stir you can add a little more olive oil. Add in the shredded chicken and stir it all up.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, enchilada sauce, water , black beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

In a little bowl mix 3 cornmeal with a small amount of water , just enough to mix it into a paste like consistency. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes at least, I cooked for another hour. I always believe the soup is best when it sits for a long time.

Check seasonings, adding more salt if you need it , I added kosher salt because I felt it needed it. Taste has to be your guide but be sure not to undersalt, you don’t want this to be bland. Turn off heat and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Five minutes before serving, gently stir in the tortilla strips if you’re using them.

Ladle into bowls, then top with your favorite toppings and there you go! I think the chips/tortillas make this soup along with the cilantro and avocado. Let your taste be your guide here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting–Fall Treats

photo (4)photo (16) photo (17) photo (18) photo (19)There are a few things I really love to eat. Mostly anything sweet and mostly dessert. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have an incredible sweet tooth. Funny that my name is Candi and I love candy, cookies, cakes and ice cream so very much. I would probably pass on most entrees and just cut to dessert if I had my way . When I was a kid I would gladly trade a sandwich for dessert any day of the week. Some things never change. I’d like to believe that my tastes in dessert have changed a wee bit and that I have a bit more of a sophisticated palate now but not when it comes to candy,  I still love junk candy as much as I did when I was 6. However my taste in cake has definitely improved with age. I don’t think I would have enjoyed pumpkin cake as a kid but I really love it now. Anything baked with pumpkin gets high marks in my book and if you put cream cheese frosting on it it’s off the charts.   It’s just the right amount of sugar and spice! Perfect Fall Cake and it may just find its way to my Thanksgiving Table. It really is a very easy recipe to follow ,  I made cupcakes but you can easily make this in a Pyrex 9 x13 inch pan as a sheet cake and frost it and decorate with candy corn or those little candy pumpkins!

Now you can make these without frosting and just eat like muffins with a little smear of cream cheese which wouldn’t be too bad either.

Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

Shopping List:

1 can Pumpkin ( not pumpkin pie filling just Pumpkin) 15 oz. size

cream cheese  and paper liners for cupcakes

Staples: (things you should have in your Pantry and fridge all the time)

all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, vegetable oil, eggs, confectioner’s sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and milk

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves if no ground cloves you can substitute with pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg. I prefer cloves.

1 tsp. salt (regular table salt)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) Pure Pumpkin

4 eggs ( room temperature please)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups of confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup softened butter ( unsalted)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 oz. softened cream cheese ( soften in microwave) not melted just softened or you can leave it out for a bit and it will soften up.  I actually used light cream cheese not fat free please. I mean the amount of calories is staggering, but you’re only going to eat 1 cupcake right? how many calories can possibly be in that????? Don’t tell me , I don’t want to know.

1 Tbsp. Milk ( I used skim plus)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I mixed all dry ingredients together then mixed in eggs ( one at a time) and can of pumpkin and vegetable oil. Mix till combined, don’t overmix. No need to sift, just put dry ingredients in a bowl first and whisk together with a whisk , get some air in there.

Pour into a greased muffin pan about 3/4 full.  I always use little paper liners and bake at 35o degrees for 20 – 30 minutes . Be careful not to over bake so the cake stays moist.  I baked for 26 minutes. I started checking on them after 20 minutes.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. I made my frosting in my electric mixer while cupcakes were cooling.

Frost Cupcakes / Cake  and if you’d like decorate with some of those little Halloween Candies like candy corn or those little pumpkin shaped candies sold this time of year. Enjoy!

*should make about 16 cupcakes , I made 12 and a mini loaf.