Tag Archives: pumpkin

Secret Ingredient Chili and Cheddar Herb Beer Bread.

After enjoying what was probably our last few days of Indian Summer, it’s been a dreary weekend here in Chicago  It’s dark and rainy just all around blah.  Days like this just kill my motivation to do anything other than sit on the couch and tend to my frontier on Facebook (I know, it’s an unhealthy addiction).  But there I was, standing in front of an empty refrigerator with a hungry family waiting to be fed.  While the Fruitaholic napped (and the Husby played his video game), I dragged myself to the grocery store to pick up a few things to get us through the night.  On these chilly Autumn evenings, nothing hits the spot better than a big bowl of warm chili.

Helping me feed my obsession to any and all flavors of Fall, I added a “secret” ingredient to this batch of chili: Pumpkin.  I say it’s a “secret” because the Husby is starting to put his foot down whenever I mention the word pumpkin in relation to food.  We’ve had Pumpkin Lasagna, Pumpkin Meatloaf Muffins, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, Pumpkin bread (from a box mix) and Pumpkin Seeds, and there’s at least one pumpkin dish on my menu for next week.

The Husby’s reaction to the first bite?  “Mmmm, this is really good, what’s in it?”

I’ll never tell…

“Secret Ingredient” Chili

  • – 1 Lb. Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
    – 1 Package Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed
    – 1 Onion, diced
    – 2 Cans Rotel Tomatoes
    – 1 Can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
    – 1 Can Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
    – 1 Can Canellini Beans, drained and rinsed
    – 1 Can Pumpkin Puree
    – 16 oz Stout Beer (I used Guinness)
    – 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder (or more, to your preferred level of hotness)
    – 1 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
    – 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
    – 1 Tsp. Sugar
    – Salt and Pepper, to taste

Brown ground beef over medium high heat until browned, then drain.  Repeat with sweet italian turkey sausage.

Add diced onions to a skillet with 1 tbsp oil, and brown until slightly soft, about 5 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and mix well.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 90 minutes.

Serve over elbow macaroni and top with sour cream, cilantro and a generous amount of cheddar cheese.

I served this chili with a loaf of Cheddar and Herb Beer Bread.  It was quick, easy and really flavorful.  It was really good for sopping up the chili left at the bottom of the bowl.  The great thing about beer breads is that you can customize them however you want, using whatever herbs, spices and other additions to suit your liking.  I followed this recipe exactly because I still have some rosemary and thyme growing in my backyard.

Cheddar and Herb Beer Bread – from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

  • – 3 Cups Flour
  • – 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • – 1 tsp. Salt
  • – 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • – 12 oz Beer
  • – 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • – 1 tsp. Chopped Fresh Thyme
  • – 1 tsp. Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • – 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • – 1 1/2 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased loaf pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes.

WB Challenge #1 – Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the cooking board that I frequent.  Some of the girls have banded together and created a monthly baking challenge called What’s Baking? (it’s a play off the name of the board, What’s Cooking?).  This is the first month of the challenge and the theme was Fall Cupcakes.

Immediately, the ideas started flowing through my brain. There were so many different ways I could go with this: Maple Pecan with Candied Bacon, Sweet Potato with Cranberry and Brown Sugar, Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, Apple Cider with Rosemary Frosting….

Lucky for me, the due date for this challenge coincided with the Husby’s birthday weekend, so I went straight to the source and asked him what kind of fall themed cupcakes he’d like for his birthday.  His answer was simple: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

I searched the internet for the perfect recipe.  There are so many different Pumpkin Spice Cupcake recipes out there.  I finally chose one that had an ingredient that jumped out at me:  Freshly ground Black Pepper.  I was very excited to see what it would add to the otherwise simple flavor profile (it was super yummy).

So what did the Husby think of his birthday cupcakes?

DELICIOUS!!

Make sure to stop back on the 30th for a link to the round up of all the What’s Baking? Fall Cupcakes!!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – slightly adapted from Sassy Radish

  • – 1 Stick Butter, Unsalted, Softened
  • – 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • – 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • – 2 Cups Flour
  • – 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • – 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • – 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • – 1 tsp. Ginger (I used fresh because I had extra on hand, but the original recipe calls for ground)
  • – 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • – 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • – 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • – 1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • – 2 Eggs
  • – 1/2 Cup Buttermilk mixed with 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • – 1 1/4 Cups Canned Pumpkin

For the Frosting:

  • – 2 8oz Packages Cream Cheese, Softened
  • – 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • – 2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • – 1/4 Cup Grade B Maple Syrup

CUPCAKES:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together 1 stick butter, brown sugar and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.

Add eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  Add 1/3 flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk/vanilla.  Repeat, then add remaining 1/3 flour mixture.  Beat in pumpkin until smooth.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners until 3/4 full.  Tap the tin once on the countertop to release air bubbles.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool.  After 10 minutes, remove cupcakes from muffin tin and cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING:

Beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup.  Fill a piping bag with frosting and swirl over cupcakes.  Add a candy corn pumpkin for decoration and refrigerate for 30 minutes to set frosting.  Dig in!

Pumpkin Meatloaf Muffins with Cranberry Topping and Apple-Potato Pancakes.

again, it's not so pretty. has anyone ever taken a good picture of meatloaf?

By now I think everyone is aware of my obsession with pumpkin, and now that the weather has changed, I’m craving comfort food, and I do love me a good meatloaf.  The grocery store had ground turkey on sale last week for 2/$5 so I took advantage and stocked up.

We’ve recently taken to making meatloaf in muffin form since they’re single size servings, easy for little hands to pick up, and freeze really well.  Plus, they look really cute when you “frost” them with mashed potatoes.

The Husby, Fruitaholic and I all enjoyed these muffins, but thought they were a little on the bland side.  It’s really my fault since I didn’t use any seasoning whatsoever besides sage, salt and pepper.  I’ll definitely make this again, but next time I’ll use a mirepoix (Trader Joes sells a prechopped mix, which is good since I’m time constrained), some garlic, allspice and more sage to add a little bit more flavor.

Pumpkin Meatloaf Muffins with Cranberry Topping – adapted from Veggie by Season.

  • – 1 lb. Ground Turkey
  • – 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • – 1 Egg
  • – 2/3 Cup Oatmeal
  • – 1 tsp. Sage
  • – 1 Tbsp. Worchestershire
  • – Salt and Pepper, to Taste
  • – 1 cup Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients except cranberry sauce in a mixing bowl.  Scoop portions into muffin tin, leaving about 1/4 inch at the top of each round.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Heat cranberry sauce until warm.  Spoon on top of each meatloaf muffin.

Apple-Potato Pancakes – from Weight Watchers

  • – 1 Potato, peeled
  • – 1 Apple, peeled, cored and quartered
  • – 4 tsp. Onion Flakes
  • – 1 Egg
  • – 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • – Salt and Pepper, to taste

Shred potato and apple using a box grater.  Stir in onion flakes.  Transfer to a strainer and press out as much liquid as you can.  Wait one minute, then press again to drain.  Stir in egg, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high.  Using a cookie scoop and working in batches, drop potato mixture into skillet and flatten to form a pancake.  Cook until golden, about 3 minutes, then flip and do the same.

Pumpkin Lasagna

It might not be pretty, but it is delicious!

Well, there’s no arguing around these parts that it’s Fall.  The cooler weather has taken over and the leaves are changing colors and falling off the trees.  I’ve traded in my tank tops and capris for hoodies and jeans.  It’s my favorite time of year.

Sure, it means Summer is over and Winter and it’s nastiness is right around the corner, but there’s just something about Fall that makes everything seem right in the world.  Fall brings the arrival of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Bacon and Cheddar Apple Pies (check back soon for the recipe).  Fall is made for family gatherings around the dinner table or at the apple orchard.  It’s the flavors and aromas that I love about Fall… The scent of burning leaves when you step outside, the warmth of the fire from the fireplace, the mugs full of hot chocolate and yummy things baking in the oven.

Once the weather turned, I was chomping at the bit to make this recipe.  I combined two different recipes and added a few things on my own to create just the right flavor I was looking for.  The touch of sweetness was a welcome addition… Not too overwhelming. The Husby claimed it was like “dinner and dessert all in one bite.”  My original plan was to use chicken and apple sausage as the protein but, of course, the grocery store was out.  Luckily, I found a sweet italian turkey sausage that worked just fine.

What is your favorite thing about Fall?

Pumpkin Lasagna – Adapted from Prevention RD and Food Mayhem

  • – 1 Package No-Boil Lasagna Noodles
    – 1 Package Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed
    – 1 Onion, chopped
    – 1 Package Sliced Mushrooms
    – 1 Bag Baby Spinach
    – 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
    – 2 Tbsp. Butter
    – 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
    – 2 Cans Pumpkin
    -1 Cup Half and Half (I used fat free)
    – 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
    – 2 tsp. Maple Syrup
    – 1 tsp. Cinnamon
    – 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
    – 1 Tbsp Dried Sage
    – 15 oz. Ricotta
    – 1 bag Shredded Mozzarella
    – 1 cup Parmesan
    – Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Saute mushrooms and onions in the olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Set aside.

Brown sausage and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add garlic and stir until golden brown.  Add pumpkin, half and half, sage, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Stir until warm then set aside.

In a 9×13 baking dish, spread a layer of pumpkin sauce, followed by a layer of noodles.  Add another layer of pumpkin sauce.  Top with half of the vegetable mixture, sausage, ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan.  Repeat once then top with remaining noodles and sauce and the remainder of the mozzarella and parmesan.

Cover dish loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.