Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Butternut Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce


1 c. half-and-half or whole milk
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
3 c. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4inch cubes
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
pinch all-spice
2 1/2 c. stale bread
2 small apples, cored (leave the peel) 1 cut into bit sized pieces, 1 sliced
1/3 c. dried cranberries (plus more to top
2 T. fresh mint

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
2 T. light-colored corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt

Granola Topping:

Here is the link to my recipe: The Best Granola

For the Bread Pudding:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your baking dish, I used a 11x9.  It is best to make your caramel sauce first so it has time to cool a bit before you add it to the egg mixture.  Set aside to cool once made.

In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla.  Add in 3/4 c. of the bourbon caramel sauce.  Whisk to combine and set aside.

In a large bowl toss the squash, brown sugar, the spices, bread, apples and cranberries.  Make sure you get it all nice and coated.  Evenly spread the squash mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Slowly pour the egg mixture over the top evenly.  Let it sit for about 5 (or more) minutes to let the bread absorb all the creamy goodness.

Sprinkle the top of the bread pudding with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the granola.  This is totally optional.  I just had some on hand and thought it would be a good addition to the dish.  I really liked the crunch that it provided the creamy dish.  But again, if you do not have it laying around you can omit this.

Bake the bread pudding for 1 hour or until top is browned and bubbling.  Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Top it with the fresh mint, sliced apples, a few more cranberries and drizzle some bourbon caramel sauce on top.  TIP:  Leave some extra sauce to drizzle on each individual serving.  We found that this was the BEST way to really taste the sauce.  SOOO GOOD!

For the Bourbon Sauce:

In a heavy sauce pan combine brown sugar, cream and butter.  Melt over medium-high heat until boiling.  Turn down the heat and let it cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Stirring frequently.  You want it to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in the salt, vanilla and bourbon.  Set aside to cool.

Recipe Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Big Mama's Chili


1 lb. round steak, cubed
1 can chili beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 t. marjoram
3 t. paprika
1 t. cumin
Salt to taste
3 T. chili powder


Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot and cook on low all day.

Serve with Fritos and Cheddar Cheese.

Posted by Debi

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sweet Peppers, Spinach and Bacon Pasta with Alfredo Sauce

Difficulty: Easy
Total Time: 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how many kid interruptions you have)
Serves: 6 to 8


1 lb pasta, cooked and drained
8 oz bacon, cooked (bacon fat reserved)
2 cups mini sweet peppers, seeded and sliced (roughly 20 peppers, it's up to you really)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Alfredo Sauce
2 T. butter
3/4 c. heavy cream (you could use milk, but if you are going to do alfredo you might as well do it right!)
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 t. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste


Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

In a large pan cut up the bacon in small pieces and cook until crispy.  Remove the bacon from the pan leaving the remaining bacon fat in the pan.  Add the peppers and onions to the bacon fat and sauté until soft (I know, totally not healthy, but we are going for taste over health in this recipe).  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the spinach, it will be overflowing but it WILL cook down.  Drizzle the olive oil over the spinach and season with salt and pepper.  Let it cook down over low heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn.

In the meantime, make your alfredo sauce.  If you have never attempted making your own alfredo sauce you are in for a treat!  In my opinion it is way better than any canned alfredo sauce.  Watch out Olive Garden! :)  Get a small sauce pan and put the heat on medium and melt the butter.  Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, you do not want it to boil so watch it.  Once it is good and heated through add your cheese and whisk, whisk, whisk.  Keep it moving so it doesn't burn.  Once all the cheese is good and melted add your seasoning.  You want it to be a little on the "over seasoned" side.  It will balance out when you add it to your pasta.

And that is it my friends.  Mix everything together and serve it immediately.  Bon Appetite!

Recipe by: Tracy

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

This has to be the best baked donut I've ever tasted. I found the recipe on Pinterest via the King Arthur Flour website. I give it 5 stars!

Place the following in a mixing bowl:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Beat everything together until smooth.
Add 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, stirring just until smooth.
BTW, this is a great place to try King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour. Reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon; omit the baking powder, and substitute 2 cups (8 ounces) self-rising flour for the all-purpose flour.
As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a couple of standard muffin tins; they just won’t be doughnuts.
Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full, using a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well; a tablespoon cookie scoop helps with this task.
If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans).
Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re using self-rising flour, bake for the longer amount of time.
If you’re making muffins, they’ll need to bake for 23 to 25 minutes.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them in a bag with cinnamon-sugar. Or better yet, pumpkin-spice sugar, made by combining the aforementioned pumpkin pie spice (or substitute) with granulated or extra-fine sugar.
If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with the spiced sugar of your choice.
Posted by Debi

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with a Balsamic Red Wine Reduction and Rosemary Portobello Mushrooms

Difficulty: Medium
Total Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6 (4 adults and 2 children)


1 1/2lb pork tenderloin
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
6 to 8 slices of bacon (depending on how thick you want it wrapped)
1 T. butter
3 T. grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
8 oz baby portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/4 c. raw honey
1/4 c. dry red wine (I used a 2 buck chuck bottle from Trader Joe's)
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. maple syrup
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary


It is best to start this dish and let it marinade as long as possible.  I would imagine you could even do the first steps the day before and let it marinade overnight.  I made mine around 11:00am and let it marinade for 6 1/2 hours.  I would give it a minimum of 2 hours marinading if you forget to make it ahead.

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat.  Melt butter and oil in pan and get it good and hot.  The combination of butter and oil gets hotter than just one of them alone.  I prefer it this way, although you do not have to do it this way.   

Generously rub pork tenderloins with salt and pepper.  Wrap them in bacon.  You could use tooth picks to hold it on, I did not and it turned out just fine.  Place the pork in the heated pan and sear on all sides until the bacon is nice and brown, about 10 or so minutes.  

While your pork is searing put together the marinade.  Whisk together 1 T. oil, honey, red wine, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.  Set aside.

Take the pork off the heat and place them in a deep baking dish and set aside.  

Turn the heat down and in the same pan sauté the diced onions, cook until soft. Make sure to scrape up all that browned goodness at the bottom of the pan...yum! Add garlic, mushrooms and rosemary.  Cook for addition 2 to 3 minutes, until the mushroom are slightly soft.  Add the marinade you whisked together and bring to a boil.  Once boiling turn down the heat and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour sauce over your pork tenderloins, cover and put in the refrigerator.  

Bast the loin every hour.

Take your meat out about 30 minutes before you bake it to bring down the temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook your tenderloin for 45 minutes, basting it every 15 minutes.  Basting gives you a nice tender meat.  Cook until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, no more and no less. It might take more or less time depending on how thick your cut of meat is and the pounds.  Start checking the temperature at 45 minutes and adjust accordingly.  

Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting.  Serve over a bed of jasmine rice and roasted asparagus.  Enjoy!

Recipe by: Tracy