Monday, September 29, 2008

Peanut Butter Pie

I'm sitting out this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. As excited as I was to try my hand at Creme Brulee, it wasn't in the cards this week. The hubby's been out of town, so I don't have a guinea pig to eat it, and things have just been really hectic.

So, I'll instead share a favorite recipe of mine. Peanut Butter Pie!

It's rich, creamy, and delicious. Sinfully delicious. Every time I make it I get asked for the recipe. And not only is it good, it's really a cinch to whip together. You can get creative with the toppings - sometimes I drizzle a little peanut butter on top along with hot fudge, sometimes just the hot fudge, and sometimes nothing at all. Any way you make it, it's darn good!

Peanut Butter Pie
(recipe from Smucker's)

1 prepared chocolate cookie pie crust
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
12 oz. container non-dairy whipped topping, divided
11.75 oz. jar hot fudge topping, divided
1/2 cup sugar

1. In a medium bowl, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Gently fold in 3 cups whipped topping. Spoon mixture into pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.

2. Reserving 2 Tbsp. hot fudge, place remaining hot fudge topping into microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Spread hot fudge topping over pie to cover the peanut butter layer.

3. Refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping over the hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.

4. Place 2 Tbsp. hot fudge in a small baggie and knead for a few seconds. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over pie. Do the same with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter going in the opposite direction of the hot fudge.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Grilled Pork Kabobs

Now, I know that it's technically no longer summer, but since I made these a few weeks ago, I think they're still appropriate. And if you're like me and the weather outside your door is 80 and sunny, then it's still grilling season. So fire 'em up!

Denny has all of the grilling responsibilities in our house. Usually I get the food ready, and send him outside to grill. Well, one of these days I just need to take over that duty because he's notorious for burning food. Lucky for me, I get whatever portion isn't burnt. One of these days, I think he'll get the hang of that grill... slow and steady wins the race, honey. :-) Oh, and pay no attention to the char on the grill... he's a little slow in scraping all that gunk off too.

These kabobs are so yummy. The pork is marinated in a soy sauce/garlic/ginger concoction and it's very flavorful. Pair that with onion and pineapple and it's just perfect. I cooked up some rice to serve it with and it was a great and tasty meal.

Grilled Pork Kabobs
(from Taste of the South Magazine)

3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sorghum syrup, honey, or molasses
20 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. freshly crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 lbs. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into small wedges

1. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, sorghum syrup, pineapple, ginger, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, reserving 1/2 cup mixture. Place remaining mixture in a large resealable plastic bag. Add pork and onion. Seal bag. Refrigerate for one hour, turning occasionally.

2. Preheat grill to Medium-High (350 to 400 degrees F). Thread pork, onion, and pineapple chunks alternately onto 8 (12-inch) skewers. Discard marinade.

3. Grill over direct heat for approximately 10 minutes or until done, turning and basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Dimply Plum Cake

The plum cake Gods were not on my side this week.

It all turned out fine in the end, but it seemed like everything went wrong in the process. I had everything I needed and the cake was super easy to whip up. The only thing I did differently was mix in a little dark brown sugar because I didn't have enough of the light brown. I didn't really think it would make a difference, and maybe it didn't, I'm not really sure what my problem was.

I put it in the oven to bake for the recommended 40 minutes. But it wasn't done. I ended up leaving it in for another 12 minutes and kept checking it, but that knife kept coming out with batter on it! The sides looked like they were getting overdone, so I finally threw in the towel and just took it out. Here's how it looked right out of the oven...

Then I tried to invert it and get it out of the pan. It broke in half.

I re-assembled it and think I did a fairly good job of making it look like it never happened...

I think the cake part of this was really great and flavorful, but I wasn't a huge fan of the plums. It was quite good with a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, though! I took this to my parent's house over the weekend while I visited them and the only person who tried a piece was my Dad. I think everyone else was turned off by the thought of the plums. So I think next time I'll try this with something else, like peaches.

Head on over to Michelle's blog at Bake-en for the recipe.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Banana Crumb Muffins

I was perusing the website trying to find a breakfast idea for some company I had coming when I came across these. I eyed the blackening bananas on my countertop and said, yep, this is the one. I had everything on hand and didn't even need to buy anything.

These banana muffins are incredibly moist and flavorful. They were really easy to whip up and made 10 plump muffins. The brown sugar topping gives them a little extra sweetness. I have this thing I do when I'm eating something yummy... I save the best part for last so that I can really savor it. That's what you'll want to do with the tops of these muffins. So good! They were so gorgeous coming out of the oven too... puffing up out of the tins. Irresistible!

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.

2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 and 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, and cinnamon. Cut in 1 Tbsp. butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tex-Mex Ravioli Casserole

I guess I must be in a casserole mood lately. This one is tasty and is a little "different." I'll consider this to be semi-homemade because of the use of frozen raviolis. I saw this recipe and wanted to try it, but I was a little unsure how it would taste. It would either be really good, or really weird. I mean... does ravioli really go with salsa and beans? Well, I guess it does because it was good!

I must warn you that the recipe calls for a TON of cheese on top of this casserole. I'm going to type out the recipe as is below, but know that I used less cheese and still thought it was a lot. Otherwise, everything in the recipe came together great and the leftovers were superb. Give it a try, you just might like it!

Tex-Mex Ravioli Casserole

16 oz. jar mild salsa
10 and 3/4 oz. can tomato puree
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
28 oz. bag frozen cheese ravioli, unthawed
2 - 19 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Combine first 3 ingredients. Pour 1/2 cup sauce mixture on bottom of a lightly greased 2-quart oval or 11x7-inch baking dish. Top evenly with frozen cheese ravioli. Layer with black beans, chopped cilantro, green onions, and remaining sauce mixture; top evenly with shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

2. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Chunkers

Another cookie this week! This selection was made by Claudia of Fool for Food. Scoot on over to her blog if you'd like the recipe. And as always, you can buy the cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan for this and many more recipes. It rocks.

I am a BIG chocolate fan, so I was really excited to see this week's selection. The chocolate chunkers are straight up and down chocolate. I read over the recipe first and loved everything... until I got to the part where you put in raisins and nuts. Uuummm.... I don't think I'd be a big fan of raisins in these. And I sometimes like nuts in my cookies, but not always. So I didn't risk it. I omitted these two ingredients, which left me nothing but chocolate. Oh boy... sounds healthy.

These chunkers/cookies/grabbers (or whatever Dorie is calling them this week) were so chocolatey and fudgy and yummy. I was happy for the white chocolate to make these cookies look like more than just brown blobs. I made them just in time for a baby shower I was hosting and everyone said they were delicious. Fortunately I had a few left over to munch on for the past few days. Last night I made an ice cream sundae with one, and boy was it good.

I'm curious to see how others liked the cookies with the nuts and raisins. Maybe someday I'll try it that way. I really liked this choice, but I'm about all cookie-ed out now, so I'm glad we're taking a break from cookies at least for a few weeks!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cornbread Casserole

It doesn't get much more southern than this! The first time I had any sort of corn casserole was when my Grandmother made it for us during the time that she visited after I had my son. I loved it. I told her I needed the recipe, but somehow have still never actually received it from her, or remembered to ask her for it again. Since then, I've come across a few corn casserole recipes. I made one a little while back and it was a bit bland and watery. Not good. Then I made this casserole and it rocked my socks off!

This dish is like a really moist cornbread, and it's sweet and has chunks of corn throughout. It makes a huge amount, and I didn't actually realize the magnitude of it until I was pouring it all into the 13x9 pan to bake. Then I thought... why didn't I halve this? Turns out I'm glad I didn't because the leftovers this week have been delicious. It bakes for an hour, so it has to be started a little early, but you stick it in the oven and forget about it. Denny and I loved it!

Cornbread Casserole
(from Taste of the South magazine)

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs
1 (8.5 oz.) package corn muffin mix, such as Jiffy
2 (14.75 oz.) cans cream-style corn
1 (15.25 oz.) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, conbine water and eggs. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour over melted butter in prepared dish. Spread butter that collects in the corners of dish over the top of the casserole.

3. Bake for 1 hour.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baked Spaghetti Pie

I had never in my life had spaghetti pie, nor even ever heard of it, before I saw it in a Good Housekeeping article and it peaked my interest. The idea of spaghetti being baked in a pie dish sounded fantastic! To my surprise, when I placed this on the table, my hubby informed me that his Grandma used to make this for him way back in the day. Who would have known? I surely thought this was a new creation that those cooking pros at Good Housekeeping dreamed up. But nope, this is an old fashioned classic... one that I had somehow missed in my 29 years.

This dish was way too easy to be good... but to my surprise, it was fantastic. It has just 6 simple ingredients and is great if you're on a budget. It was super quick and easy to throw it all together in a pie dish and stick it in the oven for 25 minutes. I made some quick garlic bread for the side and called it a day. I asked my hubby if it was as good as his Grandma's and he said that it was so long ago he really didn't remember... but he did indeed love it and requested that I make it again for him. So I'll just tell myself that it's better than Grandma's...

Baked Spaghetti Pie

1/2 pound spaghetti
2 large eggs
1 container (15 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9-inch pie plate. In large bowl, with fork, beat eggs. Stir in ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan until blended.

3. Add spaghetti to ricotta mixture and stir until well coated. Transfer spaghetti mixture to prepared pie plate; top with marinara sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining 2 Tbsp. Parmesan.

4. Bake pie 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes for easier serving. Cut into wedges to serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

This week's selection was awesome. Many thanks to Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart, who selected the recipe this week. Check out her blog for the complete recipe so that you can re-create these masterpieces.

I really love chocolate and I really love Whoppers, so I knew these were going to be extra tasty. I've enjoyed the last few cookies we've made, but I was dying for something more chocolate-y and these totally hit the spot. I followed the recipe precisely. I did have one minor snafu though... I accidentally grabbed the almond extract out of the cupboard thinking it was vanilla. I didn't realize it until I poured it into the batter and thought... vanilla extract isn't this color! Doh! So I did my best to spoon it all out, though it was a little hard. Thankfully I couldn't taste it and all was okay.

I ate a few of these with ice cream, since Dorie's picture in the book looked so tasty. But I brought most of them along last week on my trip to the beach and fed them to family members. I love the weeks when I can give my baked goodies away so it's not Denny and I eating them all ourselves. Everyone enjoyed them and they all got eaten up! Super yummy cookies... as each week goes by I'm growing fonder and fonder of Dorie.

And just as a quick side note, my friend Michelle from way back in my high school days, just joined TWD. Go check out her blog at Sweet Sensations!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake

I am finally putting those blueberries we picked last month to good use. I had stuck them in the freezer in anticipation of making this recipe, and they were just as good as they were when first picked. I've been on vacation for the past week with family, and this coffee cake was the perfect thing to make and bring along for breakfast. It was so delicious that every crumb got eaten. To be honest, I was kind of sad when it was gone.

The buttermilk makes it heavy with calories, but it's worth it for that melt-in-your-mouth feeling. And that streusel topping in all of its buttery, sugary goodness... Mmmmm. This cake was really easy to transport since it's baked in a 13x9 pan. It was an easy dish to make and so worth the time! My husband is already asking for more!

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake
(from Good Housekeeping magazine)

Streusel Topping:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. cold butter or margarine, cut up

Coffee Cake:
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
10 Tbsp. butter or margarine (1 and 1/4 sticks), softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 pint blueberries (about 2 and 1/2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13" by 9" metal baking pan; dust with flour.

2. Prepare streusel topping: In medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour and butter. With fingertips, work in butter until mixture is crumbly. Refrigerate streusel while preparing cake.

3. Prepare coffee cake: On waxed paper, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar with butter until blended. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until creamy, about 2 minutes, frequently scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

4. At low speed, beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until batter is smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. With spatula, fold in all but 1/2 cup blueberries.

5. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle batter with reserved blueberries. With fingers, press streusel into clumps; sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake coffee cake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour to serve warm, or cool completely to serve later.

Makes 16 servings.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

I was really excited to be making cookies again this week, particularly these! I like peanut butter cookies, I like oatmeal cookies, and I like chocolate chip cookies... so this had to be yummy.

Everything started out great... blended everything together, stuck it in the fridge overnight, put some perfect looking cookies on the pan and into the oven. But then, the timer went off, I took them out of the oven... almost done, just one or two more minutes, let's stick them back in... and here comes my 10-month old son, teetering towards the oven as it's open. Oh no!! I panic, turn my body to block him from touching the oven, and off slides the parchment paper with all of the cookies - right down into the crack of the oven door.

Here's what it looked like, though the pictures make it look better than it actually was.

And here's what I scraped out of there... this actually looks like it could be yummy if it weren't so dirty down in the oven door!

So after all of that mess was finally clean, I had several pans that came out great and I still ended up with an abundance of cookies. They were soft and chewy and just perfect. I will definitely make these again. For the recipe, check out Stefany's blog Proceed With Caution. Thanks for picking this one, Stefany!