Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

My SIL first made this soup for our Halloween dinner several years ago. We immediately fell in love with it, and it has become part our traditional Halloween meal.

If serving to kids, you may want to reduce or omit the cayenne, since they will most likely find it too spicy. The original recipe called for twice as much cayenne as I’ve listed here, but it was too spicy for this mild girl’s taste. You can adjust to your on taste.

The original recipe called for a finely chopped onion, but I didn’t like having the onion chunks floating in my bowl. Instead, I prefer the onion to be pureed after it’s been softened. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or blender. Just be sure to add a little of the veggie stock to the onions to help them puree more easily, and NEVER add hot liquids to your blender or you can plan to take cover from the imminent explosion.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Cups vegetable stock
1 Can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15oz) black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 Cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp curry powder
1½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt (I used coarse sea salt)
20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped for garnish

Over medium heat, add oil to large stock pot. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth and pumpkin puree. Use immersion blender to puree onion and combine ingredients. Add tomatoes and black beans. Stir to combine ingredients, and bring soup to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne, and salt to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve. Garnish with chopped chives.

Pumpkin Dessert

Time for some LONG overdue posts.

This is a recipe my Grandma H used to make. I remember the first time I tried it. It made quite the impression.

I haven’t made it in years, but recently prepared it for my husband’s family while visiting them. They loved it, too, and it was quick–very quick–to vanish.

Fall 173ed

Pumpkin Dessert

Crust:
1 yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup for topping)
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg

Set aside 1 cup of cake mix and reserve for topping. Mix remaining cake mix, butter, & egg. Spread into greased  9 x 13 pan.

Filling:
1 quart pumpkin (I use the big 29 oz can)
6 egg yolks or 3 whole eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c sugar
1 c cream or evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Beat pumpkin in separate bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Pour over cake mixture.

Topping:
1 c yellow cake mix (reserved from above)
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T butter, melted

Cool Whip or Whipped Cream

Mix cake mix, brown sugar & butter well. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes until toothpick inserted into pumpkin layer comes out clean. Top individual servings while still warm with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

After all the recent sweet and caloric posts, I thought I’d share a savory, light, healthy option. Serve it without the rice, and you’ve got a delicious, low carb entree–perfect for Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.

This is a copycat recipe for a dish served at P.F. Chang’s that I love.  There are so many items on their menu that I love to indulge in–Mongolian Beef, Crispy Honey Shrimp, Crab Wontons, Asian Lettuce Wraps, the Great Wall of Chocolate…the list goes on and on.

ginger-chicken

Ginger Chicken and Broccoli
by Chef Robert Nance of of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
Recipe on mysweetconnection.com

Yield: 3-4 Servings

Marinade for Chicken Slices:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
2 eggs
2 T cornstarch
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Sauce:
1/2 c soy sauce (Note: I used low sodium soy sauce)
2 T rice vinegar
2 T sugar
(Note: I used Splenda)
1/2 c chicken stock

Vegetables & Aromatics:
2 T minced ginger
2 T minced scallions
1 T minced garlic
1/2 pound broccoli, trimmed to 2″ – 3″ florets

Finishing Touches:
4 T (1/4 c) cornstarch
1/2 c water
1 tsp Pure Sesame Oil

Procedure:
Combine marinade ingredients and let chicken slices marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

In a seasoned wok or skillet place 1 ½ pints of chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

Carefully place marinated chicken slices into the simmering liquid. Carefully separate with a pair of chop sticks to cook evenly about 2/3 of the way (approx. 2-3 minutes).

Remove chicken from liquid and drain.

At this point you can either cook the broccoli until “tender crisp” in the liquid you cooked the chicken in, or steam the broccoli until “tender crisp” in a steamer. (Note: I steamed the broccoli in my fabulous Pampered Chef Microwave Steamer).

Assemble cooked broccoli in a ring pattern onto your serving plate. Keep warm.

Combine sauce ingredients, and set aside.

Drain liquid from wok, clean thoroughly and heat 3 T. of vegetable oil in the bottom.

Stir-fry the ginger scallions and garlic on medium heat until the flavors and aromas are released, about 5 to 8 seconds.

Add sauce to ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Add the cooked chicken back in while stirring and cooking until tender and cooked through about 2-3 minutes. *Always use an internal thermometer to attain a temperature of 165 F° and higher for poultry.

While sauce is simmering, combine cornstarch and water. Add half of the cornstarch mixture to the sauce to thicken. Cook briefly and check consistency. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon. You can add more cornstarch mixture is needed.

Taste sauce and adjust seasonings if needed.

Drizzle with sesame oil and pour chicken with sauce into the center of the broccoli ring.

Serve with steamed white or brown rice or noodles.

Basil Tomato Tart

I’ve made this tart a couple times over the past couple months, and to say that is has gone over well would be, well, an understatement. I’ve had several requests for the recipe, so here it is.

Thanks so much to Leigh Anne, once again, over at Your HomeBased Mom for another fabulous dish!

basil-tomato-tart

Basil Tomato Tart
from Your HomeBased Mom

Pie Crust (Note: I’ve used both homemade and store bought–both worked well)
1 1/2 C shredded Mozzarella
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/4 C pesto
1/2 C mayo (Note: My SIL tried to substitute Miracle Whip, which rendered the tart inedible. Don’t substitute).
1/4 C  shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Bake pie crust according to crust’s directions.  Remove from oven and sprinkle 1/2 cup Mozzarella on bottom.  Let cool.

While crust is cooling, cut tomatoes into slices (about 1/4″ thick or thicker if preferred) and drain on paper towel.

Spread layer of pesto over cheese.  Place tomatoes over pesto layer.

Combine mayo, Parmesan, pepper and remaining Mozzarella and spread on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until browned.

Italian Turkey Soup

I found this recipe one day when I was hunting for something yummy and warm on a cold, wet day. This looked promising, although I was a bit skeptical about adding the spinach. Silly me! It was absolutely scrumptious, and my husband and I were able to enjoy it for a few days.

We basically prepared the soup according to the recipe found at Our Best Bites, but next time, I’d like to try substituting Italian turkey sausage for the ground turkey.

italian-turkey-soup

Italian Turkey Soup
from Our Best Bites

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 small onion (about 3/4 C) diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T Dry Italian seasoning (or I think Kate used this)
Salt
Pepper
1 can (15oz) canned diced tomatoes
1 can (15oz) white beans (Cannelini, Great Northern, etc) drained and rinsed
32 oz chicken broth
(Note: I mixed up my own broth using Better than Bouillon)
1 tsp dry oregano
1/4 tsp dry basil
1 T dried parsley (or about 1/4 C fresh)
4-6 C fresh spinach (you could use frozen too)
fresh Parmesan cheese

Pour a couple swigs of extra virgin olive oil (1-2 T) into a large stock pot. Turn burner to med-high heat.

When oil is nice and hot, add diced onions, minced garlic, and ground turkey. Stir to combine and add the 1T dry Italian seasoning, along with about 1/2 t salt and several turns of black pepper. Cook until turkey is completely cooked through. When you’re browning ground beef or turkey for soup it’s important to cook it all the way through before adding the liquid or it will end up mushy.

(If you want to cook this via slow-cooker, place the turkey mixture in the crock pot now and continue. Although, you may want to hold off adding your beans until about 15 minutes before you’re ready to eat or they might turn to mush in there.)

Add in canned tomatoes (including all the juice), the drained beans, and the chicken broth. Add oregano and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for at least 10 minutes, and up to 20.

While soup is simmering chop spinach. I chop it up really small so my kiddo doesn’t notice it’s something healthy. Add in spinach and parsley and stir until wilted. Also, additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

This is another Fall favorite in our home. My SIL, Becky, shared this recipe with our family a couple years ago, and I’ve made lots of loaves ever since. Becky and others in the family like to add chocolate chips, which is yummy, but I prefer if plain.

P.S. The baked loaves freeze well.

Confession: I’ve been known to eat an entire loaf by myself. I’m not ashamed!

pumpkin-gingerbread

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe comes from my fabulous SIL, Sara. They are so easy, so moist, so delish! It simply isn’t Autumn in our home until these have been made and consumed!

pumpkin-chocchip-cookies

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Spice Cake mix
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix the first three ingredients together.  Then mix in the chocolate chips.  The dough is thick.  Form it into cookie blobs on the cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.