bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

There are four groups in the Secret Recipe Club, and we each post once a month.  When there's an extra Monday in the month, we get an extra themed reveal, should we choose to participate. We have an extra Monday this month, and the theme is Holiday Treats.

I had the privilege of browsing Erin's blog Making Memories with your kids in search of some yummy treats.  Erin has made it especially easy to find her holiday treats, because she has a special holiday category with choices for holidays throughout the year.  With Thanksgiving this month, I went straight for the Thanksgiving page where I found these yummy looking Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars.  These absolutely adorable Turkey Cookies look like a lot of fun, too.  They definitely fit with the theme of Erin's blog, because it is full of kid-friendly meals, recipes, and crafts.  Erin and her two amazing kids have made some fun and yummy treats as well as some very cool crafts.  Quite simply, if you are looking for fun things to do with your kids, you will most definitely want to check out this blog!

Some other recipes I thought would be perfect for Thanksgiving were:

But I went back to the Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars.  I have tried another recipe for pumpkin pie bars in the past, but it was never as good as I thought it should be.  I thought this one just might be what I was hoping that other recipe was, and it definitely was.  So good!

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars
adapted from Making Memories with your kids

  • For the crumb layers:
    * 1-1/4 cups flour
    * 1-1/2 cups quick oats
    * 1/2 tsp. salt
    * 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    * 1/4 cup sugar
    * 1/2 cup brown sugar
    * 3/4 cup melted butter
    * 1 tsp. vanilla
  • For the filling:
    * 2 eggs
    * 3/4 cup sugar
    * 1 tsp. cinnamon
    * 1/2 tsp. salt
    * 1/2 tsp. ginger
    * 1/4 tsp. cloves
    * 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
    * 1 (12 oz.)  can evaporated milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 11x7" pan; set aside.
  2. Mix flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and sugars together.  Mix in melted butter and vanilla.
  3. Press half of the crumb mixture into prepared pan; bake for 15 minutes.
  4. While that bakes, prepare filling by beating eggs in a large bowl and then adding sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves.  Mix well and then stir in pumpkin; add evaporated milk and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour filling over partially baked crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and crumble the rest of the crumb mixture over the top.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 25-35 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and center is set..
  7. Cool at least 1 hour at room temperature and an additional hour in the refrigerator before serving.  Cut and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

I was planning to follow Erin's recipe and make this in a 13x9" pan, but I ended up with my 4 glass 13x9"  pans full - 2 with turkey and 2 with rolls - so I had to come up with an alternative plan.  I cut the crust recipe in half and just used my regular pumpkin pie filling recipe - the recipe from the Libby's pumpkin can, but you can use your favorite pumpkin pie filling recipe.  I think it turned out great.

The crust and crumb layer on top are amazingly good.  The crunch, texture and flavor are absolutely perfect.  Once the dessert has been covered and refrigerated, it loses a bit of the original crunch - why do things have to do that? - but it's still really, really good.  I'd say this is an excellent alternative to pumpkin pie.  The crumb layers kick it up a notch, it can more easily be cut into smaller pieces and serve more people, and it's easy to make.  If you think you can't make a pie crust, this recipe is definitely one you should try.  I'm not sure I'll ever stop making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I'm definitely thinking I'll be replacing one of the pies I usually make with a pan of these Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars from now on.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving filled with people you love and had some yummy treats of your own!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Roasted Veggies and Sausage

A few weeks ago I was checking out at the grocery store. I was buying smoked sausage, red potatoes, and cabbage. There were a few other things too, but there was something about seeing those things on the belt that made me think I really needed to throw something together with them.  I went looking for inspiration, and this recipe from real life Dinner was pretty much exactly what I had in mind.  Except I changed the vegetables a bit.  That, of course, is the beauty of a recipe like this - you can use the vegetables you have on hand or the vegetables that are telling you they really want to be thrown together into something yummy.  I think any number of combinations would work.

Roasted Veggies and Sausage
adapted from real life Dinner

  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, sliced
  • 4-5 medium red potatoes, diced
  • Coarsely sliced cabbage (I did not measure)
  • 3-4 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp. salt and freshly ground pepper)
  • 1 12-16 ounce package smoke sausage or kielbasa, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Toss veggies with olive oil and salt & pepper in 13x9" pan.  Top with sliced sausage.
  3. Bake for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so.

That's it.  Really simple and really tasty.  Just chop your veggies up, toss them together, bake, and enjoy!

The secret is to cut all the veggies into similar sized pieces so they will cook evenly.  Next time I think I am going to cut my carrots and potatoes just a bit smaller.  Also, the size of your veggies, and how well roasted you like them, will determine how long you'll need to bake this.

This heats up really well, and the leftovers might be even better than the first time.  we had some green beans with it the first night, and I just threw them into the pan and roasted them with the rest.  (see them in the back there?)  Just really so good.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Free Apples!

This isn't exactly how it happened, but I have been using a lot of apples lately, and they have come off my neighbors' tree, so it made me laugh.

Our neighbors have an apple tree, but they don't want to bother with the apples, so they just let them fall.  The local wildlife really appreciates it.  They (the neighbors, not the wildlife) say we can have any apples we want.  I picked a few, but most of them are out of my reach.  Our neighbor has a handy apple picker he's let me use in the past, but this year he never got it out of the shed, and I never caught him outside or thought about it when I saw him, so I didn't have it to use.  However, in the past few weeks we've had some windy weather that knocked several of those apples onto the ground, so I went over and picked a bunch of them up while they were fairly easy to tell from the ones that had been on the ground for a while and while they were still in pretty good shape.

I've been making apple desserts and applesauce and drying lots of apples, too.  If you've got any other good ideas for apples, please let me know, because I still have quite a few apples left.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Apple Dumplings

My mom used to make these, but I hadn't thought of them in ages, until someone recently posted a recipe for Apple Dumplings.  Their recipe wasn't quite the same thing, but it reminded me, so I asked mom to share the recipe.  First she had to find it, because it doesn't sound like she'd made them in a while.

Once I got the recipe, it took me a while to actually make it, but I finally made some of these last week.   Yep, they're just as good as I remember.  Tender apples rolled in crust and swimming in cinnamon sugar syrup.  What's not to love?

Apple Dumplings 

  • 8 to 10 apples, sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • for syrup:
    * 1-1/2 cups sugar
    * 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    * 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    * 1/2 stick butter
    * 2-1/2 cups boiling water
  1. Mix sliced apples with sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. For dough, mix as for pie crust - combine flour, baking powder, and salt in food processor; cut butter into smaller chunks and add to food processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal; add milk and pulse just until dough clumps together.  Do not over-mix. (can also be mixed by hand, but the food processor makes it so much easier)
  3. On floured counter, divide dough into two pieces and roll each piece into a rectangle the thickness of a pie crust. Spread apples on dough and roll up, starting from the wide end.  Slice each roll into 10 slices and place in 13x9" pan.
  4. Pour syrup over top and bake 15 minutes @375° F, then reduce heat to 350° F and bake an additional 45-55 minutes, until nicely browned. 
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

    Optionally for the syrup - there will most likely be liquid left in the bottom of your apple bowl, so use that.  It already has sugar in it, so you can reduce the sugar to 1 cup and also reduce your boiling water so the total liquid equals 2-1/2 cups.

    While this is really good just the way it is, I am thinking of adding some lemon juice and lemon zest to the syrup next time I make it.  Not a lot, just enough to add a little touch of sharpness or zing.

    Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream and some of the syrup drizzled on top.  Yum!

    I'm pretty sure I need to make this more often!

    Sunday, November 15, 2015

    Crock Pot Applesauce

    This applesauce is so much better than anything you can buy in the store, and it's really simple to make.  Definitely a win-win.

    Crock Pot Applesauce
    adapted from a recipe on food.com

    • 4 lbs. tart apples (about 12 cups), cored, peeled, and sliced
    • 1⁄2 cup sugar
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3/4 cup apple juice or water
    • juice of half a lemon
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1. Mix apples with cinnamon and sugar in 5-quart crock pot.
    2. Pour juice or water, lemon juice, and vanilla over apples. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or overnight) or high for 3-4 hours.  
    3. Optional: stir occasionally (if cooking on high), and crack the lid slightly to allow some of the liquid to cook off in the last hour.

    I incorporated a few of the suggestions some of the reviewers mentioned - using apple juice instead of the water, and adding some vanilla.  I thought it turned out really good.  Another reviewer suggested adding more cinnamon, but I stuck with the original 1/2 tsp. because I used another recipe for crock pot applesauce several years ago, and it was really cinnamony.  I figured I'd rather have the flavor of the apples shine through.

    The recipe calls for about 12 cups of sliced apples.  I ended up adding another cup or two because my crock pot was so close to being full I figured I might as well fill it the rest of the way. 

    I cooked mine on high, and stirred it occasionally, about once every hour.  I also cooked it probably 4 hours and then let it cook another hour with the lid slightly cracked to let some of the liquid cook off.  Cooking times can vary depending on the type of apples you use.  I'm not sure what kind of apples I used because I got them off my neighbors' tree.  All I know is that they're fairly tart and they hold together pretty well when cooked.  That's great for apple pie, but it does take a bit more cooking (and stirring) for applesauce.  The good part about cooking the apples in the crock pot is that it doesn't really matter.  You can cook them as long as you want, and you don't need to keep a close eye on the pot.

    We're really enjoying this.  It's great when it's fresh and warm straight out of the crock pot, and it's good cold, too.  Definitely give it a try.

    Friday, November 6, 2015

    10 Grain Muffins with Apples & Cinnamon

    I've been using either a 7 Grain or a 10 Grain cereal in my Whole Grain Sourdough bread for ages now.  That's pretty much why I've started calling it whole grain instead of whole wheat - never mind that the recipe still says whole wheat.  On the Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal package there's a recipe for muffins.  For some reason I've never made those muffins, but I was reminded of the recipe when I bought a new package this week.  Usually I keep my cereal in a peanut butter jar, so I don't see the recipe unless I happen to buy a new package, and it usually lasts me quite a while because I use about 2 T each time I make bread.

    This time I decided to make the muffins, but of course I changed them up a bit.  I've got lots of apples right now, so I decided to add some diced apples.  And some cinnamon.

    10 Grain Muffins w/ Apples & Cinnamon
    adapted from Bob's Red Mill

    • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
    • 1 cup 10-grain cereal
    • 1/3 cup butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup chopped apples
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1. Preheat oven to 400°
    2. Combine milk and cereal; let stand for 10 minutes.
    3. Cream sugar and butter together.  Add egg and mix well. Stir in chopped apples, then mix in milk and cereal mixture.
    4. Combine dry ingredients and stir in; just until mixed.
    5. Pour into greased muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and muffins are browned to your liking.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

    I am really enjoying these muffins, especially with a little butter and a drizzle of honey.  I think my favorite apple muffins are still these Oatmeal Apple Muffins (seriously, try those; they are awesome), but I am enjoying these for a change.  They're nice and moist, and the 10 Grain Cereal adds a nice texture and a slight chewiness.  I am thinking that I'll at least double the cinnamon next time, because I can't really taste it in these.  For now sprinkling a little cinnamon on top of the honey really does the trick.  So good!  

    I also think either all whole wheat flour or at least half would be good.  I just used the unbleached white flour the recipe called for because I figured all the grains in the cereal would be enough, but I'm a sucker for whole wheat flour in my muffins, so I'm trying that next time.

    Now I'm going to check out all the other recipes on the Bob's Red Mill site and see what else I've been missing out on.

    Sunday, November 1, 2015

    Chicken with Balsamic Mushroom Sauce

    It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Baking & Creating with Avril.  I love that her recipes are "Nothing too fancy but always made with love and happiness!"  A few of the recipes that caught my eye were her Pumpkies, Rustic Tomato Tart, and Skillet Granola. They all sound great, and the pictures that go along with Avril's recipes are mouth watering.  I finally decided that this Chicken with Balsamic Mushroom Sauce just really had to be made.

    Chicken with Balsamic Mushroom Sauce
    from baking & creating with Avril

    • 8 oz. pasta (I used Penne)
    • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 Tbsp flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp oil
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
    1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
    2. While pasta cooks, slice chicken breast into strips.  Mix flour and salt and add chicken slices; toss to coat.
    3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat . Add coated chicken and cook until it begins to brown and meat is no longer pink in center.  Add mushrooms, diced onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes or until lightly browned.
    4.  Add broth, balsamic vinegar and thyme; bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes to thicken slightly and blend the flavors together.  Stir in butter until melted.
    5.  Add a ladle of pasta water to the chicken and sauce; reserve additional pasta water before draining (add to leftovers, if there are any).  Stir drained pasta into skillet and stir to coat; simmer for a few minutes to bring it all together; add additional pasta water if necessary.  Serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper to sprinkle on top.

    Avril's recipe involved a few more steps, but I like simple, so I just cooked everything together in one skillet.  (except the pasta)  It turned out really good.  My husband and I both really liked it.  He even ranked it up alongside his favorite pasta dish from The Olive Garden - just with chicken.  I'd say that is high praise.

    Any leftovers heat up really well, and this is just as good, if not better, the second time.  You'll want to add some reserved pasta water to your leftovers to keep the pasta from soaking up all the moisture in the sauce.

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