Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cake Muffins

These are SOO moist and delicious!!  Weight watchers recipe. :)

1 16oz. can pumpkin
1 box spice cake mix
A little less than 3/4 cup of water

Mix all ingredients in a big bowl (ignore the directions on the back of the cake mix, just use the mix).  Pour into muffin pan.  Bake on 350 for 20-25 mins.  Makes about 19 for me because I like them a little bigger than only filling up the cups halfway.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Lasagna

15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese

15 oz pumpkin puree (tastes best if you roast a pumpkin pie pumpkin)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ Tablespoon brown sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh sage (finely chopped)

1 egg (beaten)

6 lasagna noodles (I use whole wheat)

3 large shallots (or 1 yellow onion) chopped

1 zucchini, quartered then sliced

1 yellow squash, quartered then sliced

1 Tablespoon garlic

2-3 cups of shredded cheese (Italian blend or mozzarella)

Butter for greasing pans (or olive oil)

Cook the noodles according to the package, drain, set aside.

Mix together the first 8 ingredients, put in a freezer bag, set aside.

Heat and grease a frying pan. When hot, add the shallots. When shallots become clear, add the zucchini and yellow squash, and garlic. Set aside when fully cooked.

Grease a glass 9x13 pan. Lay down 3 noodles. Cut a corner of the freezer bag and squirt a layer of the pumpkin/ricotta mixture (use half the bag). Spread a layer of the shallots and squash (use half). Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over it. Repeat this layering process and top with extra cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and broil or bake at higher temperature until the top crisps a little bit.

Optional: add Italian sausage, or substitute the vegetables with spinach or something of your choice.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese


cups dried elbow macaroni (8 ounces)

Tbsp. butter

Tbsp. all-purpose flour

tsp. salt

tsp. ground black pepper

cup whipping cream

cup whole milk

oz. Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)

15-oz. can pumpkin

Tbsp. snipped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp. dried leaf sage, crushed

cup soft bread crumbs

cup grated Parmesan cheese

cup chopped walnuts

Tbsp. olive oil

Sage leaves (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.

2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese, pumpkin, and sage until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

3. In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts, and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with sage leaves.

Impossibly Easy Creamy Topped Pumpkin Cheesecake

(From Betty Crocker, found here)


1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cut into 16 pieces, softened

¼ teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

¾ cup sugar

½ cup Original Bisquick® mix

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Topping, if desired

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

In blender, place all cheesecake ingredients. Cover; blend on high speed about 2 minutes or until smooth. (Or beat in medium bowl with hand beater 2 minutes, scraping bowl constantly.) Pour into pie plate.

Bake about 45 minutes or just until puffed and center is dry (do not overbake). Cool on wire rack 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all topping ingredients. Carefully spread topping over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 3 hours until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cake!


  • 1 (29 ounce) can canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9 x 13 inch pan (preferably metal).
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Melt the butter or margarine, and drizzle it over the cake mix. Sprinkle walnuts over the top.
  4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until done.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Easy, Easy, Easy!!

I made these his past week and they hit the SPOT!! Thought I would share. 

Mac n Cheese Casserole

2 regular boxes of mac n cheese
1lb ground beef/turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz. can LeSeur peas (silver can)
1 can cream of mushroom
3 heaping tablespoons of sour cream

Make the mac n cheese regular with the butter and milk, boiling the noodles of course, then place in a large bowl.  Brown the meat with the onion, drain, and put in the same large bowl as the mac n cheese.  Put all remaining ingredients in the bowl and stir thoroughly.  Place in a pan (I use 9x13) and bake on 350 for 20-25 mins-just to warm and mesh everything together real good.  Voila!! Done!

Taco Soup
1lb ground beef/turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz can of-dark (or light) red kidney beans, corn, (both drained) and chili beans (not drained)
3 cans beef broth
1 can of diced tomatoes w/ chilis (I get the mild can)
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix

Brown meat with onion in a large soup pot.  Drain.  Put back in the pot.  Add all other ingredients (doesn't matter what order).  Bring to a boil.  Let it simmer for 5 mins, and it's ready to go!  Serve with delicious homemade bread, or rolls.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wild Edibles with Mackenzie- Cooking Group Oct 6, 2011

Wild edibles resources

1. www.wildmanstevebrill.com
Steve Brill has an iPhone app that is extremely helpful.
2. www.eattheweeds.com
Green Deane has hundreds of YouTube videos. Just put eat the weeds in the search
3. Vickie Shufer is the local native plants expert and she leads foraging tours in the area.
P.O. Box 61413
Virginia Beach , VA 23466-1413
Phone: 757-421-3929
Email: wildfood@cox.net

Some basic foraging guidelines:
Be certain of identification before you taste any plant.
Do not harvest plants for consumption in drainage ditches, along the sides of highways,
pristine lawns, and gardens, which are likely sprayed with pesticides and herbicides
or another possibly contaminated environment. Do not harvest from private property
without permission.
White sap is a danger sign. There are a few wild edibles with white sap, but many more
poisonous plants with white sap, which is also a skin and eye irritant. White berries are
poisonous 99% of the time.
All mints are edible, all mustards are edible, and all mallows are edible, with varying
degrees of palatability. Learn the defining characteristics of these families and you open
up a whole world of culinary possibilities!
If it looks like a mint and smells like a mint, it is a mint. If it looks like an onion and
smells like an onion, it is an onion. If it has one, but lacks the other, steer clear.
When trying something new, start slow. Even edible plants sometimes cause undesirable
reactions in certain individuals.
Never eat a new plant on the same day you find it. Take your time to study it and be
certain you have what you think you have. Even experienced foragers tend to want to
make the plant fit the description sometimes. Some plants you will have to observe
through all seasons to be certain it fits the pattern it should.
Start small and keep at it, your brain will catch on.

Risotto with Mackenzie- Cooking Group Oct 6, 2011

Classic Risotto

12 oz Arborio rice
4 cups heated stock
1 chopped onion
½ Tbsp butter
Parmesan or other grated cheese
4 oz dry white wine
¼ cup cream
Salt to taste

1. In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan, sauté the onion in the butter until
golden. Add the rice and stir until well coated and translucent.
2. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Stir in 1 cup of hot stock and simmer
3. When the stock has been absorbed, add another cup, and continue in this way until all
liquid is absorbed and grains are cooked.
4. Stir in cream and cheese. Salt to taste. Remove from heat, cover and let sit 2 minutes
before serving.

The trick I wanted to share is the one that turns risotto from a fancy elaborate chore into a
quick and easy family dinner. The effect of separating the starches in the grain to expand
and create that yummy sauce that is achieved by constant stirring, can also be achieved
by keeping your risotto at a low boil, so the grains are constantly moving and creating
friction. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, to keep it from scorching or sticking,
and always be sure to make risotto in a heavy bottomed pan.

Other tips:

o Always use fresh parmesean cheese. (Or other hard, strong favored cheese like
asiago, just no freeze dried, shelf stable powders.)

o When adding meat or vegetables, they should be pre-cooked and added at the very
end. This is a perfect place to use leftovers.

o Use no more than one or two additional complementary flavors to keep from
overpowering the delicate flavor of the risotto. For example, basil and pepper or
lemon and sage. Same goes for additions of meat and vegetables.