Friday, October 26, 2012

Mini Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

A trip to cider mill is one of my favorite ways to spend a fall afternoon. Few things beat the simple pleasure of biting into a freshly picked apple on a cool fall day. While I am a big fan of apples and all of the offerings at the cider mill, my favorite are the doughnuts. Hot from the fryer and covered in a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar they are too much for me to resist. Sadly I have not had the chance to visit the cider mill this season. After a little searching I was able to find this recipe for baked doughnut muffins. I adapted it slightly so I could bake them in mini muffin pans. After the muffins are coated in cinnamon sugar they can easily pass for doughnut holes, albeit slightly misshapen ones.

Mini Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker originally adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Muffins:
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 ¼ cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup granulated sugar
2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 48 mini muffin cups (I used 2 mini muffin pans).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and pumpkin; set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the pumpkin mixture, beating until barely combined. Turn off the mixer and fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to catch any pockets of flour that weren't incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffins cups (I used a 1-ounce ice cream scoop). Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

While the muffins are resting, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Working with one muffin at a time, remove the muffins from the pan, brush all over with the melted butter, then toss to coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Return to the wire rack and let cool completely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

In honor of Halloween, this week Eating Deliciously will feature recipes with pumpkin. I  have several things to share with you including sweet and savory recipes. Let's start off with roasted pumpkin seeds. These seeds are delicious simply seasoned with salt. I amped up the flavor of classic roasted pumpkin seeds with garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Feel free to use any flavor combination that you like.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Medium-sized pumpkin
Olive oil

Optional Seasoning (for 2 cups of seeds)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut open the pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse the seeds.

In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a 1 teaspoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Apparently, this method helps make the pumpkin seeds easier to digest and produces a crispy outer shell during roasting.

Drain the seeds in a colander and dry lightly with a paper towel or tea towel. The seeds will stick to the towel, but just rub them off with your fingers. Don’t worry; they don’t have to be bone dry – just a light pat down.

Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Season the seeds with garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce, if desired.

Roast seeds at 325°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Roast for another 8-10 minutes.

During the last 5 minutes of roasting, remove a few seeds and crack open to make sure the inner seeds are not burning (you don’t want the inner seed brown). Cool a couple and pop them into your mouth to test. They are ready when the shell is super crispy and easy to bite through. The inner seed should have only a hint of golden tinge to it. Remove seeds from oven and allow to cool completely before eating.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Reese’s Pieces

Rice Krispie treats are a dessert staple from my childhood, but sometimes I like to mix it up and step out of the plain Rice Krispie treat rut. Since I am on a peanut butter kick lately, I was thrilled when I came across this recipe on My Baking Addiction. The combination with peanut butter and Reese's Pieces is Rice Krispie treat heaven! These treats are rich so make sure you cut them no larger than 2-inch bars

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Reese’s Pieces
recipe courtesy of My Baking Addiction

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ¾ cups miniature marshmallows, divided
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 cups crisped rice cereal (Kellogg's Rice Krispies)
1 cup Reese's Pieces

Line a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add in 5 cups of marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add in the peanut butter and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Add crisped rice cereal; stirring until well coated. Fold in the Reese's Pieces and remaining ¾ cup marshmallows.

Using buttered spatula, press the mixture into the prepared pan. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Reese’s Pieces are best if served the same day they are made.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Minestrone Soup with Pesto

I have been slowly transitioning into fall by cooking more soups and stews. I was still able to pickup some fresh zucchini at my farmers market. However this soup is still delicious using frozen green beans in place of the zucchini. I followed a suggestion from Panera and made fresh croutons to float on top of the soup. To make the croutons, remove the crust from 6 slices bread of your choice and cut into ½ inch cubes. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch sauté pan until melted. Add cubes to pan and season with 1 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir the cubes to evenly coat with melted butter and cook until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove croutons from the pan and serve with the soup. Store any leftover croutons in an airtight container.

Minestrone Soup with Pesto
recipe courtesy of Panera Bread

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup peeled and chopped Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 ounces)
1 quart low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
15 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes with juice
15 ounce can small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup ditalini, small shells, or other very small shape pasta
1 cup finely chopped zucchini (optional)

⅓ cup Basil Pesto

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, 4 cups of broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add additional broth if the soup is too thick.

Stir in the beans, pasta, and zucchini (if using), and simmer until pasta is tender, 8 to 9 minutes. Stir in the pesto.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Grilled Veggie Skewers with Herb and Garlic Marinade

Fall has officially arrived but that doesn't stop me from heading outside to fire up the grill. Yes, I am the neighbor you see dashing in and out of the house grilling in all types of weather. I do own a cast iron grill pan but it can't beat the flavor of food cooked on my outside grill. I suppose you could make this recipe year round but I find that it is best using veggies fresh from the garden or farmer's market.

Grilled Veggie Skewers with Herb and Garlic Marinade
recipe adapted from Food Network

½ cup olive oil
½ cup lemon or lime juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ears fresh or frozen sweet corn, thawed and quartered
1 cup red onion chunks
1 cup white button mushrooms
1 cup zucchini or yellow squash chunks
1 cup red, yellow or green bell pepper chunks
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Make the marinade: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. The marinade can be prepared in advance and held covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Place the corn on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with waxed paper. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Place the vegetables in a shallow dish or container. Pour marinade over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.

Remove vegetables from the marinade, reserving marinade. Thread vegetables onto skewers, alternating colors. Cook skewers on grill until vegetables are lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes, basting with reserved marinade and turning occasionally.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Kabobs with Apricot Sauce

Before my sister's wedding this summer I was able to get my cousins together for a trip to northern Michigan. One of our many adventures included a stop at Pond Hill Farm

picture via Following The Dream

Pond Hill Farm has tons of activities that are great for the whole family. We started with lunch in The Garden Cafe followed by petting and feeding the animals on site. Next up was wine tasting from the Harbor Springs Vineyards & Winery. We opted to do the wine tasting that included 2 different types of hard cider. Eight rather large tastings later, we headed to try out the Squash Rocket. Here you can fling squash at targets set up in the field. Just be careful not to hit any animals!

picture via Following The Dream

Pond Hill Farm also has a store where they sell various canned goods using the produce grown on the farm. After an afternoon of wine tasting and squash flinging I was more than happy to test out some of their homemade goodies. One of the many items I bought was the Apricot Spoon Jam. The jam made a perfect compliment to these grilled chicken kebobs.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Kebobs with Apricot Sauce
recipe adapted from Pink Parsley originally adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures via Fine Cooking 

3 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup apricot preserves 
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 

Combine 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, the brown sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a medium bowl, and drizzle the oil over it, tossing to coat. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken and toss to coat well.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (400-450°F), and oil the grates lightly. While the grill is heating, thread the chicken cubes onto skewers.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: Combine the remaining teaspoon of rosemary, the apricot preserves, a pinch of salt, and the rice vinegar in a small saucepan. Set over low heat and stir just until the mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and reserve half the sauce for dipping and place the remaining sauce in a small bowl for basting the kebobs.

Arrange the kebabs on the grill and cook, turning every 3 minutes or so, brushing with the apricot sauce. Grill the kebobs until they are slightly charred on all sides and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes total. Transfer the kebabs to a platter to rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with the reserved apricot dipping sauce.

Note: I made these kebobs on the outdoor grill but you could use a grill pan on the stove top. I have also made these under the broiler with good results.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stuffed Baby Eggplant with Ricotta and Baby Spinach

This is another summer to fall transition recipe. The original recipe calls for stuffing zucchini but my family needed a break from the excess of zucchini we have been eating lately. I bought some beautiful baby graffiti eggplant at my farmers market on a whim and this recipe was a great way to enjoy it.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant with Ricotta and Baby Spinach
recipe adapted from Dirty Girls Kitchen

4 baby eggplants
2 cups Homemade Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
5 ounces baby spinach
3 cloves garlic
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
¼ cup fine bread crumbs
1 small can San Marzano tomatoes
1 sprig basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F.  

Put the spinach and garlic in the food processor and chop finely. Place mixture in to a large bowl and stir in the ricotta, egg, nutmeg, and ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese.

Cut each baby eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle. Fill the eggplant halves with the ricotta mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet. Stir together the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant.

Add the San Marzano tomatoes with juice, basil leaves and olive oil into the food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  

Drizzle sauce over the eggplant and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through and the bread crumbs are golden. Drizzle a little extra olive oil on top and sprinkle with extra parmesan, if desired.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Garlic Feta Cheese Dip

With fall sports season kicking off I like to have several quick and easy appetizers to whip up for game day. I already shared the recipe for my favorite Pizza Puffs which can be made with or without meat. This recipe is nice to have on hand for a vegetarian option. I like to serve this dip with fresh vegetables, crackers or mini pita breads. Using a hand mixer will ensure the feta, cream cheese, and sour cream will blend together smoothly, even if you don't have time to let the cream cheese come to room temperature.

Garlic Feta Cheese Dip
recipe adapted from

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon onion powder

In a mixing bowl, combine the above ingredients with mixer until blended well. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with vegetables or crackers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies

I am a confirmed chocolate fiend but if a recipe has cake batter and funfetti in the title than I have to try it. There is something so cheerful about those little rainbow sprinkles that I cannot resist. These colorful blondies are chewy gooey cake batter heaven!

Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies
recipe courtesy of Girl Meets Life

1 box yellow cake mix
¼ cup canola oil
1 egg, beaten
¼ to ½ cup milk
¼ cup rainbow sprinkles
½ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 8 x 8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine cake mix, oil and egg in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly just until the batter is combined. Start with ¼ cup and add no more than ½ cup total. The cake batter should be as dense and thick as possible. Fold in the sprinkles and white chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and add a few more sprinkles on top, if desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes or just until the edges turn golden brown. The blondies will still be gooey in the middle. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes so the center sets, before cutting into squares.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Caprese Burgers

Happy (early) Labor Day! This weekend happens to be one of my favorite weekends of the year and not just because of the extra day off from work. Labor Day ushers in the end of summer and start of fall. Our days are still warm but when the sun disappears from the horizon the temperature drops and out come the sweatshirts. Even with the cooling temperatures the garden is still flourishing. The recipes you will see here in the next couple of weeks will be aimed at using up my summer vegetable bounty.

One of my favorite ways to use late summer produce is the caprese salad or insalata caprese if you are feeling fancy. The classic caprese is a simple summer salad made with fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and pungent basil. This recipe combines those same flavors into a delicious burger that is perfect for late summer cookouts.

Caprese Burgers
recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

2 ½ pounds ground sirloin beef
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella,  sliced into ¼ inch-thick slices, patted dry with paper towels

Pesto Mayonnaise:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Basil Pesto

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
8 hamburger buns, halved
4 medium tomatoes, sliced into ¼ inch-thick rounds

For the burgers: Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Combine the beef, 1 cup basil pesto, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form the mixture into eight 4-inch-diameter patties, each about ¾ inch thick. Grill for 5 minutes. Turn the burgers over and place a slice of mozzarella on top. Cook for about 5 minutes longer until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is slightly melted. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes.

For the pesto mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and basil pesto until smooth.

To assemble the burgers: Drizzle the cut side of the hamburger buns with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Place the burgers on top and add 1 or 2 tomato slices. Add the top halves of the bread and serve. I like to top the burgers with fresh basil leaves and pass the pesto mayonnaise on the side.