Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

The quest was to create a roasted pear.  Chris loves roasted pears.  Then to add all the deliciousness of goat cheese, pine nuts, honey, and rosemary… Stop It!  Roasted Pears are the perfect addition to any upcoming festivity.  But please treat yourself to this yumminess whether you have a party or not.  You deserve it! -Amanda

photo-87Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

2  pears, ripe but firm

3.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

3/4 oz  pine nuts

1 sprig rosemary, chopped

2 T honey

2 T butter

Wash the pears, slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a spoon remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling.

Heat the butter in a skillet and brown the pears, skin side down, on low heat for about 10 minutes

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees.

Place the pears in a ovenproof dish and pour the cooking butter on top. Add half a cup of water in the ovenproof dish. Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently toss the goat cheese with the pine nuts and the rosemary in a small bowl.

Remove the pears from the oven. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of honey on top of each pear.  Bake pears again for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Classic Pumpkin Pie

I know…some of you might think it is a little late for me to share my pumpkin pie recipe.  My plan was to share a few weeks ago when I first started making pumpkin pies for the season.  It’s hard to deny a 7 year old’s request for his favorite pie.  And then there was that text from a friend (not to be announced) that needed this recipe the night before Thanksgiving.  The truth is my recipe is straight off the Libby’s can!  It is one of those recipes that just works so there is no need messing it up.  There is still plenty of time to make pumpkin pies.  Forgive me this time!
And happy late Thanksgiving! -Amanda

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/2 t ground ginger

1/4 t ground cloves

2 eggs

1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (or Amanda’s Pie Crust Recipe)

Whipped cream (optional)

Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell.  I put a small slab of butter on top.

Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

It’s that time of year where pumpkins are on the brain.  While whipping up your traditional fall favorites, you need to make time for these cookies.  It’s a perfect way to use that leftover pumpkin puree.  Soft and chewy with a hint of pumpkin, these goodies are like eating a piece of fall.  Feel free to add some pecans or walnuts.  The cookie monsters in my house approved this addition to our fall dessert assortment.  Taste the fall!- Amanda

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 t vanilla extract
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
With mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture and the oatmeal until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 11-13 min. Cookies will be lightly browned at the edges when done. Don’t over-bake or they can dry out.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen

Pumpkin Bread

We have entered my favorite time of the year.  Baking in the fall just makes me happy.  The other night our kitchen was alive with the smell of pumpkin bread.  Seriously, nothing says “Hello Fall” like pumpkin bread.  This easy recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law when I first entered the Fuller family.  It has been a traditional recipe ever since.  Make it the night before to experience the ultimate goodness.  Oh the smell of fall!-Amanda

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/3 cup flour

3 cup sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

2 t baking soda

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2/3 cup water

1 can pumpkin

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

On a low speed, mix flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and soda.  Mix well.  Make a hole in the middle.  Add cooking oil, 4 eggs, water, and pumpkin.  Stir well.  Add walnuts.  Grease and flour 2 bread pans.  Split the batter between the two bread pans.  Cook 1 hour or little longer at 350 degrees.  Cool completely on rack.  Wrap bread and refrigerate.  Make the night before for total yumminess.

Crazy Good Roast

Okay, Roast!   Last Sunday I wanted to be all 1950’s and whip up a roast.  Now June Cleaver did not have a crockpot but if she did, it would have totally changed her life and the way she prepared a roast.  Honestly, just throw it all in the crockpot and curl up with a good book.  To make it a little exciting, I shredded some roast and served on small rolls.  It was a HUGE family hit.  Here’s to a restful Sunday! -Amanda

Crazy Good Roast

4 -5 lb. chuck pot roast

1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch mix

1 pkg. McCormick Au jus mix

8 T butter (1 stick)

6 whole pepperoncini peppers

If you want: Potatoes (cubed) and/or Carrots (chopped)

Place the pot roast in the crock pot on low.  Sprinkle ranch and au jus mix over the roast.  Place a stick of butter on top of the roast.
Put 6 peperoncini peppers on top of the roast.  Add potatoes and carrots now if you want them with your roast.  Let the roast cook at least 7 hours.  Trust me don’t add water.  Pull your roast out of the crockpot and prepare to serve.  If you want sandwiches, shred your roast and serve with rolls.

“Say What” Brownies

Honestly! The name says it all!  In a quest to create homemade brownies for some new friends, I stumbled upon a brownie that makes you question everything.  You will be grabbing a chilled glass of milk or a freshly brewed decaf to complete this delectable treat.  To treat my friends, we topped with Vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream.  Enough is never enough! -Amanda

“SAY WHAT” Brownies

“Say What” Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened Ghirardelli chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup butter
1 ½ cups white sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla extract
¼ t kosher salt
1 c flour
12 mini Snickers candy bars; cut into fourths

Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl at medium power for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted. Then whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar. Add in eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Gradually add in flour and stir until just combined. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread ½ the batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of Snickers and cover with remaining ½ of brownie batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes; do not over bake.
Remove to cooling rack.  Cool completely before cutting. Makes about 16 small brownies.

Classic Brownies

Classic Brownies

Sometimes you just want it classic!  No frills!  Yes, Betty Crocker has a brownie mix and it is completely fine to use a box mix from time to time.  These brownies just taste like your mom whipped them up and placed them on a sweet vintage plate.  So, put your snazzy apron and grab a whisk.  I know someone will thank you later! -Amanda

1½ cups sugar
¾ cup flour
¾ cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
3 eggs
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

By hand (you can do that) mix together the sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, eggs and melted butter.  Once the dry ingredients are mixed in, you are set.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

You know how much I love parchment paper.  Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment.  This will keep your brownies from sticking to the edge and make it ever so easy to get out of the baking dish.

Pour the batter and spread it out. If you get crazy, you will move around your parchment paper.  Take it easy and push the batter down with a rubber spatula.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the tallest part comes out clean. Keep in mind you’ve got chips in there. If you hit one with the toothpick it will have melted chocolate on it. You might need to poke a couple of spots to make sure you aren’t hitting a chip.

Carefully lift the parchment out of the baking dish. Get a spare set of hands if you can.  Then peel the edges and let cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

Pasta dishes always make me happy!  Yes, I might need to run a few extra miles but it is so worth it.  This Spicy Chicken Rigatoni totally hit the spot.  I served it with warm garlic bread and a fresh green salad.  I’m thinking next time I will recreate this dish with linguine instead of rigatoni.  Warning:  Be careful adding extra crushed red pepper.  Of course Chris and I added the kick but we did not add to Will’s.  Keep it Spicy! -AJF

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 T crushed red pepper

1/8 t salt

1/8 t ground black pepper

1 T chopped garlic

1 lb. chicken, sliced

3/4 cup. Marinara sauce

1/2 cup Alfredo sauce

1/4 cup english peas (completely optional)

2 t butter

1/2 lb. Rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions

additional 1/2 t crushed red pepper (for garnish)
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, and garlic.  Sauté long enough for garlic to caramelize and red pepper to release flavor into the oil. Add sliced chicken and sauté briefly to coat in spices and garlic.

In sam pan add marinara sauce first and then alfredo sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and chicken is fully cooked. (Internal temp is usually about 165 degrees.) Turn off flame, add butter (english peas if you want to) and incorporate into sauce.

Toss cooked pasta with the sauce. Place pasta and sauce in pasta bowl, reserving the majority of the chicken to be placed on top of the pasta. Garnish with crushed red pepper (if you want a big spicy kick) and serve.

Breakfast Hash Brown Casserole

My parents are in town!  I love having guests.  It is the perfect time to cook up my favorites that I typically don’t cook for just the three of us.  My family loves to share weekend breakfast.  This morning I cooked up one of our classic breakfast meals.  My breakfast hash brown casserole does not take a lot of prep.  I usually prepare it the night before and first thing in the morning stick it in the oven.  Today I served our casserole with turkey sausage and local strawberries.  It was a perfect way to start our day   -Amanda

Breakfast Hash Brown Casserole

1- 30oz bag of shredded hash brown potatoes

1/2 stick of butter (melted)

1 can cream of chicken

1 1/2 cup sour cream (I use light)

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

3 green onions, chopped

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup corn flakes, crushed

Add butter to soup; stir until smooth.  Blend in sour cream, salt, pepper, green onions, and 1 cup shredded cheese.  Pour over hash brown potatoes and stir gently just until blended.  Spoon into butter casserole dish (9 X 13).   Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for 30 minutes.  Combine remaining cheese and corn flakes.  Sprinkle over casserole and bake 10-15 minutes longer.

Basic Meatloaf

It is really simple!  Everyone loves a comfort meal.  I’m not the biggest meatloaf fan.  It’s okay but it does not stop the mixer for me.  Let me paint the mood: A couple of weeks ago, it was rainy, gray, and cold.  The kind of day that I wanted to stay under a blanket instead of cooking.  It was a day for warm comfort food.  Investigating my refrigerator and pantry, I uncovered the perfect ingredients for a basic meatloaf.  Bonus, I had potatoes for mashing!  Verdict: The meatloaf was a hit and I will definitely make again. Enjoy! -AF

Basic Meatloaf

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 1/4 t salt

1/4 t ground black pepper

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

8 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Topping:

1/3 cup ketchup

2 T brown sugar

1 T prepared mustard

Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish. Shape into a loaf.  Mix all topping ingredients and spread on loaf.
Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.