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Top 10 Recipes in 2008

Here are the top 10 recipes on Closet Cooking based on page views in 2008:


Kare (Japanese Curry)

Kare (Japanese Curry) - When I visited Japan I fell for the curry and making it at home could not be easier! You can switch up the meat and vegetables for a new curry every time.



Salmon Teriyaki

Salmon Teriyaki - This is one of my favorite dishes and it was also one of the top 10 recipes of 2007! It is so quick and easy to make and yet so good, especially when you use your own homemade teriyaki sauce.



No Bake Cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake - You won't believe how effortless this no bake cheesecake is to make! It is nice and cool and creamy and good; just perfect for warm summer days with fresh fruit and berries.



Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Cheesecake - This chocolate cheesecake takes a bit more effort to make than the no bake cheesecake but it is so worth it! Enjoy this decadently chocolatey treat on valentines day, or any other day of course. :)



Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde - The salsa verde is still going strong n 2008! You just can't go wrong with fresh homemade salsa verde. It goes great as a dip and it also adds a ton of flavour to many other dishes.



Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa Porridge - While I enjoy my oatmeal this quinoa porridge is a really nice light alternative that is also good for you.



Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak - Just look at that perfectly seared tuna steak that is still nice and pink in the middle! The sesame seed crust adds a really nice crunch to the tuna.



Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich - Although there is a bit of controversy over what is a proper Philly cheese steak sandwich, you can't really go wrong with any of them if you are looking for a tasty sandwich!



Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip - ...mmm... warm melted cheesy goodness with a hit of spinach and artichokes to keep it ~healthy~. Pass the chips!



Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread - This has to be one of the quickest and easiest breads to make and it always turns out great! The only hard part is resisting devouring the whole loaf while it is still warm from the oven.



Similar Posts:
Top 10 Recipes in 2010
Top 10 Recipes in 2009
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2008
Top 10 Recipes in 2007

My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2008

Since it is the end of the year I thought that I would take some time and look over the last year. 2008 certainly was a tasty year! I discovered a lot of new flavours and cuisines and I had a great time doing it. Food blogging was certainly one of the highlights of 2008 and I am looking forward to new tasty adventures in 2009!

Have a great New Years Eve and a happy new year everyone!!

I will leave you with favorite recipes from 2008:


Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor - On the top of my favourites list in 2008 are these tacos where the pork is slowly roasted with pineapple. Sweet and tangy pineapple is then added to the tacos filling and it is an absolutely amazing combination with the fresh chopped sweet onions and cilantro!



Pad Thai

Pad Thai - Thai cuisine is one of my favorites and this year I finally got around to trying to make one of the classics, pad thai, at home. Although it took me a few tries, I finally nailed it and with this recipe you will never want the takeout version again.



Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage

Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage - What a mouthful! The flavour combination on this pizza was surprisingly good! I am already contemplating using the flavour combination in several more dishes.



Garides Saganaki (Shrimp Saganaki)

Garides Saganaki (Shrimp Saganaki) - This recipe was inspired by a dish that I had while on vacation in Greece. I never would have thought to bake shrimp in a tomato and feta sauce but, it is so good! Make sure that you have some crusty bread on hand to soak up and remaining sauce!



No Bake Cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake - This recipe is also on the most popular list for 2008 and with good reason! If you like cheesecake, and I really do, then this quick and simple no bake cheesecake is perfect for when you don't have the time to bake a regular cheesecake.



Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi - There is just something magical about shrimp cooked in a bit of butter along with some garlic, lemon and white wine. Shrimp cooked in this fashion works great on pasta or on pizza or even by itself.



Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie) - The spinach, feta and dill combination all wrapped up in light and flaky, golden brown phyllo is so good and I just can't get enough of it!



Kare (Japanese Curry)

Kare (Japanese Curry) - Another of my favorite dishes that also appears on the most popular recipes in 2008 list! Japanese curry is a bit thicker, sweeter and milder than your typical curry and it is so good!



Hot Cheesy Crab, Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hot Cheesy Crab, Spinach and Artichoke Dip - If you like the hot spinach and artichoke dip that appears on this years most popular posts list then you will love this decadent version that replaces the artichokes with crab!



Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars - I have been enjoying this Canadian treat for years and this year I finally got around to making it myself and the results were amazing! These bars are best served chilled.



Similar Posts:
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2011
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2009
Top 10 Recipes in 2008
My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2007

Turkey Pho

Turkey Pho


Whenever I cook turkey or chicken I like to save the bones and store them in the freezer until I have enough to make some stock. I had finally saved up enough turkey bones to make some turkey stock and I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for. I had come across the idea of using leftover turkey and turkey stock to make a turkey pho a while ago that sounded really good. I had been wanting to try making a pho for a long time and now was the perfect opportunity. Pho is a Vietnamese rice noodle soup with a clear broth that is commonly flavoured with star anise, cloves, cinnamon and charred ginger. Beef is more commonly used but any meat will do and this time leftover turkey was on the menu. Once the stock was made it was pretty easy to infuse it with the star anise and other pho flavourings and the rest of the soup was a piece of cake to make. The leftover turkey pho turned out great! It was nice and light and fresh and I really enjoyed the star anise flavoured turkey broth. One of the things that I liked most about the pho was all of the fresh garnishes as they reminded me of warmer days. I will definitaly be making pho again and I think that next time I will be try the more classic beef version.

Ingredients:
6 cups turkey stock
4 star anise
4 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 shallots (cut in half and charred)
1 knob ginger (peeled and charred)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
4 servings rice noodles (cooked as directed on package)
2 cups turkey (cooked, shredded and warmed)
4 handfuls beansprouts (blanched)
4 green onions (sliced)
2 handfuls Thai basil (thinly sliced)
2 handfuls cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers (sliced)
2 limes (sliced)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili sauce

Directions:
1. Simmer the turkey stock, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, shallots, ginger, fish sauce and palm sugar for 30 minutes.
2. Strain the solids from the broth and discard.
3. Place one serving of noodles in each bowl along with 1/4 of the turkey meat and bean sprouts.
4. Pour the broth over the noodles and top with the green onions, Thai basil, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, lime slices, hoisin sauce and chili sauce.

Similar Recipes:
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
Turkey Ramen
Turkey Congee (Rice Porridge)
Turkey White Chili

Looking for more soup recipes?

Turkey and Cranberry Quesadillas

Turkey and Cranberry Quesadillas

One of my favorite parts of the holiday turkey dinner is the leftovers! It is always fun trying to come up with new ways of using turkey leftovers in such a way that the leftover meals are just as interesting as the original. Before trying something new though, I had to enjoy my favorite way to use turkey leftovers, the turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich. Once I had satisfied that craving it was time to move on and given that both the turkey and cranberry sauce were done with texmex flavours I was thinking along the lines of turkey and cranberry sauce tacos or better yet quesadillas. Though the cranberry sauce already had jalapenos in it, it was not spicy enough for the heat that I want in a quesadilla so I added some more to the quesadilla along with some cilantro as it is one of my favorite herbs and a texmex staple. The turkey and cranberry sauce quesadillas turned out really well! The sweet, tart and spicy cranberry sauce worked surprisingly well in the quesadillas along with the turkey and the gooey melted cheese. I will definitely be making these again!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts au Gratin

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Gratin

For the final component of my turkey dinner I wanted something green. I had recently realized that I had not done anything with brussels sprouts so far this season and I had been wanting to do something with them. While searching for brussels sprouts recipes I came across this one for a brussels sprout gratin which sounded really good. How can you go wrong with smothering vegetables in cream and cheese? Even better, the brussels sprouts were roasted first to bring out their flavour. I had been hoping to find a texmex take on brussels sprouts but once I came across the roasted brussels sprouts gratin I just couldn't get them out of my head and they went into the dinner anyways. The gratin was pretty simple to make and turned out great! The panko bread crumbs and gruyere formed a nice crunchy and cheesy golden brown layer on top and the creamy roasted brussels sprouts underneath were so good!! Despite the fact that the rest of the meal was really good, it was these brussels sprouts that stole the show and I reached for seconds of them before anything else.

Ingredients:
2 pounds brussels sprouts (trimmed and cut in half)
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon butter (melted)
1 cup panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs)
1 cup gruyère cheese (grated)

Directions:
1. Toss the brussels sprouts in the oil, salt and pepper.
2. Place the brussels sprouts in a 13 by 9 inch baking pan in a single layer.
3. Roast the brussels sprouts in a preheated 425F oven until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
4. Pour the cream over the brussels sprouts and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
5. Mix the butter, bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle on top of the brussels sprouts.
6. Broil until golden brown on top, about 3-5 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Bacon, Mustard Cream and a Parmesan Crust
Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Potatoes au Gratin
Onion Gratin
Cauliflower Gratin
Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin
Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Rutabaga Gratin
Hot Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprout Dip

Corn Bread Stuffing with Chorizo

Chorizo and Corn Bread Stuffing

I was looking for a side dish for my texmex style turkey dinner and I had been wanting to try making a stuffing for a while so I combined the two and made a texmex style cornbread stuffing. For the corn bread I used the cranberry corn bread that I had made the day before. I had seen a lot of more standard stuffing recipes use sausage and I thought that adding spicy chorizo sausage to the corn bread stuffing would be a good idea. I then added some more texmex flavours like chilies, cumin and cilantro. I made it more 'holiday' like by adding some dried cranberries in addition to the cranberries that were already in the corn bread. Since I was only cooking a turkey breast I could not actually stuff the stuffing so I cooked it in a baking pan. The texmex corn bread stuffing with chorizo turned out really well. The slightly sweet, moist, and coarsely crumbly corn bread worked well in the spicy stuffing. The stuffing was nice and moist and tasty and had just the right combination of sweet and spicy. It was a great side for the maple and chipotle turkey breast and it was even better with some maple and chipotle gravy and jalapeno cranberry sauce on the fork as well.

Ingredients:
1 pound chorizo (casings removed and crumbled)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 onion (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup bourbon
2 roasted poblano chilies (chopped)
8 cups corn bread (day old, coarsely crumbled)
3 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2+ cup chicken stock (or turkey)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Brown the sausage in a pan and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in the same pan.
3. Add the cumin and chili powder and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the onion, celery, carrot, red pepper, jalapeno and oregano and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two.
6. Add the bourbon and deglaze the pan and let it evaporate.
7. Place the chorizo, vegetables, roasted poblanos, corn bread, cilantro and cranberries in a bowl.
8. Moisten with the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.
9. Pour the mixture into an 8 inch square baking pan.
10. Bake covered in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Italian Sausage, Mushroom and Chestnut Stuffing

Cranberry Corn Bread

Cranberry Corn Bread

I wanted to do a cornbread stuffing with my Texmex themed holiday turkey dinner and that meant that I would need some corn bread. Since I was making the corn bread anyways I could not resist playing around a little and I added some cranberries. Corn bread is a quick bread that is made with cornmeal and it is really easy to make. This corn bread came together quickly and easily. I could not resist having a piece just as soon as it came out of the oven. I topped it with some butter that quickly melted into the cornbread and a drizzle of honey and it was amazing! The tart cranberries went really well with the slightly sweet cornbread and the honey on top. The butter of course added a nice savoriness. With only one slice missing I now had my corn bread for the corn bread stuffing.

I used the leftovers to make corn bread stuffing with chorizo.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberries (cut in half)

Directions:
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Mix in the eggs one at a time followed by the milk.
3. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in another bowl.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
5. Mix in the cranberries.
6. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 inch square baking pan.
7. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Corn Bread
Cottage Cheese Cornbread
Jalapeno Cornbread

Maple and Chipotle Roasted Turkey Breast

Maple and Chipotle Roasted Turkey Breast

I had been craving more turkey for a while and I was looking forward to some turkey sandwiches so I decided to do a turkey dinner for the holidays. I did not want it to just be the same old thing though so I went off in search of something new. When I came across this recipe for maple and chipotle turkey breasts I knew that I had found what I was looking for. I really liked the sound the smoky chipotles mixed with the sweet maple syrup. I wanted to have some leftovers so this time I picked up a larger 5 pound turkey breast with bone and skin on. The turkey was easy to make though, you did have to keep brushing the turkey with the maple and chipotle glaze so it took a bit of effort. The turkey turned out nice and moist and tender and tasty! One good thing about cooking turkey like this is that the glaze drips down into the juices that are used for making gravy. With the maple and chipotle glaze in the turkey drippings the gravy turned out really well! It was hot and smokey with a hint of sweetness and it went really well with the turkey. I am now looking forward the leftover turkey sandwiches tomorrow.

Christmas Fruit Cake

Christmas Fruit Cake


Though I am sure that I have had Christmas fruit cake before I did not really remember it. Given that and the controversy around fruit cake when I saw some posts about Christmas cake I knew that I would have to try making one to find out. All of the recipes that I saw called for making the cake a few weeks ahead of time to let it mature. Many of the recipes called for "feeding" the cake brandy on a regular basis while it matured. I did not want my cake to end up being too heavy with brandy so I decided to just soak the fruits in some brandy and then I wrapped the cake in cheese cloth that was soaked in brandy while it matured. Some of the recipes that I came across called for adding a layer of marzipan and a layer of icing but I wanted to keep my fruit cake nice and simple so I skipped the frosting layers. After waiting for over a month I finally unwrapped the fruit cake to try today. I am not really sure why fruit cakes have such a bad wrap as this fruit cake was really good. It was nice and moist and full flavour! The cake had a hint of booze without being overwhelmed by it. I think that I will be making a Christmas fruit cake again next year.

Ingredients:
1 cup currants
1 cup mixed candied peel
3/4 cup candied pineapple (chopped)
3/4 cup red candied cherries (halved)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch of salt
6 tablespoons butter (softened)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
1 tablespoon molasses
3 eggs
3/4 cups walnuts (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the currants, mixed peel, pineapple, cherries, raisins and the brandy in a bowl, cover and let sit for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix 1/4 cup of the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
4. Mix the butter, sugar, jam and molasses in a bowl.
5. Mix the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time.
6. Mix the remaining flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture.
7. Mix in the fruit mixture along with the nuts.
8. Pour the mixture into baking pans lined with double parchment paper.
9. Place a baking pan with water on the lower rack of the oven.
10. Cover the cake pans with foil and bake on the middle racks of a preheated 300F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 45-60 minutes.
11. Let cool.
12. Soak some cheese cloth in some brandy and wrap it around the cake.
13. Wrap the cake in foil and refrigerate for 30 days.

Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce

Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce

Brie is one of those cheeses that I always see around but I never seem to do anything with it. I recently came across the concept of a baked brie and the thought of that gooey melted cheese piqued my interest. Baked brie is basically just brie wrapped in puff pastry along with some preserves and baked in the oven until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese inside is nice and melted. Instead of using preserves in the baked brie I thought that it would be nice if it was a bit more seasonal and I used some cranberry sauce. For this version of the cranberry sauce I doubled the sugar to ensure that it was nice and sweet as well as tart to complement the savoury melted cheese. My baked brie did not turn out quite as I had hoped as the puff pastry did not hold together and it opened up while cooking. Despite the fact that it does not look the best, it sure was good! The brie cheese was completely melted and and went really well with the cranberry sauce. I served the baked brie with some crackers to dip into the melted cheese and cranberry sauce goodness. I have now been sold on brie and I really like it. I can't wait to get some more.

Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry (thawed)
1 cup cranberry sauce
1 round of brie

Directions:
1. Lay the puff pastry out flat and place the brie onto it.
2. Spread the cranberry sauce over the on the brie.
3. Fold the pastry over the top of the brie.
4. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Grilled Turkey and Brie Sandwich with Cranberry Chutney
Baked Brie Topped with Caramelized Mushrooms
Baked Brie with Sundried Tomatoes

Cranberry Crumb Coffeecake

Cranberry Crumb Coffeecake

One of the things that I like about baking breakfasts is that they generally make enough to last the entire week. That way I can make the breakfast on the weekend and I have quick already made breakfasts for the rest of the week. For the holiday week I knew that I wanted to make a breakfast on the weekend so that I could save time during the busy week. I had originally planned to make to make a cranberry quick bread for the week but then I saw this recipe for a cranberry coffeecake that sounded too good to pass up. I liked the sound of using cranberry sauce in a new way and a layer of tart cranberries in a sweet coffeecake sounded like a nice way to do so. I made the maple cranberry sauce that I had made a while ago and enjoyed. The coffeecake came together easily an turned out really well. It was nice and light and moist and good. The tart cranberry sauce worked really well with the sweet layer coffeecake crumbs. Now I will have quick and tasty breakfasts ready for the busy week ahead.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup yogurt (I used vanilla, or sour cream)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour

Directions:
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Mix in the yogurt, almond extract and vanilla extract.
4. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl.
5. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
6. Pour the batter into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
7. Pour the cranberry sauce on top.
8. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
9. Mix in the salt, cinnamon and flour until crumbs form.
10. Sprinkle the crumbs over the cake.
11. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Sour Cream Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Light Swirl Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze
Blueberry Coffee Cake
Gooseberry Crumb Cake
Strawberries and Cream Coffee Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze

Scrambled Eggs with Sundried Tomato and Parmigiano Reggiano

Scrambled Eggs with Sundried Tomato and Parmigiano Reggiano

It had been a while since I had last had scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs are pretty plain and there were so many other things on my breakfast to try list that I just didn't even really consider them. That was until I came across a post about scrambled eggs with sun-dried tomato and parmesan on Cook Sister that sounded amazingly tasty! With sundried tomatoes, mayonnaise, and parmigiano reggiano these scrambled eggs were dressed up in style and going places. I had everything that I needed, an almost empty jar of sun dried tomatoes and just enough parmigiano reggiano along with the eggs and mayo. This dish was super easy and quick to make and it tasted great! You just can't go wrong with this flavour combination. Scrambled eggs are no longer plain and boring and I am going to have to start thinking of new ways to dress them up with flavour.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 splash milk
3 sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
butter
1 slice whole wheat bread (toasted)
mayonnaise
parmigiano reggiano to taste
parsley to taste (optional, chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the eggs, milk, sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper in a bowl.
2. Melt the butter in a pan.
3. Add the eggs and cook stirring until the eggs are set but still a little runny.
4. Spread some mayo on some toast and top with the eggs.
5. Garnish with parmigiano reggiano and parsley.

Similar Recipes:
Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Burrito
Scrambled Eggs with Ramps, Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms
Garlic Scape Pesto Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Pork Chops in a Mushroom Paprika Sauce

Pork Chops with Mushrooms, Dill, and Sour Cream Sauce

The beef stroganoff that I made a while ago has been on my mind and I was really craving it again. With the holidays coming I have not had much time at all and I have been looking for quick meals so braising the beef for the stroganoff was out of the question. I had some pork chops in the freezer that needed to be used and I thought that pork chops with a mushroom, dill and sour cream sauce similar to the stroganoff sauce would hit the spot. This recipe turned out to be much quicker than the original but it was no less tasty. I served the pork chops with mushroom, dill and sour cream sauce on egg noodles and I added some steamed spinach to make it a one dish meal. This new sauce was really tasty; lick the plate clean good in fact. With the sauce on top it covered the pork chops, the noodles and the steamed spinach in it rich flavourful goodness. It was one quick and tasty meal that satisfied my cravings.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
4 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion (sliced)
1 (8 ounce) package cremini mushrooms (sliced)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons dill (chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.
3. Saute the pork chops until just cooked all the way through and golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side and set aside.
4. Melt the butter in the pan.
5. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
7. Add the tomato paste, flour, paprika, dill, salt and pepper and stir.
8. Add the stock and deglaze the pan.
9. Simmer until the sauce thickens.
10. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and dill.

Similar Recipes:
Beef Stroganoff
Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars


Another one of my favorite holiday treats are nanaimo bars. Nanaimo bars are another Canadian dessert and they consist of a chocolate and coconut wafer layer topped by a a layer custard butter icing and a layer chocolate. I really like the chocolate, coconut and custard combo and these chilled treats are always welcome. I had not had a nanaimo bar in a long time and I thought that it would be great to make my own this year. Since this was my first time making nanaimo bars I decided to stick with the standard recipe that seems to be everywhere on the web. As I was making the bars I was thinking that it would be nice to try tweaking the flavours in the different layers and I was thinking about mint in particular; though I will save that for another time. Because there are three layers that each required time to chill before the next layer can be added these bars take a bit of time to make. Despite the time needed they are super easy to make and well worth the effort. The nanaimo bars turned out great, just like I remembered them. I like to eat the nanaimo bars chilled, directly from the fridge but, they are also really good at room temperature. These bars also freeze well so you can make them ahead of time and store them until needed. I like to keep them in the freezer and pull one out at a time to snack on whenever I feel like one.

Ingredients:

Base
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

Filling
1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
3 tablespoon custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder)
1/4 cup milk
3 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Topping
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Base
1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
2. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.
3. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract and remove from heat.
4. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts.
5. Press into a greased 8 inch square pan and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Filling
1. Cream the butter.
2. Beat in the custard powder and milk.
3. Beat in the sugar slowly.
4. Spread over the the base layer and chill in the fridge until it sets.

Topping
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan and stir until smooth.
2. Spread over the filling layer and chill in a fridge until the chocolate begins to harden.
3. Score the chocolate where you will cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.
4. Before the chocolate hardens, cut into bars. (Use an hot knife and wipe clean after each cut.)

Similar Recipes:
Rolo Cheesecake Bars

Maple Butter Tarts

Maple Butter Tarts


Another one of my favorite holiday treats is butter tarts and I could not let the holiday season go by without having some. Butter tarts are a Canadian pastry consisting of butter, sugar and eggs in a pastry shell. The tarts would be perfectly fine just like that but I like to add raisins and chopped walnuts as that is they way that my grandmother always made them. This time I thought it would also be nice to make them with some maple syrup. The maple butter tarts were amazing! The pastry was nice and golden brown and light an flaky and melt in your mouth good. The filling was nicely set and sweet and gooey and oh so good! The maple syrup added a great new flavour to the tarts and I will definitely be using it again. Butter tarts are another treat that freezes well so you can make them ahead of the holidays to lighten the load during that busy time. Frozen butter tarts also make a great gift; I know I always enjoyed receiving a large container of frozen butter tarts from my grandmother to take back with me after the holidays.

Ingredients:
1 pie crust pastry (chilled)
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
1/2 cup raisins

Directions:
1. Roll the pastry out to 1/8 inch thick and cut out 12 4-5 inch circles.
2. Press the circles of dough into a muffin baking pan.
3. Chill the muffin pan in the fridge for 45-60 minutes.
4. Mix the egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter,vanilla extract, salt, walnuts and raisins in a bowl.
5. Pour the mixture into the tarts.
6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven and bake until set, about 15-25 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Maple Pecan Pie
Maple Snickerdoodles
Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Other Maple Recipes

Shortbread

Shortbread


Shortbread is one of the cookies/treats that I most associate with the holidays. My mother has been making it every year for the holidays for as long as I can remember. I still find it a bit surprising that out of all of the treats out there with all of the flavours out there, that a simple unadorned shortbread cookie is one of my favorites. The way that it crumbles and then melts away in your mouth... the simple sweetness which is somehow so addictive... This year I wanted to try making some of my own shortbread. I did not realize how easy shortbread was to make but the basic recipe consists of just flour, butter and sugar. You pretty much just mix everything and either press the crumbs into the bottom of a baking dish or form a dough, roll it out and cut it into whatever shapes you want. A few minutes in the oven and you are all done. Shortbread freezes well so you can make them ahead of the holidays while you have more time and pull it out when needed. I don't think my first batch will make it to the freezer though.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar

Directions:
1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in another bowl
3. Mix the flour into the butter.
4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out the shapes that you want.
5. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until lightly brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Shortbread

Similar Recipes:
Almond Crescent Cookies
Maple Pecan Shortbread
Orange Shortbread Dipped in Chocolate
Lime Meltaways
Stilton and Rosemary Shortbread
Gorgonzola and Pistachio Shortbread
Bacon Maple Shortbread

Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

While I was thinking about what I wanted to do for breakfasts this week my thoughts kept coming back to apples, cinnamon and oatmeal. Although apple and cinnamon oatmeal sounded good, I thought that I would make it a bit more interesting and do an apple and cinnamon oatmeal bread. I wanted the bread to be full of apple flavour and to have nice big chunks of apple with every bite. To achieve this goal I used both large pieces of chopped apples and some of my own home made roasted apple sauce in the bread. Of course there had to be a lot of cinnamon and I thought that some raisins and chopped pecans would finish off the bread nicely. In addition to using rolled oats in the bread I garnished it with some more. The apple and cinnamon oatmeal bread turned out great! It was nice and light and fluffy and moist and full of appley goodness! I really enjoyed the texture provided by the chunks of apple, the rolled oats and the raisins and nuts. I think I might just have a new favorite quick bread.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 apple sauce
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups apples (peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecan (chopped)
1 handful rolled oats

Directions:
1. Mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, yogurt, apple sauce, oil, egg and rolled oats in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients along with the apples, raisins and pecans until just mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
5. Sprinkle the rolled oats on top
6.Bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Cheesecake Stuffed Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping and Caramel Sauce
Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes Topped with Caramelized Apples
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Zucchini Bread
Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Turtle Bread

Green Beans with Parmesan Bread Crumbs

Green Beans with Parmesan Bread Crumbs

To complete my steak in green peppercorn sauce meal I needed only one more thing, something green. I like to try to include green vegetables in my meals whenever possible. Green beans are still readily available at the farmers market and I wanted to do something with them. I remembered seeing a recipe for green beans in parmesan and sage breadcrumbs that sounded nice. I did not have the sage on hand so I decided to use the thyme that I did have. The green beans in parmesan bread crumbs were really easy to make and took very little effort. The toasted parmesan bread crumbs were really tasty and provided a nice crunchy texture to the green beans.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon thyme (chopped, or sage)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
1 pound green beans (trimmed, steamed)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about one minute.
2. Add the breadcrumbs and parmigiano reggiano and saute until golden brown and toasted.
3. Remove from heat and toss with the steamed green beans.

Similar Recipes:
Green Beans in Butter and Lemon with Parmigiano Reggiano
Maple Dijon Green Beans
Green Beans in Spicy Peanut Sauce

Onion Gratin

Onion Gratin

Recently I have been enjoying onions a lot and when I came across this recipe for roasted parmesan onions on Proud Italian Cook I knew that I had to try them soon. I thought that pairing them with the steak in green peppercorn sauce would be a nice fit. When you bake or roast onions they get all nice and soft and tender and they release their natural sweetness and they are just plain good! Add some melted golden brown cheese on top and a creamy wine sauce and you have one amazing side dish. The roasted onion gratin was an absolute treat! The onions were nice and tender and full of that magically sweet onion flavour. I am glad that I paired the onion gratin with such a strong main course as this side dish could easily steal the show from a lesser one. I have a feeling that these onions will be making a regular appearance on my dinner table.

Steak Tenderloin in a Green Peppercorn Sauce

Steak Tenderloin in a Green Peppercorn Sauce

They had some beef tenderloin on at a good price when I was at the market and I picked some up. The only question was what to do with it. I remembered enjoying a peppercorn steak at a restaurant a long time ago and I decided that I wanted to try making it at home. I was not sure exactly how they did it as I remembered some of the peppercorns being hard like I had expected but some of them were also soft. A quick search on the web led me to the discovery of green peppercorns in brine which was just what I was looking for. I was all set, I had some freshly cracked peppercorns to crust the steak and some brined green peppercorns for a sauce to go on it. I really like simple meat and pan sauce recipes like this as they are quick, easy and always tasty and this peppercorn steak was no exception. I got a nice sear on the outside of the steak but the inside was still medium rare, just the way I like it. The peppercorn crust was nice and crunchy and provided a great contrast in texture to the juicy steak within. I could have reduced the green peppercorn sauce a bit more but I was too hungry to wait and it turned out great anyways. The green peppercorns had a texture that I really enjoyed and the sauce was nice and tasty. I served the peppercorn steak with an onion gratin and some parmesan breadcrumbs coated green beans. (More to come on them later.)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns (roughly crushed)
2 steaks
salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot (chopped)
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Directions:
1. Press the steaks into the peppercorns to coat and season with salt.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Sear the steaks on high heat on both sides for about 2-4 minutes and set aside.
4. Melt the butter in the pan.
5. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 4 minutes.
6. Add the brandy and deglaze the pan.
7. Add the peppercorns, beef stock, heavy cream and mustard and simmer to reduce by half.
8. Remove from heat and mix in any juices collected under the steaks.

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Double Smoked Bacon Wrapped Fillet Mignon with Caramelized Mushrooms
Steak Diane

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I just realized that there weren't that many days left before the holidays and that there was still a lot to do. Among the things to do was some holiday baking. While I was thinking about what I wanted to make this year my eyes kept wandering to a bar of white chocolate that I had picked up on sale a while ago and I kept thinking about my favorite cookies, the white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies. Inspiration hit and I decided to try a holiday version of the cookies where the macadamia nuts were replace with some green pistachios and I added some red cranberries for some holiday colours. I had also been wanting to try adding some rolled oats to a batch of cookies and it was the perfect time. These cookies took a bit longer to make as I had to shell the pistachios but other than that they took almost no time at all. The cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate oatmeal cookies turned out great! The were slightly crisp on the edges and nice and soft on the inside. They were just packed full of great flavours and textures from the crunchy nuts to the chewy cranberries to the creamy white chocolate. The rolled oats seems to disappear from the outside but you could still see them on the inside and they also added a nice chewy texture to the cookies. These cookies are going to disappear quickly!

Italian Style Beef Stew with Butternut Squash

Italian Style Beef Stew with Butternut Squash

While I was eating my squash chili mole I was thinking about what else I could use squash in and I eventually arrived at a beef stew. I had recently made a Japanese style beef stew (nikujaga) using pumpkin so I wanted something a little bit different. I was thinking that an Italian style beef stew would be nice. The first thing I did of course was search the web for recipes and came across this one for a beef and butternut squash stew that sounded like a nice place to start. I felt that an Italian style beef stew would have to contain more tomatoes but I wanted there to be more of a broth than a sauce so I used diced tomatoes with red wine and beef broth to form the base of the stew. To add some more flavour I added some pancetta and browned the beef and sauteed the onions in the pancetta grease instead of olive oil. I like to save the rinds from parmigiano reggiano to throw into sauces to add flavour while simmering and I thought it would work in a broth as well. I wanted to braise the beef until it was nice and tender and since I did not want my squash to be mush I held off on adding it until the meat was almost fully cooked. The Italian style beef stew was a great success! The beef was fall apart in your mouth tender and the squash was nice and al dente; cooked and tender but still having a firm texture. The broth was super flavourful and I did not let any of it go to waste by sopping it up with some cheesy garlic bread.

Ingredients:
2 ounces pancetta (diced)
1 pound beef (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
1 tablespoon rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon thyme (chopped)
1 cup Italian red wine
3 cups beef broth
1 splash balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (chopped)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes)
* parsley (chopped)

Directions:
1. Cook the pancetta in a large pan on medium heat.
2. Add the beef and brown on all sides in the grease from the pancetta and set aside.
3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
5. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
6. Add the beef, broth, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, diced tomatoes, parmigiano reggiano rind, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the beef is nice and tender, about 1-2 hours.
8. Add the squash and simmer until it is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Slow Cooker: Implement step 1, optionally implement steps 2-5, place everything except the parsley in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or high for 2-4 hours before adding the parsley.

Similar Recipes:
Nikujaga (Japanese Beef Stew)
Squash Chili Mole
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Kare (Japanese Curry)
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Steak and Guinness Pie

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

One of the reasons that I do not make yeast based breads all that often is because most recipes make a lot and it is difficult to finish it before it becomes too stale to eat. I have now found a solution to that problem, use the stale bread to make bread pudding. Bread pudding is basically bread that has been soaked in a custard base and then baked. You can use whatever type of bread that you want and you can add in whatever kinds of flavours that you want. I used the leftover pumpkin dinner rolls as the bread and I went with even more pumpkin flavour along with some spices and dried cranberries. The bread pudding was super easy to make and it was amazing! It was nice and moist and and full of pumpkin flavour. I drenched the pumpkin bread pudding in caramel sauce after it baked and it was oh so good. I can't wait to make bread pudding again.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (ground)
5 cups day old bread (cubed)
1 handful dried cranberries

Directions:
1. Mix the half and half, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, eggs, and spices in a bowl.
2. Mix in the bread and cranberries and pour into a baking dish.
3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.

Pecan Crusted Pork Chops with Pumpkin Butter

Pecan Crusted Pork Chops with Pumpkin Butter

A while ago I made some pumpkin butter and I have been enjoying it on pumpkin bread and pumpkin rolls but I was looking for something new and interesting. After searching the internet for a while I came across this recipe for pecan crusted pork chops with pumpkin butter that sounded good. I really like breaded and fried pork chops as they are quick and easy and taste great! The sound of crusting a pork chop with pecans sounded really good and pecans are something that I think of when thinking of pumpkin so it sounded like a good match. The pecan crusted pork chops were really easy to make, though you have to watch closely as the pecans can burn easily. After the first one, I cooked the remaining at a lower temperature than I would normally use to ensure that they did not burn. The pecan crusted pork chops were amazing! The crust was nice and light and crunchy and it tasted like toasted pecans! The pork was warm and juicy on the inside creating a nice contrast in texture. The spiced pumpkiny goodness of the pumpkin butter topping went really well with toasted pecan flavours of the pork chops. I will be making these again! I will also have to think about other ways that I can use nutty crusts on various meats.

I still have a lot of pumpkin butter left so if you know of any interesting ways to enjoy it, I would really like to hear about them.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup bread crumbs
4 boneless pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1 egg (lightly beaten
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup pumpkin butter

Directions:
1. Pulse the pecans and bread crumbs in a food processor.
2. Season the pork chops with the salt and pepper.
3. Dredge the pork chops in the flour.
4. Dip the pork chops in the egg.
5. Press the pork chops in the pecans.
6. Heat the oil in a pan on medium.
7. Add the pork chops and saute until just cooked all the way through and golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
8. Serve the pork chops with pumpkin butter.

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Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet)
Katsu Kare (Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce)
Penang Moo Yang (Curried Pork Chops)
Pork Chops in Balsamic Fig Sauce
Pork Chop with Apple, Sage and Pancetta
Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

My supply of pumpkins and squash has been steadily declining but I still had some left. I do not normally make yeast based breads all that often but when I came across the idea of pumpkin dinner rolls I knew that I would have to try them. I figured that serving them with the squash chili mole would be perfect. As a yeast based bread they take a bit of time to rise twice so you have to time them right if you want them to be fresh out of the oven (and that is when they are at their best) when you sit down to eat your meal. Other than the timing you have to do a bit of kneading but the rolls were pretty easy to make overall. The pumpkin dinner rolls turned out pretty good. They were nice light and fluffy with just a hint of pumpkin flavour. I had a hard time saving a roll till the end to clean the last of the chili sauce from the bottom of the bowl. I could not resist eating one right as it came out of the oven with some melting butter. This time in addition to the melting butter I tried drizzling some honey onto the roll as well and it was so good! I am going to have to bake bread more often.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup milk (lukewarm)
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 egg (beaten lightly)
2 cups pumpkin puree
~1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Directions:
1. Mix the yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl and set aside.
2. Mix in the flour, nutmeg, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Slowly mix in the oil.
4. Mix the yeast mixture, egg, pumpkin puree into the flour mixture until it forms a dough.
5. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic-y adding more flour as required.
6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise to double its original volume, about 1 hour.
7. Place the dough on a floured surface and form it into a disc.
8. Cut the disc into 16 pieces and form them into balls.
9. Place the balls in an oiled spring form pan.
10. Cover the pan and rise to double its original volume, about 1 hour.
11. Mix the egg and water and brush onto the top of the dough.
12. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

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Yorkshire Pudding

Squash Chili Mole

Squash Chili Mole

It seems that the tacos al pastor had just whet my appetite for texmex and I had been away from pumpkins and squash for too long. I knew just the dish to satisfy both cravings, a squash chili mole. I came across the idea of a pumpkin chili mole on What's Cooking a while ago and I bookmarked it right away. The basic idea is that it is a chili with both pumpkin and aspects of a mole sauce such as chocolate in it. I had made and enjoyed a mole sauce a while ago and I liked the idea of adding some chocolate and cinnamon along with some squash to a spicy chili.

I had a large butternut squash that needed to be finished so I used that instead of a pumpkin. I wanted to have both the texture of large chunks of squash and the flavour distribution of some pureed squash so I cut half of the butternut into cubes and roasted and pureed the other half for the best of both worlds. I like to use cubed beef in my chili and that means that I get the chance to braise it until it gets nice and tender. I did not want the butternut to be all mushy by the end so I simmered the sauce with out the cubed squash until the meat was done and then I added the squash and cooked until it was also tender.

The squash chili mole turned out pretty good! I really enjoyed the way the sweet squash worked in the spicy chili. There was a nice hint of chocolate and cinnamon that made the chili seem somewhat exotic without overpowering the dish. I served the squash chili mole with a dab of sour cream and some chopped cilantro on top and some pumpkin rolls on the side to sop up the tasty chili sauce. While I was eating the chili I was thinking that another interesting version would be to replace the chocolate with pumpkin pie spice and to use turkey instead of beef. Maybe some cranberries could be worked in as well.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound beef (cubed)
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (chopped)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (19 ounce) can kidney beans
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bar Mexican chocolate
* beef stock
4 cups pumpkin (seeded, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a large pan.
2. Add the beef and brown on all sides on high heat and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in the same pan.
4. Add the onions and saute on medium heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano chipotles and cinnamon and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
6. Add the meat, tomatoes, beans, pumpkin puree, tomato paste and chocolate and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer the beef is nice and tender, about 1-2 hours, adding beef stock if the sauce starts to get dry.
6. Add the pumpkin and simmer until tender, about 10-20 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Chicken Enchiladas in Mole Sauce
Pumpkin Quesadillas
Pumpkin and Black Bean Burritos
Beef Rendang
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Slow Braised Chili Con Carne
Butternut Squash and Chorizo Tostadas
Beef and Black Bean Chili
Quinoa White Chicken Chili
Tortellini Chili

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

I guess that it's time for a quick break from all of the squash and pumpkin...

I recently realized that I had not had beef stroganoff in a very long time and I wanted to try making it. According to the wikipedia beef stroganoff is a Russian dish consisting of beef in a sour cream sauce. My mother made this a few times while I was growing up and I remembered really enjoying it. I searched the net for some recipes though I already had an outline in mind. I knew that there would be some onions and mushrooms in addition to the beef. One idea that I did come across was to add paprika and although I had never had it that way, it sounded like a great idea. The paprika and mushroom combination reminded me of a mushroom soup that I had made a while ago and really enjoyed. That soup combined mushrooms, sour cream, paprika and dill and I had really like the flavour combo so I decided to add some dill to the stroganoff as well. I added some dried dill while the sauce was simmering and some fresh dill just at the end for the best of both worlds.

I figured that there were two main ways that I could cook the beef. I could either get a really tender cut of beef and quickly saute it or I could get a much cheaper cut of beef and braise it until is was nice and tender. Since I had the time and I really enjoy braising I decided to go with that route, though there is a quicker option if you are short on time. While I was rummaging through my fridge I came across some bacon and I decided to throw it in as well to kick up the flavour a bit. I also sauteed the beef in the bacon grease so as to not waste any of that flavour. I then let the beef simmer in the sauce until it was fall apart tender.

The beef stroganoff was amazing! It was so full of flavour that only got better the next day. The beef was nice and tender and it seemed to just melt in your mouth. The sauce was nice and creamy and tasty and I really enjoyed the mushroom, paprika, dill and sour cream flavour combination. I served the beef stroganoff on egg noodles though you could use any type of pasta or rice, etc. I am looking forward to making this again!

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon (cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely optional)
1 pound of beef (cut into thin slices)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion (sliced)
1 (8 ounce) package cremini mushrooms (sliced)
2 cups beef stock (or red wine or a combination of both)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup beef stock
1/2 cup sour cream (low fat if you desire)
2 tablespoons dill (chopped)

Directions:
1. Cook the bacon in the pan and set aside.
2. Saute the beef in the bacon grease until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in the pan.
4. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the bacon, beef, stock, tomato paste, paprika, dill, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 60-90 minutes.
8. Mix the flour into the stock and stir it into the beef.
9. Bring to a boil and cook while stirring until it has thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
10. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and dill.
11. Serve over noodles or rice.

Similar Recipes:
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Pork Chops with Mushrooms, Dill, and Sour Cream Sauce
Beef Rendang
Sauerkraut Cabbage Roll Soup
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Braised Short Rib Ragu

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup on Once Upon a Feast.

Pumpkin Bread with Dried Cranberries, Toasted Pecans and White Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Bread with Dried Cranberries, Toasted Pecans and White Chocolate Chips

It seems that the pumpkin and squash marathon continues. While I was enjoying my pumpkin pie pancakes I thought that a pumpkin bread would also be a good idea. It started off as a pretty basic pumpkin bread but then I thought that it would be nice if I added some dried cranberries. The next thing I knew I was also adding some toasted pecans and white chocolate chips. The fully loaded pumpkin bread turned out really well. It was nice and light and moist and good. The pumpkin flavour came through well and the spices finished it off with an amazing aroma. Unfortunately the white chocolate chips seem to have melted into the bread. Next time I will have to use chucks of white chocolate bar instead. For even more pumpkiny goodness I spread some pumpkin butter on a slice of the pumpkin bread. I am looking forward to breakfasts this week!

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
1/4 teaspoon cloves (ground)
1/4 teaspoon ginger (ground)
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl.
2. Mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, oil and yogurt in another bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry mixtures.
4. Stir in the white chocolate chips, cranberries and pecans.
5. Pour the batter into a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a tooth pick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes.

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Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Buns with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
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Pumpkin Bread with Dried Cranberries, Toasted Pecans and White Chocolate Chips with Pumpkin Butter