Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Bundt with Maple Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze

There is just something about the cool Fall weather that brings out the baker in me.  I want to bake cookies, pies and cakes.  Yes, I want to eat them all too but, I think I'll share. I decided to bake up a Bundt cake.  I've seen some 2-ingredient Bundt cakes popping up on the Internet and I decided today was the day.  I'm having a few friends over so this is perfect timing.

In honor of tomorrow being the first day of October, I chose Pumpkin Spice Bundt.  Nothing says fall like pumpkin & spices.  Unless it's maple and bourbon.  And pecans.  Can't forget pecans.  What I ended up with was Pumpkin Spice with Maple Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze.  Have to say, my house smells so good right now!  Between the roasted pecans and the cake....Mmmmmmm....Heaven!

FYI:  You will have a bit of leftover glaze.  I kept mine and used it in my coffee.  Yummy!

Pumpkin Spice Bundt with Maple-Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze
1 box Spice Cake mix
1 can Pumpkin (don't get pumpkin pie mix. Not the same)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Cardamom
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
2 Tbl. Butter
2 Tbl. Cream
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
4 Tbl. Cream Cheese
1 Tbl. Bourbon (I used Maker's Mark) If you don't like bourbon, use extra vanilla.
1/2 tsp. Maple Flavor
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Powdered Sugar
Decorative Topping:
Toasted Pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat Bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Dump cake mix and pumpkin in mixer.  Mix together.
Add cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom and nutmeg and mix.
This stuff is very thick!  Make sure to even out you cake or it will not be pretty!
Pour into Bundt pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes, testing to make sure center is done.
Turn out on wire rack to cook.

Toasted Nuts:

Spread nuts on baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees F. for 5 minutes.
Stir and toast another 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn as this can happen quickly.
Set aside to cool.
Melt butter and cream together in the microwave. Mix together with brown sugar until sugar melts.
Add cream cheese, bourbon, maple flavor and vanilla and mix until cream cheese is well incorporated.
Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, mix well.
Then add second 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Mix well.
Drizzle over cake, letting it run down sides. 
Sprinkle cake with decorative topping. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Burritos Enchilada Style-Mexican Villa Copy-Cat

This another copy-cat recipe from my beloved Mexican Villa.  If you don't want to make huge burritos, you can make smaller ones using smaller flour tortillas.  If you do, obviously you'll be able to make more than two.  To be honest, smaller is better in this case as these things are massive! 
To Make Burritos Enchilada Style
(Makes 2 Very Large Burritos)
1 pound Ground Beef/Turkey
1 package Taco Seasoning
1 16 oz. can Refried Beans
2 cups Shredded Monterrey Jack &/or White American Cheese
Chopped Onion (optional)
2 Large Flour Tortillas
shredded Iceberg lettuce
diced Tomato

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef/turkey. Pour into a strainer or small-holed colander.
Drain beef and rinse with hot water, making sure to get rid of as much fat as possible. If using turkey, skip this step. 
Put back into pan and add taco seasoning and a few tablespoons sauce to beef/turkey. Let simmer for a couple of minutes until thick.
Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
Pour a small amount of sauce into baking pan to cover bottom. I use individual serving plates for these.
Warm flour tortillas in microwave for approximately 15 seconds, just enough to make pliable.
Using one flour tortilla, fill with 1/2 of refried beans, starting off center to leave room to roll.
Add 1/2 of the ground beef/turkey,
then 1/2 cup cheese and onions if using.
Fold tortilla over filling.
Fold ends towards the middle.
Roll over folds.
Continue to roll until a you have rolled all the tortilla together.

Place in baking pan.
Cover with sauce and remaining cheese.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Garnish with lettuce and tomato.

Mexican Villa serves their enchiladas with a side of refried beans and Mexican rice. If you want it truly authentic, place the enchiladas, beans and rice on a oven-proof plate, and add a few tablespoons of sauce over the beans and sprinkle with cheese, then bake until cheese has melted.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Carmalized Potatoes or Brúnaðar kartöflur

I was searching around the Web last night, looking at ideas for Mother's Night.  I am hosting a cookie exchange but the men-folk will be here too, so I want to put on a nice Julebord aka a Smorgasbord.  Since we're not strictly confined to one Northern European country, I was searching for ideas and recipes from all of them.  I ran across Brúnaðar kartöflur on an Icelandic cooking site.  I needed a side dish for dinner and these looked delish.  And they were! 

I modified the recipe a bit, adding some salt and fresh ground pepper but I think it remains true to the flavors.  I served them with apple-chipotle glazed salmon and California mix.  Hubs loved them and it gave me a chance to try them out before I serve them to company.

Be forewarned, I used canned potatoes and yes, they did splatter a bit.  I got around this by using a splatter guard but if you don't have one, try using small cold cooked potatoes instead.  Either one will work.

I apologize.  I didn't get the ingredients photo on this one.  
 Caramelized Potatoes or Brúnaðar Kartöflur 
2 15-oz can Potatoes
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground Pepper
Parsley for sprinkling

Open, drain and rinse potatoes.  Dry in a dish towel, getting off as much water as possible. If there are large potatoes, cut in half.  Set aside.
Put butter and sugar in a skillet and melt on medium heat. 
Add salt, pepper & then add potatoes.
Continue cooking and stirring, making sure all sides of the potatoes are covered with the butter/sugar mixture.
Be sure to put splatter guard over potatoes between stirring to avoid a  nasty little burn.  It will splatter!
Continue to cook until all the potatoes are golden brown.  Be careful not to burn the caramel mixture.  This takes about 20 minutes.  Do not get in a hurry.  If you do, the caramel will burn and taste really bad and you'll ruin the whole dish.
Take out potatoes and then pour remaining butter over and serve.   

Perfect side for salmon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Cleaning-Kitchen Clean & Coffee Station

I don't know what it is about the crisp Autumn air but it puts me in the mood to clean.  I guess it's that nesting thing, preparing for Winter.  Whatever it is, I am into it full throttle.  I threw open the windows to let in the fresh breeze, which does make the house smell so good, and got out my cleaning supplies.

Today, I am deep cleaning the kitchen.  Every day this week is being dedicated to one room.  I am cleaning top to bottom.  Goodbye cobwebs & cookie crumbs.  Hello sunshine and fresh air. 

My kitchen cleaning means wiping down the cabinets (inside & out), cleaning & organizing the pantry, cleaning & organizing the fridge, wiping all appliances, sweeping, mopping, deep cleaning the stove and sink, cleaning the baseboards, windowsills, windows, & light fixtures.  Whew!  I'm tired just thinking about it! 

Since I am trying very hard to transition from industrial cleaners to natural, healthy, homemade ones, today, I am making a few things.  One is laundry detergent.  You can find the 'recipe' here.  Since I'm in the kitchen today, I'm making dishwasher detergent too.  I'll post that 'recipe' later this week. 

Another thing I make is my own air freshener.  It's not really much of a recipe.  I simply mix a favorite essential oil with some water in a spray bottle and spray away.  Sometimes, I add alcohol too.   For the kitchen, citrus water goes well. Orange, lemon and my favorite, grapefruit, just smell so refreshing.  All three oils are disinfectants so they pull double duty.  You can use them to scent the air and you can spray down the counters, knowing it's safe.

I am also going to make a coffee station in a little used area.  Well, that's not quite true.  It's used a lot for throwing bills, papers , etc. and is always a mess. This way, it'll be organized and pretty and will open up some counter & cabinet space. 

Before:  This is the old space for the coffee pots.  Way too crowded!
This is the new space.  As you can see, it's quite a mess. 
Here's the Coffee Station I ended up with.  Much better!  Now that the weather is cooling off, it's nice to have an organized place for a warm cup of coffee, tea, or cider.  Later, I'll include some hot chocolate packets.  I plan on hanging the cups above but I only had 2 cup hooks. 

The counter looks better now too.  I finally put up my paper towel holder. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn and Spiced Coffee

Happy Fall, Ya'll! 

It does feel like Fall here in Oklahoma.  The air this morning was brisk and the sun has that beautiful glow that only Fall can bring.  I love it!

My morning coffee made the seasonal change too.  Time for spiced coffee! WOOHOO!! 

This is about as simple as it gets, folks.  Seriously. 

Spiced Coffee
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Cardamom
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
Just add this combination on top of your coffee before you brew it.  This makes 6 cups.  Adjust as needed.
I always add a bit of sugar to my cup as it brings out the flavor of the spices more.  For a true indulgence, add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Mmmmmmmm! 

Chili-Cheese Horseshoe Sandwich

My In-Laws were here for a visit last weekend from Springfield, IL.  Good times were had by all, especially my Step-Son, who cleaned up on the birthday presents.  He's the only grandchild on this side so yeah, he gets a lot of attention and yeah, lots of stuff too.  He's a good kid despite this.

This brings me to the Horseshoe sandwich.  It's a famous local sandwich that originated in Springfield, IL.  To be honest, I'd never heard of it until I got married but once I did, I was fascinated by the idea.

Now the original sandwich came from the Leland Hotel in 1928.  It started out as a open-face sandwich consisting of two slices of toast, topped with a slice of ham, a large serving of French fries, and then smothered in what appears to be a rarebit cheese sauce.

Over the years, the recipe has been played with and modified.  Seems the most popular version now consists of hamburger patties but there are even breakfast Horseshoes.  They all look delicious.

Hubs requested hamburgers & chili-cheese fries for dinner last night and this set my mind in motion.  Fries...hamburgers...chili-cheese sauce. about a Horseshoe!?   This is what I came up with.  Have to say, it was absolutely delicious!  I'll definitely make it again but not too soon.  It's a fat bomb but ohhh so worth it! 

Chili-Cheese Horseshoe Sandwich
1-1/2 lbs. Ground Beef
Garlic Powder
1/2 small can Green Chilies
1 can No Bean Chili
1/4 package Velveeta
2 Tbls Wilson Chili Seasoning
Onion, chopped
French Fries (fried or baked, your choice)
Your favorite hamburger condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.)

Season beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. 
Add green chilies. I only did 2 patties with the chilies as my Hubs doesn't care for them. 
Portion out 1/4 pound balls and form into patties on parchment or wax paper.  Set aside.
Pour chili into microwavable dish.
Add Velveeta and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir. 
Continue for 1 minute until cheese is mostly melted.
Add chili seasoning, stir, then microwave until all cheese is melted.  Keep warm.

Fry hamburger patties in skillet over medium heat and cook French Fries.  Keep warm.

To assemble:

Place a small amount of chili-cheese on plate.
Top with warmed bun.
Place hamburger patties on bun.
Cover with more chili-cheese.
Top this with a serving of French fries.
Sprinkle with chopped onions and green chilies.
Add your favorite condiments.  Ketchup was my choice.