Thursday, November 24, 2011

Praline Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Casserole

I've made this the last Christmas and Thanksgiving I've hosted and it's always a hit!

1 butternut squash
3 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon of allspice
1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten
Approximately 1/2 cup of heavy cream
Praline Topping, recipe below

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F to roast the squash and sweet potatoes.

Slice the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and fibers and rinse. Place the squash on a jellyroll pan and drizzle with olive oil, turn over and cook cut side down. Rinse and scrub sweet potatoes, prick with a knife and place on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for about one hour, or until tender. Sometimes the sweet potatoes will take longer to cook; insert a knife to test and leave in the oven longer if needed. Remove and let cool.

When you are ready to make the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter or spray a 1-1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop the flesh out of the squash and the sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl with a flat paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth; add in the sugar, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla extract and eggs. Blend well and add just enough cream to moisten as needed. Mixture should be fairly thick. Spread evenly in casserole dish. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans and sprinkle over the squash/sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. If you miss your marshmallows, sprinkle the top with a few miniature marshmallows and return the casserole to the oven just until melted and lightly browned.

Serves about 6 - double for the holidays.

Praline Topping:

10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
10 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Whole pecan halves for garnish, optional

Melt the butter. Meanwhile mix the brown sugar, flour and pecans in a small bowl. Pour the butter into the brown sugar mixture and stir with a fork until well mixed. Sprinkle the pecan mixture all over the top of the casserole.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stolen: Frosted Candy Bar-Stuffed Cookie Cups

Here's another one taken from She's going to make me fat!!

I made mine in mini muffin tins. I also used the Hershey's chocolate frosting recipe for the chocolate frosted ones.

Frosted Candy Bar Stuffed Cookie Cups

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and baking soda.

Next add the eggs to the wet ingredients and beat well. Finally add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Scoop batter into a regular-sized muffin tin, filling the cups about 1/3 full. Top with fun-sized candy bars. Scoop remaining batter on top of the candy bars, filling the cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden.

Makes 12 cookie cups. Store at room temperature.

To make as minis: Scoop batter into a mini muffin tin, filling the cups about 2/3 full. Top with a fun-sized candy bar. Bake at 325 for 6-8 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden.

Buttercream Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla extract

Place the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

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Cheeseburger Macaroni

I grabbed this recipe off of another blog I follow, and I was hoping it would be thicker. I think adding some cream cheese at the end would do it.

1 lb lean hamburger meat
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (or petite diced tomatoes)
2 cups beef broth (or water)
1 cup elbow macaroni

Brown and drain hamburger meat. Stir in taco seasoning, Rotel, beef broth, and macaroni. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 12-14 mins until macaroni is tender.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce….
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 5 minutes until fragrant and light brown in color. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently to combine.
Serves 4.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beef Carnitas Tacos

Who needs a restaurant!? I make these all the time and they are easy, quick, and so good!

I like to get handmade tortillas from a little shop in Pittsburgh, Reyna Foods. However, if you can't get your hands on fresh corn tortillas, store bought will do just fine.

2 pounds lean stew beef
1 14oz can beef broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 orange wedge

Place all of the ingredients into a large pot with tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a low simmer and cook until meat is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork - about 1.5 hours.

Alternate method #1 (how I do it):
Place all ingredients into a pressure cooker and allow to cook about 45 minutes. Turn off heat and let cooker sit until it has depressurized - about 15 minutes. Shred meat with fork.

Alternate method #2:
Place all ingredients into a crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve with shredded cheese, guacamole, pico di gallo, etc.