Pumpkin Crunch!

Pumpkin Crunch!

 

Pumpkin Crunch

 

This dessert is a family tradition for us! Not only is this my Mother-In-Law’s recipe, but this is also my husband’s favorite Fall dessert! It would not be Fall without making Pumpkin Crunch! I love the buttery and nutty cake topping over a pillow of sweet pumpkin goodness! This dessert is delicious served hot, or served the next day cold out of the refrigerator! Serve with powdered sugar on top and some whipped cream!

 

Ingredients

1 15oz can of Pumpkin puree

1 12oz can of evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 cup of sugar

4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1 package of Butter Cake Mix

1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans or walnuts

3/4 cup salted melted butter

shortening to grease pan

Powdered sugar and whipped cream (if desired)

 

Instructions

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of rectangular metal pan, 13x9x2, with shortening. Beat pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice in medium bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture, and lightly pat down all over. Sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Pour melted butter evenly over top of dessert.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If nuts brown before cake is finished baking, cover with aluminum foil. Cool cake slightly.

Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

I love cooking squash recipes in the Fall! They have an earthy smell and take in the taste of whatever spices or herbs you cook them with! In my experience, the key to a tasty squash recipe is adding enough herbs and spices to give it that extra boost of flavor. You can make it taste however you want: sweet, spicy, nutty, creamy, etc. What floats your boat. Or, sprinkles your donut. You get my drift.

 

This Butternut Squash Soup has a mildly sweet, buttery, and nutty flavor with a fresh taste of rosemary. Yum! I love to top mine with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions.

 

 

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion

3 gloves of garlic, crushed and minced

2 medium Butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes 

1 inch gingerroot, peeled and sliced finely

3 sprigs of rosemary

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

¼ cup of cream or half and half

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 Tablespoon of sugar (or sugar substitute)

 

Instructions

Heat a large stockpot on medium high heat and when warm, add the butter and oil. Once the butter has melted, add the onions, and allow to cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add in the fresh garlic, and cook until fragrant. 

 

Place the butternut squash, ginger, salt, and pepper into the pot, and allow to cook for 5 minutes, while stirring constantly. Pour the 6 cups of chicken broth and fresh rosemary into the pot, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down slightly, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until squash is soft.

 

Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender, and add the sugar, nutmeg, and cream to the mixture. Puree until smooth. 

 

Add the mixture back to the pot and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the soup to see if more salt or pepper is needed. 

 

*Toppings to add just before serving: 

Goat cheese

Heavy cream

Sour cream

Chopped green onions

Fresh sage

Shredded cheese

Toasted pine nuts

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Peach Upside Down Cake

Peach Upside Down Cake

 

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 5 tablespoons melted and cooled

1 cup sugar

Salt

1 lb peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into 3/4-inch wedges, or 12 oz frozen sliced peaches, thawed and drained

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup whole milk

1 large egg plus 1 large yolk

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Instructions

Set oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse almonds in the food processor until finely ground.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup sugar and pinch of salt. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is melted, smooth, and deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Off heat, carefully arrange peaches cut side down in tight circle around edge of skillet, overlapping as needed. Arrange remaining peaches in center of skillet.

 

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and ground almonds together in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk milk, egg and yolk, lemon zest, vanilla, remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar together until smooth. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just combined.

Pour batter over peaches and spread into even layer. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

 

Using potholders, transfer skillet to wire rack and let cake cool for 10 minutes. Being careful of hot skillet handle, run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen. Place wire rack over skillet, and holding each tightly, invert cake onto rack and let sit until cake releases itself from skillet, about 1 minute. Place rack over baking sheet to catch drips Remove skillet; gently scrape off any peaches stuck in skillet and arrange on top of cake. Let cake cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve.

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Pumpkin Coconut Pudding

Pumpkin Coconut Pudding

I love a good pudding recipe. Especially when there is a fun ingredient in the mix - like coconut milk! Coconut milk is like Sweetened Condensed milk… When you see that it’s listed in the recipe, you just know it’s going to be good!

The coconut milk gives this pudding dessert such a fresh, silky, creamy flavor, and it pairs so nicely with the pumpkin! It gives it a little more richness, and it helps create a velvety, smooth texture. The first time I made this, I was tempted to add some of the Fall spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or allspice. I’m so glad I tried it without those, first! It has such a refreshing and pure taste with the pumpkin and the coconut flavors, and I would be afraid they wouldn’t shine through as much with all of the Fall spices added! Just my two cents, but in this recipe, simple is better!

 

Ingredients

2 cups coconut milk

2 cups pumpkin puree, canned

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt

 

Instructions

Combine 2 cups each coconut milk and pumpkin, ¾ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 3 egg yolks and ¼ teaspoon almond extract and salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil and cook, whisking, until thick, 10 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, making sure to put Serrano wrap directly on top of pudding (helps pudding from forming a top layer).  Allow to chill in refrigerator for at least several hours. It tastes even better the next day!

 

Recipe Courtesy- Food Network

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Southern Style Cornbread

Southern Style Cornbread

 

 

 

Southern cornbread is savory, slightly sweet, and has more structure to it than it’s Northern counterpart. Cooking cornbread in a cast-iron skillet ensures that the crust will be buttery, crunchy, and golden brown. The butter really bursts through in this savory dish, and the oil allows the cornbread to stay slightly moist and savory. This would be perfect alongside a bowl of chili, a plate of bbq, or smeared with butter and honey all by itself. 

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) stone- ground yellow cornmeal, fine or medium ground

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

Instructions

Place oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Over medium heat, toast the cornmeal in a 10-inch cast iron skillet for about 3 minutes while stirring frequently. Pour cornmeal into a large bowl and pour in sour cream and milk. Whisk mixture until combined.

Take a paper towel and wipe the skillet clean. Add the oil to the skillet and heat in oven until it is shimmering, about 10 minutes. Using a potholder, remove skillet from oven, add butter, and gently swirl to combine. Still using the potholder, pour all but 1 tablespoon of oil-butter mixture into the cornmeal mixture. Gently whisk to combine. Pour the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into cornmeal mixture and gently whisk to incorporate. Then, whisk in the eggs.

Scrape batter into skillet with the remaining fat and smooth the top of the mixture. Bake cornbread mixture in the oven until the top begins to crack and the sides are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, and rotate skillet halfway through the baking time. Place the skillet on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes.

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Lamb Meatballs

Lamb Meatballs

Greek food has a special place in my heart. I love that the meat includes a lot of different spices and seasonings, and every dish always has a fresh, bold taste. It's always such a nice change of pace from the usual food I eat. I swear its the cinnamon in the meat that gets me every time! Absolutely life changing. For meat. And me. Meat and me. Meat and me.

It sounds like a song.

For my husband. Because he likes, Meat and me. Meat and me.

Ok, I’m done.

So, these lamb meatballs are served with a creamy, tzaziki sauce. The mint and lemon give it such a fresh taste, and it pairs perfectly with the lamb meatballs.

I tell ya - I could easily go Greek, once a week!

 

Ingredients

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 Tbsp minced fresh mint

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest plus 1/2 tsp juice

Salt and pepper

6 square saltines, crushed (3 Tbsp)

2 Tbsp water

1 lb ground lamb

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

 

Instructions

Combine 2/3 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon mint, 1 tablespoon oil, half of garlic lemon zest and juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pinch of pepper in a bowl. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Mash up the remaining 1/3 cup yogurt, crushed saltines, and water together with a fork in a large bowl until a paste forms. Add ground lamb, egg yolk, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 2 tablespoons of mint, and remaining garlic. Use your hands to blend the mixture until combined. Pinch off and roll enough of mix to make a 1-inch meatball in your hands. The recipe should make about 35 meatballs.

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until smoking. Brown meatballs on all sides for a total of about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve with the yogurt sauce. Enjoy!

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Adult Popsicles

Adult Popsicles

Make a popsicle that not only cools you off, but compliments your lifestyle. Are you looking for something more healthy and low calorie that will give you the energy you need? Are you looking for that perfect cold snack after a hot, sweaty workout? Or, do you need something a little more fun that has some tequila in it, and is sure to be a hit at your next Summer pool party? Here are a few ideas that will help cool you down, and leave you feeling cool and refreshed!

Muscle Building Popsicles: Who knew that you could create a popsicle that not only tastes like dessert, but also serves the purpose of fueling your muscles? All you need is a little protein powder and your favorite type of milk! Get creative with trying different types of milk, like almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, or regular milk.
Recipe: Men’s Fitness


Breakfast Parfait Pops: Start your mornings off right by using greek yogurt, berries, and Nature Valley Breakfast Biscuits to help give you the energy you’ll need to get through the day.
Recipe: Mom On Timeout

Fruit Popsicles: Try going all natural using some puréed fruits with chunks of fruit in your popsicle mold. This is the perfect treat to have near the pool and is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and hydrated. Try pairing puréed strawberries with chunks of kiwi, puréed peach with cinnamon and chunks of banana, or puréed pineapple with whole blueberries. Add a little vodka for a fun twist!
Recipe: Recapture Fitness

Yogurt Pops: Craving something that is creamier than a popsicle, but lighter than ice cream? Try making yogurt pops using your favorite yogurt in its original container, popsicle sticks, or aluminum foil. It’s easy and a perfect way to curb your sugar craving!
Recipe: Strong Girls Eat

Margarita Popsicles: Looking for the kind of popsicle that will help get the party started? Look no further than adding some tequila to your all natural margarita mix. A little lime juice, orange juice or orange liquor, condensed milk, and a good grade of tequila will set you on your way to having a good time! Don’t forget to add a wedge of lime for extra flare!
Recipe: Host The Toast

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Lemony Sweets that will Knock Your Socks Off

Lemony Sweets that will Knock Your Socks Off

There is something special about eating lemon flavored desserts in the Summer time- especially when Meyer lemons are in season. Desserts with lemon scream sunshine, warmth, palm trees, beach, pool, and vacation! They take us away from reality to a better place- paradise. Here are a few recipes to help carry you there.

Lemon Meringue Pie - with a graham cracker crust and layers of each, lemon curd and toasted meringue, this pie makes you feel like you are vacationing on the beach.
Recipe: Whats Cooking America

Lemony Lemon Brownies - these little lemon treats have the perfect amount of sweetness and tartness due to their lemon zest and lemon juice. They are packed full of flavor, and they’ll leave you wanting to go back for another bite!
Recipe: Key Ingredient

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake - with a creamy, smooth layer on the bottom, and a fluffy cake-like texture on the top, this dessert is light and refreshing. Don’t forget to dust the top with powdered sugar for an extra layer of sweetness!
Recipe: Two Peas and Their Pod

Lemon Crinkle Cookie - these cookies have that fresh zing of lemony flavor and are light and chewy. They have the perfect amount of sweetness, and they’ll leave you wanting to grab more.
Recipe: Laurens Latest

Lemon Sour Cream Tarts - These mini tarts are the perfect dessert to satisfy your sugar craving. They aren’t too big, they are bursting with lemony-citrus flavor, they are crumbly, creamy, and divine!
Recipe: Laurens Latest
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5 Awesome Burger Add Ons

5 Awesome Burger Add Ons

Nothing shouts Summer like throwing some burgers on the grill! But there has been a movement lately away from the traditional lettuce, onion, pickle, ketchup and mustard song. We are raising the bar, creating burgers with major flavor bombs like caramelized onions, truffle salt, pimento cheese, and secret sauce to name a few. Here at InnerChef, we are all about creating big flavors! Try these hot new add-ons with your next backyard burger bash:

Caramelized Onions

Try making Caramelized Onions by cooking your onions slowly in olive oil, butter, and sherry wine vinegar until a slight caramel color Appears. With these ingredients, how can you go wrong? Try Ina Garten’s Caramelized Onions with Sherry Vinegar.

Fry Your Veggies 

A fried veggie far surpasses the texture and flavor of it’s raw counterpart. Give your burger an extra layer of crunch by lightly breading and frying pickles, green tomatoes, avocado, onions, or jalapeños.

Sauce it up!

There are so many better options, when it comes to saucing your burger, than ketchup and mustard. Try making a garlic aioli, secret sauce, pimento cheese spread, bacon jam, or your favorite berry preserves. Here are some great sauces to try:

Secret Sauce: Six Sisters Stuff

Garlic Aioli: Food Network’s Guy Fieri Garlic Aioli

Pimento Cheese Spread: Serious Eats

Bacon Jam: Serious Eats  

Man up your buns!

Try making homemade hamburger buns that will guarantee a light and fluffy bite against your meat patty. Raise the bar using pretzel buns, sweet potato buns, Hawaiian rolls, or sesame onion rolls. Here are a few to get started with:

Homemade hamburger buns using the bread machine: food.com

Homemade hamburger buns without bread machine: ifoodblogger

Say CHEESE!!!

The options are endless when you are designing your burger, but cheese is the liquid gold that makes the burger irresistible. Whether you are going to a melty cheese, sharp cheese, creamy cheese, spicy cheese, the options are endless. Try these cheeses on your next burger:

Melty: American or cheddar. Use 2 thin slices.

Sharp: Aged Cheddar

Tangy and Bold: Gorgonzola, Blue Cheese, or Goat Cheese

Creamy and rich: Gruyère, Comté, Brie, or Taleggio

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5 Ways to Ramp Up Your Grilled Cheese

5 Ways to Ramp Up Your Grilled Cheese

1. Use mayo instead of butter on bread 

Mayo adds a rich, creamy, and slightly tangy flavor to your sandwich. It also coats the bread evenly as it cooks, and prevents the sandwich from burning due to it’s high smoking point.

2. Dip it!

Use a dip or spread as a staple item to give it a flavor punch. Try using spinach and artichoke dip with gouda, pimento cheese spread with Fontina, or guacamole with cheddar.

3. Dessert Grilled Cheese 

Combine your favorite dessert cheese with a savory or sweet topping. Try brie with peaches and basil, mascarpone with strawberries and Nutella, or goat cheese with apricot preserves and prosciutto. 

4. Pair non melting dried or aged cheeses with cheeses that easily melt

Try Parmesan with Fontina, Feta with Gruyere, or Asiago with Monterey Jack.

5. Go beyond white bread 

Sometimes the character of your bread can set the entire mood for the sandwich! Go overboard using pretzel bread with gouda, bacon, and pimento cheese. Try roasted walnut and cranberry bread with brie and turkey. Hawaiian bread with raspberry preserves, ham, turkey, and white cheddar would make the perfect grilled Monte Cristo. Don’t forget to dust it off with a touch of powdered sugar!

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Have Some More S’mores!

Have Some More S’mores!

Whether it’s in our backyard fire pit, out camping, or over the stove, there is something comforting about making s’mores. But you don’t have to stick to the traditional roast over the flame and assemble version alone. There is more than one way to stack your s’mores and create that summer campout feeling!

S’mores Pudding Pie- this graham cracker crust is filled with a luscious chocolate pudding and topped with roasted marshmallows.

Recipe: Cooking Channel

 

Peanut Butter S’mores Bars- this bar is decadent with gooey marshmallow and peanut butter cups sandwiched between two peanut butter cookies. This is one way to raise the bar on your next s’mores recipe!

Recipe: Pinch of Yum

 

S’mores Popcorn- looking for a popcorn s’mores style snack? This recipe is creative with fresh popcorn, Golden Grahams cereal, chocolate, butter, and sugar. It is sweet. It is dangerous. It is addictive!

Recipe: Eat Cake For Dinner

 

S’mores Dip- looking for something that is extra ooey and gooey, with a huge layer of melted chocolate and marshmallow? This recipe features the best part of the s’mores- the gooey center. Try dipping graham crackers, pretzels, cookies, or rice crispy treats, or fruit into it!

Recipe: Cleverly Simple

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5 Ways to Ramp Up Your Grilled Cheese

5 Ways to Ramp Up Your Grilled Cheese

1. Use mayo instead of butter on bread 

Mayo adds a rich, creamy, and slightly tangy flavor to your sandwich. It also coats the bread evenly as it cooks, and prevents the sandwich from burning due to it’s high smoking point.

2. Dip it!

Use a dip or spread as a staple item to give it a flavor punch. Try using spinach and artichoke dip with gouda, pimento cheese spread with Fontina, or guacamole with cheddar.

3. Dessert Grilled Cheese 

Combine your favorite dessert cheese with a savory or sweet topping. Try brie with peaches and basil, mascarpone with strawberries and Nutella, or goat cheese with apricot preserves and prosciutto. 

4. Pair non melting dried or aged cheeses with cheeses that easily melt

Try Parmesan with Fontina, Feta with Gruyere, or Asiago with Monterey Jack.

5. Go beyond white bread 

Sometimes the character of your bread can set the entire mood for the sandwich! Go overboard using pretzel bread with gouda, bacon, and pimento cheese. Try roasted walnut and cranberry bread with brie and turkey. Hawaiian bread with raspberry preserves, ham, turkey, and white cheddar would make the perfect grilled Monte Cristo. Don’t forget to dust it off with a touch of powdered sugar!

Read more
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