Monday, November 24, 2014

White Chocolate and Craisin Sweet Potato Squares

 Looking for a quick and easy dessert? How about a rich and chewy square that isn't too sweet and has just a touch of spice? If this sounds like a good idea, then this is the perfect dessert for you. To be honest, I was originally looking for something along the lines of a brownie, well, more of a blondie, but I think this has more of a sweet potato pie vibe. And that's exactly what makes it perfect for your next holiday get together! Give them a try and your guests will love them. I'm sure you will too!

3/4 c mashed sweet potato
1/2 c vegetable oil
2/3 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c milk
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c craisins

Heat oven to 350F.
 In a large bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potato, oil, both sugars, the milk and the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour along with the baking powder and the pumpkin pie spice. Mix the batter just until the dry ingredients are moist, then fold in the chips and craisins. Pour the batter into a well-greased or buttered 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely or chill before removing from pan and cutting into squares.

To make this is a 9x13 pan, just double it and bake it for a little longer. It's not exactly the same, but the math is close enough that it will work.
To insure that the squares won't stick to the pan, spray your pan with cooking spray, line it with parchment paper, then spray it again. Then after it's baked and chilled, lift the entire batch out of the pan at once, and use a big knife to make perfectly clean cuts. SO much easier and it saves your pan from being scratched!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Joey's Guide To Thanksgiving

 Many people ask me for ideas and hints and tips and suggestions when it comes to planning and cooking for Thanksgiving. Just as I do every year, I've added some new recipes to my Thanksgiving page. I must say, this is becoming quite a list! In addition to all the fabulous recipes, there are helpful tips about menu planning and methods of cooking your turkey, as well as what to do if something goes wrong. It's probably not a bad idea to bookmark the page! This way you'll have it handy and ready to refer to whenever you need it as you plan your holiday menu. Yes, I know I have a several recipes for the same items (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, etc). But don't you think it's nice to have a few different options? I also have a few recipes that are not necessarily seasonal, but would be great for your Thanksgiving feast. (summer squash anyone?) Feel free to browse through them! Hopefully they'll help you plan your Thanksgiving menu and maybe they'll inspire you to try something that you've never attempted. Of course, I'm always here for culinary tech support. Just email me! Oh, and don't forget to let me know how it goes! Have Fun!

Thanksgiving Week Planning

Thanksgiving Rescue 911

Lets talk Turkey!

Turkey London Broil

Jeanie's Turkey and Stuffing Casserole

Joey's Ginger Ale Glazed Ham

Savory Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin and Corn Chowder

Mom's Cranberries

Cranberry Grape Compote

Spirited Orange Cranberry Sauce

Chrissy's Baked Ginger Cranberries

Bourbon Cranberry Compote

Sausage and Potato Stuffing

Mare's Stuffing

Joey's Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing 

Apple, Sausage, and Parsnip Stuffing with Fresh Sage

Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing

Italian Sundried Tomato Bread Stuffing

Round Two Mac and Cheese

Joey's Butternut Apple Gratin 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Feta, and Honey

Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter

Summer Squash Cheesy Bake 

Bacon Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato, Apple, and Leek Casserole 

Slow Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Joey's Candied Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Gratin

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Brulee

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Baked Mashed Potatoes 

Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Potato and Fennel Gratin

Spinach Gratin

Joey's Favorite Cole Slaw

Butternut Squash Slaw 

Cheesy Corn Casserole

The Best Creamed Corn Ever

Dottie's Corn Casserole

Grandma's Corn Pudding 

Parmesan Corn Pudding

Creamy Fried Confetti Corn 

Savory Corn Cobbler 

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn

Slow Cooker Ranch Carrots 

That Carrots and Parsnips Thing That Denny Makes For Thanksgiving

Mashed Parsnips 

Cider-Glazed Turnips and Apples with Sage and Bacon

Joey's Cauliflower and Carrot Gratin

Joey's Carrot Souffle

Bacon 'n' Onion Carrots 

Sue's Cider Carrots

Honey Glazed Baby Carrots

Balsamic Root Vegetables

Joey's Asparagus and Mushroom Casserole

Roasted Asparagus

Kale with Bacon

Jeanie's Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Joey's Bangin' Brussels with Sundried Tomatoes

Roasted Cauliflower

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole 

Creamed Onions

Green Bean Bake

The Best Green Beans Ever

Green Beans with Garlic Butter and Cashews

Irish Soda Bread

Homemade Biscuits

Paula's Sweet Potato Biscuits

White Chocolate and Craisin Sweet Potato Squares

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cobbler

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Streusel Bars

Caramel Pumpkin Poke Cake

Pumpkin Cupcakes 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Cake 

Pumpkin Dream Cake

Joey's Easy Pumpkin Tart  

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake 

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Soft-Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Gingersnap Pumpkin Squares

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies


Pumpkin Crumb Bars

Heavenly Pumpkin Squares

Praline Pumpkin Dessert 

Frozen Pumpkin Creams

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Crunch Torte

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Cream Cheese Glaze

2-Ingedient Pumpkin Cake  

Cinnamon Pie

Cranberry Tart 

Brown Butter Apple Blondies

Cheesy Dapper Apple Squares

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars 

Dutch Apple Pumpkin Crisp

Joey's Favorite Apple Pie

Joey's Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Apple Tart Tatin

Trisha's Apple Dumplings

Caramel Apple Trifle 

Pineapple Carrot Cake Trifle

"Top Secret" Dessert Topping

Apple Cake

Sweet Potato Pie

Cherry Sweet Potato Bread

Cherry Cheese Pie

Cherry Cheese Tarts

Rice Pudding

Stove Top Rice Pudding

Pecan Squares

Pecan Pie

Mom's Mince Pie 

Buttered Rum Raisin Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Monday, November 17, 2014

Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter

 I was looking for Thanksgiving side dish recipes and I found several recipes for acorn squash. I had never cooked an acorn squash, so I went with it. Some were pureed or diced, some were glazed or stuffed. Then I found Paula Deen's recipe where they are roasted with maple syrup, butter, and brown sugar. Clearly, this was the recipe to try, don't you think??? I mean, seriously, doesn't that sound AMAZING??? It's super easy to make, can be done in advance, and OMG just wait until you taste it! It sort of has a glazed sweet potato sort of a vibe. And how convenient is it that each person gets his own little portion? I love that.
 If you're looking for something that looks elegant and impressive, but is absurdly easy to make, then this is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish for you. It's also really economical because one little acorn squash is good for four servings. Perfect! So good. You should definitely try it.

1 acorn squash, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.
 Scoop the seeds and stringy pulp out of the squash cavities and discard. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, syrup and salt and pepper, to taste. Brush the squash cavities and the cut sides of the squash with the butter mixture and place them on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. Brush with a little more of the brown sugar maple glaze. Serve one quarter per person.

Don't forget the salt and pepper! It gives it sort of a salted caramel kind of vibe. Just one taste of the glaze, and you'll want to put it on everything! Not even kidding!
When I baked the squash, I was worried that the brown sugar would drip down onto the tray and burn. So I poured a little water onto the tray to keep that from happening. Worked very well, I must say!
The original recipe said to serve one HALF per person instead of one quarter, I think an entire half of a squash is far too large to put on your dinner plate. So I decided to cut them into quarters instead.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pecan Squares

 If you like a gooey sweet classic Pecan Pie, you'll love these little squares of awesomeness. They have a very similar buttery rich flavor as the pie, but sometimes it's more convenient to have something that doesn't need plates and forks in order to serve it. As my sister Cathy would say "We need some sort of picky-uppy dessert", and that's exactly what this is. And if you're making them for a holiday meal, you might already have several other kinds of pie, and this will add a little variety to your dessert table.
 I made them so long ago, I can't even remember where I got the recipe. I know I tried several different versions, probably stemming from Ina's. (Her recipe makes a TON, so I remember wanting to scale it down a bit). This is such a simple basic recipe, anyone can do it! While the crust is baking, you just stir the filling ingredients together and you're good to go. Easy!
 So, even if you're not making them for a holiday meal, keep these squares in mind the next time you need a picky-uppy dessert. Your family will love you for it!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup 10x sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter

 3 eggs
1 cup Karo dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tbs melted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups pecans
pinch salt

Place all crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it comes together into a dough. Press into 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper. Prick all over with a fork (to keep the crust from puffing up) and chill for 15 minutes. Place in a 350ºF oven for 15 minutes. While it's baking, make the filling.
Stir together all filling ingredients. Pour over hot crust. Bake for another 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely or chill before cutting into squares.

 For an extra decorative touch, after cutting them into squares, dip just one edge of each square into melted chocolate chips. You could also drizzle each one with a little melted white and/or milk chocolate chips. Just place them on a tray until the chocolate is set before serving.
 Be sure to leave a little excess parchment paper hanging over the sides of the pan. Then when it's finished baking and cooling, you can use the paper as a sling to lift the entire batch out of the pan in one piece. Now you can use a big knife to make perfect cuts without ruining your pan!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bourbon Cranberry Compote

  Ok here's one for the cooking novice. This recipe requires absolutely no cooking skills at all. If you can boil water, you can make this recipe! You just throw everything into a pot and let it simmer. Couldn't be any easier! Now I have to tell you, when I first saw the recipe (on a website called I was a little unsure of how it would taste. Bourbon? With cranberries? But then I figured, Why not? So I gave it a try. It's absolutely delish! And actually, it's not as bourbon-y as I was expecting. To be quite honest, I'm not even sure if you would know that there's any bourbon in it unless you knew that there's any bourbon in it. Know what I mean? It's really subtle. The bourbon adds just a very slight note under the tartness of the cranberries. It's really quite nice, but I don't want you to go into it thinking it tastes like you just did a shot. Savvy?
 Whenever I try a new recipe, I always ask myself "would you make this again?" to help me decide if I like it or not. And this time the answer is an absolute YES. It's absurdly simple to make, it's delicious, it's quick, and it's SO much better than anything you can get out of a can.
I highly recommend it! 

1 12-ounce bag cranberries, fresh or frozen (3 1⁄2 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup bourbon

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over low/medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool before serving.

If your cranberries are frozen, there's no need to thaw. Just go right from the freezer to the pot!
The recipe is listed as I found it, but I think I'll add a little more sugar and a little more bourbon the next time I make it. Maybe I'll up the sugar to 1 Cup, and up the bourbon to 1/3 Cup.
This will definitely thicken as it cools. There is so much natural pectin in the cranberries that you don't need to add anything else. If you'd like it to be a little more soupy, just cook it for about 15 minutes instead of 20-25.
Don't just make this recipe on Thanksgiving. Make it any time you serve roasted chicken or pork!
 Buy several bags of cranberries while they're available and then keep them in the freezer for months!
If you're not a drinker and you don't want to buy a big bottle of bourbon, just buy one of the little small bottles, (you know, like they serve on an airplane?). Each one is exactly 1/4 cup!
It makes a very small batch, which is perfect for a small party. If you're cooking for a big gang, just double it or triple it!