Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Hubby loves snickerdoodles. I think snickerdoodles are his favorite cookie. He also loves all things pumpkin, so when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. That was confirmed when I showed it to Nick and he drooled all over my new computer. Then I had to kick him out of my kitchen. Anyway, back to the cookies. I have only tried a handful of other cookie recipes, as they intimidate me a little bit. It seems like a lot of work to make cookies if they aren't going to turn out delicious. These were a little bit of work, nothing overwhelming though, and they turned out to be very yummy. Technical term there: yummy. Meaning I had 4 for a breakfast appetizer this morning. The best part about baking cinnamon-y cookies: the way the house smells! Oh fall, how I love thee!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
*From Just Cook Already

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups pure pumpkin purée
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I added a couple extra shakes too!)

Rolling sugar:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice

In a large bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and pumpkin purée and beat well. Mix in egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Beat flour into liquid mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated. Cover dough with plastic and chill for at least an hour, or until the dough becomes slightly firm. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and mix rolling sugar ingredients in a small bowl.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray (I used my Silpat-I love that thing!). Using a medium cookie scoop, or a large spoon, scoop out the dough and roll it into small balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, making sure they are well coated. Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Use a flat-bottomed glass to dip in sugar and flatten the balls. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until the cookies are slightly firm to the touch. If you would like them to stay a little more crisp, allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for an additional 5 minutes. If you like them soft, like I do, transfer immediately to cooling racks. This step also prevents the bottoms of the cookies from burning. Then eat with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy!

Stuffed Zucchini

I have been wanting to make stuffed zucchini for a long time, and I'm so glad I finally did. This was SO good. Now, maybe you have to be a crazy zucchini lover like I am to enjoy this as much as I did, but maybe not. The mushrooms, garlic, parmesan, and breadcrumb stuffing may just be enough to make anyone a believer. Yum! I think I might go make one of these for lunch today too . . .

Stuffed Zucchini

3 medium-sized zucchini
8 ounce package mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper

Slice the zucchini in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the interior of the zucchini, leaving enough flesh to keep it substantial. It should look like a little boat. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms and the flesh of the zucchini in a skillet over medium heat until most of the moisture has absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Add in minced garlic and cook about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix in breadcrumbs, egg, and parmesan cheese. If it looks too dry, add in another egg or even a couple of splashes of chicken stock. Stuff each zucchini boat with a generous amount of stuffing and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

Layered Pasta Bake

I was craving lasagna a few days ago, but I didn't want to mess with lasagna noodles, so I decided to make lasagna with penne. I'm calling it a layered pasta bake because it wasn't really lasagna, however, it tasted just like it! This one is simple to put together, tasted delicious, and reheated really well. The only thing I would have changed would be to add in some cooked spinach to the ricotta mixture, which I got from my spinach and ricotta stuffed shells recipe.

Layered Pasta Bake

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 jars pasta sauce of your choice (I always blend mine with a pinch of sugar and extra garlic and basil)
1 pound box penne pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cupped shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Mix pasta sauce and chicken together in a saucepan and heat through. In a large mixing bowl, add ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan, egg, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add chicken and sauce mixture to cooked penne. In a greased casserole dish, spread 1/3 of the pasta mixture. Top with about 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with pasta and sauce mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 minutes longer. To crisp the cheese, place under the broiler for 5 minutes, watching carefully. Enjoy!

Bacon and Egg Taquitos

I had an inspiration for these delicious little guys right before we left for Europe, so Nick wrote bacon and egg taquitos on a receipt in the truck. I found that the day we got home, and although jet-lagged, exhausted, and sick from American food, I decided to make them. And boy, were they good. Easy, yummy, and quick (especially if you used pre-cooked bacon), these will also freeze well and then you'll have your very own breakfast on the go without the preservatives and yuck from packaged foods. Score!

Bacon and Egg Taquitos

4 eggs
1 package of bacon
Cheese to taste
Salt and Pepper
Flour tortillas

First, cook your bacon. I do mine in the oven on cooling racks in a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil (easy clean-up). This will produce crispy, non-greasy bacon. Let it cool for a little bit and then crumble, or, if you're lazy like me, put it through a bullet blender. Violá! Bacon bits! Next comes the eggs. Scramble those with salt and pepper. Now we assemble. Sprinkle cheese on one side of a flour tortilla. Add eggs and bacon.

Roll up and place seam-side down on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Be careful not to overstuff your tortillas. Spray the tops with butter-flavored cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges brown. Enjoy!