Thursday, September 30, 2010

PieDay Friday-Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Some things are so good on their own, that they are just begging to made into a pie.  Take for instance the humble chocolate chip cookie.  Beloved by adults and children alike. It's the standard against which all other cookies are measured. Even if it's not your very favorite cookie, you probably like it pretty darn well.  When I think of food items like this, I get the urge to make them into a pie.  Somehow, I made a blueberry muffin pie and root beer float pie before a chocolate chip cookie pie. I'm not sure how that happened but I am glad that I did finally get around to it.

This pie sets up almost like a reverse pecan pie. The chocolate chips sink to the bottom giving this pie a rich, gooey chocolate base. The top part resembles a pecan pie filling both in looks and to some degree flavor.  Bits of toffee arrange themselves throughout the entire filling and provide a satisfying crunch in every bite.  This is one decadent pie that will find it's way to your table again and again!

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Stop by 504 and Main and tell Holly I said "Hi"! She has featured my Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie from last week along with some great crafts and table settings from other blogs. Be sure to link up with her Tickled Pink Blog Hop as well!

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Tips:
  • I used mini chocolate chips because that's what I had on hand. You can use mini, regular and large chocolate chips and achieve the same result.
  • Toffee pieces can be found near chocolate chips at most grocery stores. The only brand I know off-hand is Heath but I'm sure different stores offer others. You can also break up several Heath or Skor bars to equal one cup
  • If you prefer, walnuts may be substituted for the toffee.
  • Take care not to peak at pie while it's cooking. Every time you open the oven door heat escapes and the oven temperature drops. This means more uneven cooking and a longer baking time, which can lead to overcooked sides and a runny center. This goes for anything baked in an oven, but this pie is particularly sensitive to it.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup toffee pieces
1 9 inch deep dish pie crust, unbaked

In a large bowl, combine lightly beaten eggs, flour, both sugars, salt, vanilla and softened butter.  Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and toffee pieces. Add to unbaked pie crust. Bake at 325 for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until golden and center is set.  Allow pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.





Ham and Dumplings

I often wonder what classic dishes would taste like with different proteins than traditionally used. My curiousity has lead to some interesting combinations over the years. This is one particular interesting and tasty combination.  These ham and dumplings have a familiar comfort food quality about them while also being novel.  Serve this dish with a side of fried apples and your taste buds will thanks you!

Tips:
  • I don't like vegetables with chicken and dumplings or in this case, ham and dumplings. If you do, onions can easily be substituted for the onion powder. Just saute them with the ham.
  • Don't drain the pan drippings after you have sauted the ham. The drippings help to create a rich ham flavor to the liquid stock.
  • For the ham, I used a store purchased ham steak and diced it up. You can also use leftovers from a baked ham for a uniquely different dinner.
  • If you have a bone-in ham, boil the bone and some of the ham in 5-6 cups water to create a true ham stock and use in place of the vegetable and chicken stocks. For a more layered flavor use 4 cups of ham stock and 1 10oz can of vegetable stock.

Ham and Dumplings

1 1/2 lbs ham, thickly diced
1 carton of vegetable stock or broth, 32oz
1 can chicken stock or broth, 10 oz
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dumplings, recipe below



Saute the ham in a large stock pot until cooked through . Add vegetable and chicken stock and seasonings. Bring the liquid to a low boil and add the dumplings (recipe below). Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the dumplings have thickened the stock, stirring occasionally.  Serve warm

 
Dumplings

 
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
 
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until smooth and let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. On a floured surface roll out the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch rectangles and drop each one individually into the simmering stock.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banana Caramel Cake

This recipe comes from Smucker's website and the unexpected pairing of caramel and banana is delightful!


Banana Caramel Cake

No-Stick Cooking Spray

1 (16 oz.) box Yellow Cake Mix
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
2 ripe bananas, sliced
Smucker's Caramel Sundae Syrup, Ice Cream Topping



Heat oven to 350. Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.


Beat cake mix, cinnamon, eggs, water and oil in medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in mashed bananas. Stir in nuts. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake 34 to 36 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 45 minutes. Serve warm. Top each serving with sliced bananas. Drizzle with caramel syrup.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Simple Beef and Potato Stew

As the nights grow cooler, I find myself craving soups and stews more and more. Served with warm bread this stew makes a satisfying and comforting meal. It requires very little work and hands on time, so it's perfect to throw together on a busy night. 


Tips:
  • The addition of vinegar in this stew isn't to add flavor so much as to tenderize the beef. When cooking with tougher cuts, like stew meat, a small amount of vinegar helps in tenderizing.
  • In this recipe 1/8 teaspoon of the spices, is basically a pinch.  I add just a pinch of each of the spices in my hand and throw them in together. If you have a favorite spice blend, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of that instead.
  • Carrots, garlic, bell peppers or celery would all make excellent additions to this stew. Add the vegetables your family enjoys. For every additional 2 cups of veggies, add 1 can or about 1 1/3 cups of broth or tomato soup (water can be added but you may need to adjust the spices a little).
  • Like with most soups and stews,the longer you let the flavors meld, the better it tastes.  That's why dishes that are heavy with sauces or liquids, often taste better the next day. Don't be afraid to let it simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally.

Simple Beef and Potato Stew

1 1/2 lbs lean stew beef
1/2 white onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2-14 oz cans  beef broth
1-10oz can tomato soup
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and add stew meat and onions. Saute until the beef has browned and onions are tender. Drain if necessary.  Add vinegar and toss with meat. Pour in beef broth and tomato soup, stirring to combine. Add cubed potatoes and spices. Bring to a gentle boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked and flavors have blended.

Friday, September 24, 2010

PieDay Friday-Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

There is no dessert that can ever stand up to a pumpkin pie for me. From Libby's classic pumpkin pie to a fluffy pumpkin chiffon to a pumpkin cream pie, they are all winners in my book. This is one stands out above the rest though. When combined together apple butter and pumpkin make a splendid pairing. The apple butter somehow actually makes the pumpkin even more pumpkiny in flavor. The brown sugar and maple syrup are the perfect sweeteners and provide an almost caramel note.  If no one knew that this pie had apple butter and maple syrup in it they would just think that was an amazingly flavorful and delicious pumpkin pie.



Tips:
  • With a standard 9" pie crust you might have just a little bit of filling left over.
  • You will notice that the color is more brown than the orange of a classic pumpkin pie due to the additon of apple butter. Take note of this when checking to see if the pie is fully baked, it will look like an overcooked traditional pumpkin pie but it may not be done yet.



Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

1 can pumpkin puree, 15oz
1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9" pie crust

Combine all ingredients except pie crust and beat until well incorporated and smooth. Carefully, pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 425 degress for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for an additional 20-30 minutes or until center has set and filling begins to pull away from sides of crust.
Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before transferring to refrigerator. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.




!!Friday Blog Hops!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

The addition of chive flavored cream cheese makes these sandwiches gooey, creamy and full of flavor!


Grown-Up Grilled Cheese


4 slices sourdough bread
4 tablespoons whipped cream cheese with chives
2 slices meunster cheese
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

Spread each piece of bread with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese. Place a piece of meunster on 2 pieces of bread and top each with the remaining bread. Brush/spread olive oil or butter on bread. Place on a preheated pan or griddle over medium heat and cook each side until lightly browned and cheese has melted.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cheesy Italian Crescent Rolls

After a week long absence...I'm back! I didn't go anywhere or do anything, I just needed a little blogging break. I rebooted my own hard-drive and am ready to start posting some fantastic, new Fall recipes.

I thought I'd ease back into things with these super simple crescent rolls.  I use mozzarella string cheese to fill these gooey little rolls and give them a nice "pull".  Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning (the kind in a spice jar), these babies make an excellent alternative to garlic bread or even a yummy appetizer when served with a marinara dipping sauce.  Enjoy!

Tips:
  • Try the garlic flavored crescent rolls for even more flavor!
  • Don't use shredded mozzarella for these, it won't achieve the same effect as string cheese or chunks of whole, fresh mozzarella  will.


Cheesy Italian Crescent Rolls

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
3 pieces mozzarella string cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

Unroll crescent roll dough and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cut each piece of string cheese into thirds and place each third on each piece of unrolled crescent roll dough (you will have 1/3 left over).  Starting at the widest part of the dough, tightly roll each piece with the cheese tucked inside. Arrange seam sides down. Brush each crescent roll with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve warm.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

PieDay Friday-Applesauce Pie

I originally posted this recipe on Between the Lines in July, when I was featured as a blog of the week, but I never showcased it on my own blog. As Autumn draws nearer I thought that now would be the perfect time to share it here on Pumpkin Tart.
My Applesauce Pie has a consistency similar to a pumpkin pie but tastes fresh and light. It's incredible alone and even better with a scoop of ice cream on the side!

504 and Main is featuring my Buttemilk Pie from last week on her Tickled Pink post today, be sure to stop by and show her some love!

Applesauce Pie

1 3/4 cups all natural applesauce (no sugar added)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat just until combined (don't over-beat). Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn down temperature to 350 and continue baking another 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to refrigerator. Let chill for 3 hours before serving.




!!Friday Blog Hops!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gooseberry Patch Downloadable Cookbook 2

Gooseberry Patch  just released their second in a series of free downloadable cookbooks. It contains 25 different chocolate chip cookie recipes!  What's better than that?
Check it out as a slideshow, print or download it!



25 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes by Gooseberry Patch

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Potato and Tomato Salad

This recipe comes from the Hunt's website and sounded so delicious, I just had to share it! It's utterly different than any potato salad I've ever heard of and would make a delicious addition to any dinner or buffet table.


Hearty Potato and Tomato Salad

1-1/4 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 jar (6.5 oz each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained (optional)
1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
5 green onions, cut into thin slices (5 onions = about 1/2 cup)
1 ounce Italian dried salami, cut into thin strips (1 oz = about 8 slices)
1/4 cup Italian dressing

Place potatoes in large saucepan. Add enough water to completely cover potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat; cook 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Place in large bowl.

Add artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes with their liquid, the celery, onions and salami; mix lightly. Add dressing; toss lightly. Cover.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

PieDay Friday-Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk pie is an old Southern style dish closely resembling a classic Chess or Sugar Cream Pie. There are typically two styles of a buttermilk pie, one that utilizes a Bisquick style mix and is more like a custardy bread pudding. The other and more traditional style, like my recipe below, is a custardy filling baked in a crust. 
There is something so divine about a simple buttermilk pie. They're not blow your socks off amazing, but rather delicious in a comforting, unadulterated, smile at yourself kind of way.  Don't let the fact that it's made with buttermilk dissuade you from trying it out. The buttermilk gives it only a slight tanginess in the same way cream cheese gives many recipes a tanginess (though this tastes nothing like cream cheese). Give it a shot, you'll be glad you did!

Tips:
  • Some people add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice to their buttermilk pies. I personally don't think this recipe needs it but go for it if you like.
  • The crust should be par-baked so it doesn't shrink too much and become soggy on bottom. Click on link in the ingredient list for instructions on par-baking.


Buttermilk Pie

5 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and both the white and brown sugars. Beat until creamy and smooth. Mix in flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, followed by both eggs, vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Slowly pour buttermilk into mixture while beating.  Pour batter into par-baked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes, turning pie around halfway through.
Serve warm or chilled.




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