Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Oat Bites...

As we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving, I'm getting in all the pumpkin consumption I can.

I mean, when do we usually eat foods that incorporate pumpkin? Around the Thanksgiving season, of course!

That is why I'm a baking fool of all things pumpkin right now. Not to mention it is one of my favorite ingredients of all time. Yes... of all time.

These are a bit similar to my Pumpkin Cookie recipe, just a bit dressed up. They qualify as dressed up because I topped them with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache = Dressed Up

Well, it's not a traditional ganache, since there isn't any heavy cream, and I didn't use a double boiler to heat the chocolate. I totally mickey moused it, since I only added shortening to the chocolate and used a microwave to heat it. Even though I took a shortcut on the ganache, it still tastes great.

Plus, they have oats all up in there. So, they pretty much qualify as healthy, too.

Oats = Healthy

That is a total and unequivocal fact.

So, are you getting your pumpkin fix this season?

Pumpkin Oat Bites

For the Cookies:

  • 2 Cups Cake Four
  • 2-1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 Whole Egg, Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/4 Cups Quick Oats
For the Ganache and Garnish

  • 1 Cup Milk Chocolate Morsels 
  • 1 Tablespoon of Shortening
  • 1/3 Cup Pecans, Chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

In a small bowl, combine the flour, powder, salt, and ground spices; set aside.

In a medium or large bowl, using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix to combine, then the pumpkin and extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix just until combined.

Add in the flour mixture, in intervals of three, mixing between each addition. Finally, fold in the quick oats. The cookie batter will be thick. Drop the batter by tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are set.

Allow the cookies to cool a few minutes after pulling them from the oven, then transfer them to cooling racks to cool completely. Once the cookies are cooled, heat the chocolate morsels and shortening in a heat proof bowl in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between. Heat until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Spoon about a teaspoon or so, of the chocolate ganache onto the tops of the cooled cookie bites. Sprinkle a bit of pecans to garnish them. Allow the ganache to dry and set, about 20 minutes. Makes around 30 cookies bites.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

White Bean Turkey Chili...

Chili has to be one of my favorite dishes. You can add so many different spices and ingredients to customize the dish to your liking.

That's what it's all about.... making a dish your own.

Unless I'm following a certain recipe, I almost never make a soup, stew, or chili dish the same every single time. I may add more of this or less of that. I may also incorporate a new ingredient from time to time.

Cooking means allowing yourself to get creative in the kitchen. Once you have down the basics and different methods of cooking, you are limitless!

I think that's why I love it so much... along with the gratitude of feeding my family.

Tell me, why do you love to cook? Ponder, as you make this hearty and dare I say, healthy dish...

White Bean Turkey Chili

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, Finely Diced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1/2 Pound of Ground Turkey
  • 1 Teaspoon Finely Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder (I like to use Carroll Shelby)
  • 2 (4 oz.) Cans of Fire Roasted Diced Green Chilies, Mild
  • 1/2 C. Green Salsa, Mild
  • 2 (15.5 oz.) Cans of White Beans, Rinsed and Drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) Cans of Chicken Broth, Low Sodium and Fat Free
Heat the olive oil on medium/low heat in a large Dutch Oven or soup pot. Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the turkey; break it up into very small pieces and brown. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder; mix to combine the flavorings. Add the diced chilies and salsa; mix to incorporate. 

Allow the ingredients to simmer for 5 minutes so the flavors meld. Gently fold in the white beans and taste to adjust all the seasonings. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer the chili for 30 minutes. Serve with warm flour tortillas. Makes 4-6 servings. 


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