Monthly Archives: November 2013

Pumpkin Bars with Gingersnap Crust

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Well, here we are with the last recipe of Pumpkin Week. {Sad face} Let’s recap though, shall we?

We started off the week with breakfast – Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Pecan Streusel Topping! The perfect start to a crisp, cool fall morning. Don’t forget the java!

Then we veered over to the savory side for some Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage & Goat Cheese. If you ask me, pumpkin and goat cheese are a match made in heaven!

This brings us to the final recipe of Pumpkin Week and we’re going out with style!

With these delectable pumpkin bars!

They are essentially pumpkin pie in bar form with a gingery crust. You know, just to shake things up. A classic with a new little twist.

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Full confession: I thought “Ohh! I’ll sprinkle powdered sugar on top like lemon bars!” and you know what happened? It looked pretty for about 5.674 minutes while I snapped photos and then poof! the powdered sugar absorbed into the top of the pumpkin bar, never to be seen again. So… do as I say, not as I do. :) Go with chopped pecans or bare bars, leave the powdered sugar for the lemon bars.

Pumpkin Bars with Gingersnap Crust; Recipe or Not

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 c. finely ground ginger snap cookies (I used approx. 30 2 in. cookies)
  • 2-3 T butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • a pinch of cloves
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Topping: chopped pecans

The Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the ground gingersnaps and melted butter, stirring until well mixed. Line a 9×9 baking dish with a strip of parchment paper long enough to hang over the sides, like this. Firmly press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then let it cool for a few minutes. Next, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a medium sized bowl and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour the filling mixture over the crust and smooth it until it evenly covers the crust. Bake for 35 minutes or until the middle is set and does not jiggle when shaken. Let the bars cool completely before removing them from the pan, cutting, and serving.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage & Goat Cheese

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Recipe #2 of pumpkin week! We’re taking a savory turn thanks to my recent ravioli experience…

I never thought I’d be one to make ravioli. It just seemed so time consuming and labor intensive, not a task I was ready to take on…

But when one of my friends asked if I wanted to go to a cooking class with a bunch of our other friends in which we’d be learning to make… ravioli… I just couldn’t say no! Time with friends definitely outweighs my little aversion to making ravioli plus I’d have a chance to see what this pasta-making business was all about from a professional chef. Win and win.

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Meet my friends and new ravioli masters!

We made two different ravioli fillings. The first was an italian sausage & spinach combo topped with a simple tomato sauce – completely satisfying and oh so delicious.

The second was a pumpkin, sage, and goat cheese filling and you guys? It was SO good. I was hooked from the first bite. The pumpkin and sage was a wonderful savory combo with a slight bite and creaminess from the goat cheese. Seconds please!

It made a ravioli maker out of me yet because I just had to share it with you!

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Now, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that my recipes are typically quick and easy but, full disclosure, this one is a little more time intensive. I’ve simplified it by using wonton wrappers instead of making pasta dough but filling each one does take some time. Sooo, having said that, I think this would be a great recipe for having friends over to make and enjoy dinner together, just as we did in the class. OR it could be a super fun date night idea! Just throwin’ that out there. And just one more idea? Prepare these on a weekend and pop ’em in the freezer to have a quick dinner on hand for a busy night!

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage & Goat Cheese; slightly adapted from The Girl Can Cook

Serves roughly 2-3

  • 1 pkg wonton wrappers (24 wrappers)
  • 1/2-3/4 of a 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 sage leaves, shredded or 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 oz. goat cheese
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T. unsalted butter

The Prep: Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sage, cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool slightly, then add the pumpkin and goat cheese. Stir until everything has been incorporated evenly. Season with salt as needed.

For the assembly you will need one egg (raw, scrambled) and a pastry brush.

The Assembly: Take one wonton wrapper and place a small dollop of the pumpkin mixture in the center. Dip the pastry brush in the egg and brush two connected edges of the wonton wrapper. Fold the wonton wrapper over to form a triangle, pressing all air out from around the filling and sealing the edges where the egg was brushed. Place the ravioli on a plate or baking sheet, use flour to keep them from sticking to each other. Continue until all of the wonton wrappers have been used. *If you are freezing the ravioli: separate them on a baking sheet if your freezer space allows. If you are short on space, just make sure they are not sticking to each other. Cover them tightly, and place them in the freezer.

Cooking: Bring a large pot of water with a pinch of salt to a rolling boil. For fresh ravioli, drop them in the water, do not overcrowd the pot, and cook for a few minutes. Once they start floating, let them cook another minute or so and then take them out. For frozen ravioli, the cooking process is the same except the frozen ravioli will take a little longer to cook, closer to 7 minutes or so. Leave the frozen ravioli in the freezer until the water is ready to cook them, do not thaw them out before cooking.

Sauce: Personally, I don’t think this ravioli needs much sauce since the flavors really speak for themselves. In the cooking class, we used browned butter as the sauce and it was fantastic. Click here for a browned butter tutorial. Or just top with some herbs!

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Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Pecan Streusel Topping

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Hi friends! Welcome to Pumpkin Week!

Pumpkin really has made a name for itself. With the exception of maybe summer fruits, I really can’t think of any specific food that I anticipate so much. Pumpkin is practically synonymous with the holiday season and all the excitement that comes with it.

So let’s indulge and have a pumpkin week, shall we? I’ve got three scrumptious recipes this week that I think you’ll enjoy.

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I was scrolling through Pinterest, hoping to spark some pumpkin recipe ideas, when it hit me like a brick on the head – baked french toast!

Simple to prepare and slightly indulgent – bingo!

This recipe is whipped up the night before so all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. I may or may not have crawled back in bed while it was baking…

Baked Pumpkin French Toast with Pecan Streusel Topping; Recipe or Not

For the Pumpkin French Toast:

  • 8-10 slices of bread, cut into one inch pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. milk of choice
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves

For the Pecan Streusel Topping:

  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 3/4 t. cinnamon
  • 2 T. cold butter
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans

The Prep:

The Night Before: Butter an 8×8 baking dish and place the pieces of bread in the dish. Whisk together the eggs, milk, canned pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Pour the whole mixture over the bread, covering the bread evenly. If needed, gently toss the bread around in the dish to make sure all pieces are coated. Cover and place in the fridge. Next, stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a separate bowl for the streusel topping. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and all chunks of butter have been mixed in. Stir in the pecans, cover, and store in the fridge. 

The Next Morning: Preheat the oven to 350°. Uncover the french toast and evenly cover with the pecan streusel topping. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!

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Chipotle Sweet Potato Cakes

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These were an INSTANT hit at my house. I was just lucky to eat these four the way Hubs was chowing down! Do I detect a new favorite recipe? I think yes.

And how could it not be? Slightly sweet from the potatoes, a nice kick of spice from the chipotle chiles, rounded out with onion & garlic and you’ve got a keeper on your hands!

And I must say these could make a fabulous appetizer for upcoming holiday parties.

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In other news… I have officially declared next week to be PUMPKIN WEEK! If you’re not already knee-deep in recipes containing fall’s favorite orange squash, well, you should be! And I’m here to help you with three pumpkin recipes! Get excited. :)

Chipotle Sweet Potato Cakes; Recipe or Not

Makes roughly 10 patties

1 sweet potato, peeled & shredded (A cheese grater works perfectly for shredding.)

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely diced

pinch of salt & pepper

1/2 c. bread crumbs

2 eggs

The Prep: Combine all of the ingredients together, mixing really well. Heat a few tablespoon of canola oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Form patties into about 2 inch circles and begin frying in the heated oil. Takes 3-4 minutes per side, until crispy & brown on the outside.

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