Saturday, November 29

sweet potatoes with streusel topping

This was my very first Thanksgiving contribution. Besides helping assemble my obsession: Green Bean Casserole. I think it turned out well!

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 egg
4 T. butter, melted
1/2 T. cinnamon
1/2 T. nutmeg

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Cooking Potatoes
Place sweet potato in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Heat oven to 400 and butter a 9x13 baking dish.

Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Add melted butter and rub in with fingertips until moist clumps form.

Potato Assembly
Add cooked and cubed potatoes to a stand mixer and turn to 2. Add milk, sugar, spices and butter and mix well. Add egg and mix for a minute. Add more butter, sugar, and milk to taste. Spread mixture into 9x13 pan and sprinkle streusel over potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes in order for streusel to brown yummily.

(Yams and streusel can be made in advance. Cover separately and refrigerate. Let yams stand at room temperature 1 hour before baking.)

I don't think it matters how you cook the potatoes before doing this dish. I peeled, cubed and then boiled them because I didnt want to spend all day cooking 8 potatoes. (yes, I made two 9x13 pans of this stuff, bleh) Some sites said roasting them helps them keep the best flavor. If I made this again, I think I'd use a whole stick of butter. Also, some recipes called for a little bit of maple syrup. The streusel topping was really good since I decided to rebel against marshmallows.

Now that Thanksgiving has past, it's appropriate to decorate for Christmas! Check out my pics for our first Christmas decor :)

ooey gooey pumkin cake

A girl I work with made this for us and shared the recipe. I made this this week with my friend, Erin and took my 8x8 pan to our Thanksgiving meal. It can be made without the pumpkin so it can be enjoyed year round. Just google ooey gooey bars for that recipe.

Ooey Gooey Pumkin Cake

1 box of butter recipe yellow cake mix
egg, slightly beaten
1 stick butter or 8 tbsp. margine, melted


1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese, softened

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 stick butter or 8 tbsp. margarine, melted

1 (16 oz. ) box of powdered sugar
(or 2 cups granulated sugar)
1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine crust ingredients. Pat mixture in bottom and sides of a greased 13x9 pan (like a pie). Prepare filling: Mix together the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Spread pumpkin filling in the cake crust mixture. Bake for 45 minutes. Do not overcook - should be gooey. Cut like brownies and top with whipped cream.

Don't count the butter sticks!

Wednesday, November 19

balsamic spinach

This isn't revolutionary but was really good and fast and would be a good side dish or little vegetarian dinner with some steamed green beans and couscous. :) I bought the real spinach leaves that weren't salad bagged. Like near the romaine lettuce. The leaves are bigger than those tiny salad bagged things and much less pricey. The following recipe yielded probably about 1 to 1 and a half cups cooked spinach.

Balsamic Spinach
approx. 3 cups washed and de-stemmed spinach leaves (or however much you want)
1 T. evoo
4 T. pine nuts*
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar
Heat a large pan, sauce pan or wok on medium high heat. Throw in pine nuts and let sit about a minute or 2, stir and let sit again. I covered them during this time but don't think that's necessary if your pan doesn't have a lid. Pour in olive oil, stir and then lower heat to low-medium (a 3 on my stove). Add garlic and stir. Be sure the heat is the pan is lowered before adding garlic or it will burn quickly. Add spinach in hand fulls and stir each addition about 2 minutes or until nearly wilty before adding each new addition. With a fork or tongs, remove leaves as soon as they turn uniformly dark green. Once all have been cooked and removed, empty remaining pine nuts and garlic onto spinach. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, approx. three dashes.

*ok pine nuts were hard to find for me in the grocery store. After asking, I was directed to the baking section with the little bags of crushed walnuts etc. I would have made dish earlier if I'd asked someone one of the last 3 times I went to the store and nonchalantly milled around, quasi looking for them.

Toasting the pine nuts like this made my kitchen smell so good and, in my opinion, the balsamic vinegar was the finishing touch. It added a little tangy sweetness to the nuts and heavish spinach. Next time I'll try topping with feta cheese as one of the reviews of the recipes on All from which this is adapted, suggested.

About the couscous. I like it but I just made whole wheat couscous out of the box. I may try it with mushrooms and wine next time but it will have to be on a night like this where I can try froo frooy little entrees when Taylor is otherwise engaged.

For those of you looking forward to my promised pumpkin chocolate chippers here is a recipe you can try. I decided that cookies need butter or shortening to be good cookies. Those fats give them that crispness that pumpkin cookies won't have because the pumpkin, like applesauce in my snickerdoodles, was serving as the 'fat.' While probably healthier, it's not a good cookie in my opinion. SO I'm not wasting my eggs on that. BUT I do want to try this pumpkin cream cheese bake that a girl I work with made for us. So I hope to make that once I get around to buying the ingredients.

Next week I will be making sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving! Monumental. So I plan to document that endeavor.

UPDATE: I made this with sauteed mushrooms. I sliced and sauteed them first and then left them in the pan as I made the spinach. Yummers.

Saturday, November 1

zimply ziti

I first made this when our friends, David and Emily, came to Austin for New Year's. Taylor about died telling me how good it was. So it returned for our first married meal, before we even had real silverware. It's modified from Real Simple: Meals Made Easy. For appropriate portion sizing, I cook the whole pound of hamburger meat and then refrigerate half of it for spaghetti or something else involving ground beef, for later in the week.

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti
1/2 lb. (half a box) dry ziti
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/2 lb. ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. fresh oregano or 1 T. dried oregano powder
1/2 to 3/4 a jar chunky pasta sauce
3/4 c. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1 c. shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 400. Cook ziti according to package directions. Heat oil in large pot over medium, add onion, salt, pepper and cook for 5 min. Add beef and cook, crumbling with a spoon, about 7 min. Add garlic and oregano and cook for 2 min. Add pasta sauce and cook for 3 min. Remove from heat. Add drained ziti to pot and toss. Add ricotta and 1/4 c. of Parmesan, 1/2 c. mozzarella and toss again. Spread mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake about 12-15 minutes, until the cheese melts. Serves 4, with leftovers. :)

Tay likes this and diced tomatoes can be added as well as spinach. I want to try it with chicken soon. Stay tuned for pumpkin cookies!!